You may remember from my 30 before I’m 30 list that I wanted to do a food tour at some point this year. I just love food and I love travel, so it makes sense right? Well, my bucketlist item was ticked off in beautiful Ljubljana, Slovenia last month, with a tour called Top Ljubljana Foods by Roundabout Travel!
To be honest I had no idea what to expect in terms of how it would work, what foods we would try or where we go. I didn’t even know what Slovenian cuisine was to be honest! So it was all a bit of an adventure as we walked to the meeting point to join our group and tour guide, Tina.
It turns out, this was a kind of city walking tour combined with a food tour, so we walked around the city as a group, stopping to talk about the history and culture of the area we were in, and making 6 stops in total to try different Slovenian dishes.
It was actually a lot more interesting than I had expected and I really learned a lot throughout the tour. Tina is actually highly educated in history and her passion and enthusiasm for what she was talking about was contagious. And even without the food stops, it was such a perfect introduction to Ljubljana.
Here are all of the stops we made and the delicious dishes we tried!
Top Ljubljana Foods
Our first stop on the tour was Gujzina for some traditional Slovenian cuisine called Butja Repa. This is actually a fermented turnip stew with millet and pork. It doesn’t sound particularly appetising, does it? And it definitely isn’t an instagrammable plate of food… But it was actually delicious.
This is the kind of thing where if I wasn’t on a food tour, there’s no way I would have tried it. But I’m so glad I did. It was paired with a glass of white wine, a Green Silvaner from the North East of Slovenia, and was a great way to kick off the food tour.
We quickly stopped across the road from Gujzina, at Piranske Soline for a quick taster of salted dark chocolate, another Slovenian favourite, before making our way across the square to the next stop.
However, there happened to be some traditional dancing going on, so we made an impromptu pit stop to watch some of the festivities. Pretty cool!
Then we found ourselves at the nearby Klobasarna. This was actually somewhere I had read about before the tour and was planning on trying out. So I’m happy it was part of our itinerary!
Here we tried some Carniolan Sausage, native to Slovenia of course. And what makes it so special is that it’s 80% pork and 20% bacon. So it’s quite salty and full of flavour. They served it to us with mustard and horseradish and a sliver of bread, and is one of the dishes I enjoyed the most on the tour.
It helped that we were sat outside watching people pass, with our sausages and glasses of wine in the sunshine. I could have stayed there longer for sure.
Oh and the wine was actually called Cvichek which is a combination of white and red wine! It was sour on first taste but definitely a grower, I quite liked it!
3. Okrepcevalnica Ribca
Next up was Okrepcevalnica Ribca, one of the lovely restaurants that overlooks the river. A fabulous location where you can see the main square of the city through the stone arches, as well as the canal boats going by.
It was here that we were served a seafood dish – Adriatic squids & sardines with trieste sauce. Now I don’t know if you remember this about me, but I don’t eat seafood. But I continue to try to force my body to like it and gave this dish a go. The squid was actually ok, not at all rubbery. But the sardines were a bit much for me. Josh is a seafood lover though and thought they were both great.
Another dish, another wine! Yes I was quite tipsy at this point as we enjoyed a glass of Malvazia from Slovenian Istria.
4. Union Hotel
Union Hotel was our fourth stop of the day for Prosciutto and Olives on white bread. It was nice, not too adventurous compared to some of the other dishes on this tour, but it was a wonderful location. Quite a fancy hotel with nice big leather seats.
I really liked the wine here too – hiccup – a red Teran from Karst. Super delicious.
We also got some more Slovenian history and geography lessons from Tina as we ate here, which like I said I found really interesting. It was nice that as we were going from place to place and trying these dishes, that she would point out on the map where the food originated from and the history of it.
Until now the stops had all been near the river so had relatively short walks between the restaurants. But after the Union Hotel, it was about a 20 minute walk to the next location.
However we made lots of stops as Tina pointed out important buildings and landmarks. God, Ljubljana is pretty, huh?
5. Pod Lipo
As we had left the main tourist area, our stop at Pod Lipo was very chilled out. We sat outside again and enjoyed the quiet vibe and rustling of the trees, it was just lush.
Our host served us a refreshing elderflower and lime drink (no more wine from here on out!) and a plate of Beef Goulash with Zilkrofi Dumplings that are filled with mashed potato. The meat was a bit too fatty for me but I really liked the rich sauce and spot on dumplings.
We actually got a second dish here, and tucked into Shtruklji, rolled pastry made out of white flour filled with cottage cheese. It was kind of a funny one, because the pastry itself was quite savoury, but it was served as a dessert with lots of sugar… Definitely interesting to try though!
6. The Skyscraper
After another walk and history lesson, we arrived at our sixth and final stop of the day, The Skyscraper (Nebotičnik). Despite the name, this isn’t a skyscraper by London or New York standards, at only 13 storeys high. But it is one of Ljubljana’s most recognisable landmarks.
The cafe on the top floor boasts beautiful panoramic views of the city, with a great view of the Ljubljana Castle. And it’s here that we tried Prekmurska Gibanica, the “moving layered cake” (named so because it jiggles a bit like jelly).
This dessert isn’t for everyone. It’s made from poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins and quark (cheese) fillings, and is a bit of an odd taste. But again, it’s a big deal in Slovenia, so I was happy to give it a go.
It’s here that we said goodbye to Tina and our group and we were all left to go our separate ways.
I very much enjoyed the Top Ljubljana Foods tour. I managed to try some dishes that I don’t think I ever would have otherwise, plus I got to see a large selection of different restaurants around the city. Best of all, Tina’s passion for Slovenian history was amazing and I learned a whole bunch about this gorgeous country.
Tina even followed up with an email summary to everyone, detailing what we had eaten that day, including a list of more things to try whilst we were in town and even put forward some suggestions on day trips to take in Slovenia. That’s what you call dedication right there.
I would massively recommend this tour to anyone, y’all. Head over here if you’re interested in getting yourself in on the action – Top Ljubljana Foods tour. It costs 43 Euros each which I think is pretty good considering how much food, wine and information you get for your money, and lasts about 4 hours. Top notch.
Have you ever been on a food tour? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Total Blogger Transparency: I enjoyed a complimentary ticket on the Top Ljubljana Foods tour, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.