My first time in Slovakia was highlighted by…eating. I think I have tried (and enjoyed) everything that is worth a mention in Slovak food ‘s annals. From haluszy to the Tatra Tea, this post goes through typical Slovak cuisine peculiarities and food you must try when you pass by Slovakia!
A good period to visit Slovakia (furthermore if you are a food lover) is the Christmas period, when typical Christmas markets open their doors. Here you can find traditional Slovak food to eat on the go as well as international cuisine. The atmosphere is magical and liters of mulled wines and different punches will make you forget the low temperatures.
Prices are averagely low, not as in Bulgaria, but it’s still very cheap compared to most of European countries.
That’s surely one of the tastiest soups I have ever had! It is usually served warm in a homemade bread loaf. The smell, as well as the taste, is very strong, and you will need many peppermint candies to be breath-reekless again. The use of garlic is very widespread in Slovak cuisine.
Along with the garlic soup, it is surely one of the most served starters. Sipping it slowly when outside is -2°C is priceless. The soup is not just made with sauerkraut but with pieces of meat, usually sausage or smoked ham. And of course crushed garlic, to give the unmistakable smell and taste of many Slovak traditional dishes.
This is another dish that Slovaks probably took from Hungarians. Every restaurant does it its way, but the basic ingredients are meat, onion, potatoes, and paprika. The meat is usually beef or pork. In fancier places you may find the venison version)
Haluski are little potato dumplings (maybe you better know the Italian version gnocchi) topped with sour sheep cheese (bryndza in Slovak) and fried bacon. This is a main course; there is also a version with pierogi (bryndzové pirohy), originally coming from Poland, which are stuffed with the same cheese used as topping for halusky. Both courses are worth a try!
Langos is simply deep-fried bread dough. It is served as a starter in restaurants or, more commonly, is sold at street kiosks as a snack to go. It can be topped with crushed garlic, cheese, tartar sauce or ketchup. Choose your version!
Potato pancakes (zemiakové placky)
Potato pancakes are another highlight when it comes to Slovak food. Plenty of vendors will serve it in Christmas markets. The recipe is very simple: mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs and..deep fry it all! It is usually topped with cheese, crushed garlic or sour cream. A very tasteful snack on the go.
This sweet pastry rolled in coconut, vanilla, cinnamon or cocoa powder is originally from Hungary, but it has been acquired (or stolen?) by Slovak cuisine as well. In the past 5 years, I have seen many kiosks serving it. It is actually something cheap that can be done with a simple equipment – write this down if you want to open a food truck!
Bratislava rolls (Bratislavský rožok)
Hey, this blog it’s a bakery after all, isn’t it? So here’s your pastry! Bratislava rolls represent the traditional pastry, as it could be the madeleine in France. You can find more details about them here. I tried the ones with poppy seeds and they were mouth-watering. A completely new taste – I would have liked to bring a packet back in Italy!
Also known as chicory coffee, this beverage comes from Czech republic. Anyway (a bit of history) Slovakia and Czech republic were one country until 1993 when they peacefully got separated after the Velvet revolution. The chicory, root of the endive plant, is roasted and subsequently grounded. 4 spoon in a liter of hot water: that’s the recipe the man from the oldest shop in Bratislava – do not forget to pop in to visit a large collection of cash registers!
I tried this tea-flavored liqueur in the little hut down the Devin Castle, a few bus stops from Bratislava. Ordering a grog (same principle: hot + alcohol = double warm up!), the guy used this liqueur and made me try a schnapp. I have to say that this is the best digestive liqueur I have ever tried. Drinking two mugs a day of tea – I’m an avid tea & infusion lover – this was pretty obvious! I was so surprised I bought a bottle of the 52% version in the duty-free (quite expensive, though. 18€ 70cl). There are many flavors, like forest fruit (one of the strongest with 72% alcohol) and coconut (the lightest – 22%). This digestive has won many international awards and it’s a must try while in Slovakia.
I hope you have now a good overview of what to eat and drink in your next Slovakia trip. Any question, leave it in the comments! Have fun!
Livin’ la Vida