Slovakia Stories and Tips

Slovak Cuisine

When I was in Slovakia in September 2001, I stayed at with my now fiance's family and friends. I only dined out one or two times during my 10-day stay in Slovakia. So, I got to enjoy my future mother-in-law's and friends' home cooking.

Slovak cuisine is not well-known around the world. Slovak cuisine is influenced by several other national cuisines such as Austrian, Hungarian, French, and Czech due to its many centuries of invasion and occupation by these other groups. It is not what you would call health food, and I recommend that you take a long hearty walk or bike ride after experiencing a Slovakian home-cooked meal. Slovakian cuisine is heavy in pork, fat, and carbohydrates, but it is sooo good. Most restaurants do not serve salads or fresh fruit or vegetables, so the best way to get fresh produce is from the market or from your Slovkian friends' gardens. Many Slovaks have their own gardens with vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs that they live off of all summer and preserve the bounty for fall and winter use. Also in the rural villages, many Slovaks have chickens and ducks for meat and eggs. Some mornings, we would have a fresh boiled egg for breakfast, and it is a big difference from store bought eggs. One morning, my fiance and I had scrambled eggs with freshly picked wild mushrooms that we had gotten on a long bike ride the day before. It was heaven!

Other favorite dishes that I enjoyed in Slovakia were loske (potato pancakes), deep fried ham with mozzerella cheese and tartar sauce, and the Slovak national dish, siroke rezance s tvarohom a slaniou, which translates into Tagliatelle with liptov cheese and fried bacon. Liptov (or liptauer) cheese is a very salty ricotta cheese native to Slovakia. When Liptov cheese is mixed with the home made tagliatelle and bacon, it is to die for and puts our Kraft macaroni and cheese from the box to shame. Since coming home, I have not touched Kraft's, and when I get a craving for fried mozzerella cheese, I stop at Bryan's Burger Den in McCall and ask for their fried mozzerella and a side of tartar sauce.

The gardens also produce grapes for wine and many of the people who live in rural Slovakia make their own wines and brandies for personal use and to give as gifts. Ivan made black cherry wine and pear brandy. The pear brandy is quite an experience. After drinking a shot of the brandy, it burned going down my throat and after a few minutes, it felt like I was having hot flashes. It packs a wallop! Ivan gave me a 1.5 bottle each of pear brandy and black cherry wine, and I still have some of the brandy left. I only have a shot on special occasions.

I would greatly recommend you try Slovak cuisine, especially if you have a friend whose mother can cook as well as Ivan's mother can. Dobre chut (good appetite!)!

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