Slovenia Dinner
Komenda, February 21, 2020
Surprises as usual at Gostilna Čubr
" Čubr is a family tradition for four generations and more than 85 years "

It is a coincidence that one of the most popular spices (Čubrica = summer savory) in Slovenia and the inn (Gostilna Čubr) where we gathered for dinner on February 21st have the same name.

It was however no coincidence that this year’s dinner was just before the highpoint of the 2020 Kurent Carnival programme. This 10-day spring and fertility festival is celebrated in the lead up to Ash Wednesday.

Čubr is a family tradition for four generations and more than 85 years. Currently run by Maître Restaurateur Miha Potočnik and his wife, Anita.

As on previous visits we were again surprised, this time with dishes that were, in one way or another, a modern interpretation of “lean cuisine”.

On arrival, we were honoured with the excellent sparkling Teran, “the best red bubbly”, made by Silva and Joško Jazbec, a young couple who are enthusiasts for local vineyards and varietals. Accompanying tasty bites ranged from ham, dry and lightly smoked horseradish sausage, salmon salad, to delicious ricotta in a crock pot.

Moving on to dinner, the first course was interesting with its flavours and also with its appearance. The core consisted of a mousse of trout and horseradish accompanied by crispy almonds with black sesame, beetroot and tiny house crackers. Gaube Sauvignon 2018 was served with this excellent dish. Nicely acidic, the wine charmed with its freshness.

This was followed by a warm appetizer, namely bean soup, which is a classic in the best traditions of typical Kurent Carnival dishes.

Expectations were high when the next course of deep-fried “spring rolls” was announced, especially because of the offal included with the chopped vegetables in the stuffing. The dish was accompanied by yoghurt from the Pustotnik Cheese Farm and smoked paprika. Brumec Chardonnay 2016, judged champion wine in 2019 at the Gornja Radgona Wine Fair, was the perfect partner.

Another surprise came with a course not listed on the menu card: fluffy white polenta, topped with fried egg yolk, seasoned with grated mushrooms and served with pork scratchings (greaves). Very simple and above all, delicious, but at the same time a confirmation of the old wisdom that less is more!

After such a rich first part in which each plate was a story for itself, lavender and pear sorbet with juniper jelly prepared our insides for the main course.

Pork ribs were roasted in a pastry crust. Side dishes were turnips and potato fries. We also drank white wine, 2013 ‘A+’ from Brda. Even though one might have expected a red wine, this white confirmed that a bold wine selection can often offer a mutually beneficial taste relationship.

Concluding the menu was an orange cream slice with orange ice cream and a glass of white Pinot, made by Helmut Gangl of Illmitz by the Neusiedlersee in eastern Austria. The wine had only 8% alcohol by volume and was not excessively sweet.

All the participants of this dinner received a small bottle of Arcnij prepared by Miho’s wife Anita. Many tried it right away to encourage a good night’s sleep as it consists of over 50 herbs and flowers.

Prof Dr Janez Bogataj
Consellier Gastronomique

Photos courtesy of Ales Knoll, Chevalier