A dinner with countless dishes of modernised traditional Slovenian food accompanied by sparkling wines made according to the Champagne method.
Travelling around Slovenia, eating foods that are typical of a particular region, is my passion. When I had the opportunity to travel an hour east of Ljubljana for a very special dinner, not only did I come across some new dishes, but I also found myself in a little bit of Champagne.
This dinner, I must emphasise, is definitely a top highlight among my culinary experiences in Slovenia over the summer of 2021: Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant Gostilna Repovž teamed up with Domaine Slapšak to host a delightful culinary pop-up that kicked off on the beautiful terrace of the Slapšak wine estate overlooking the steep vineyards of the upper Dolenjska region.
A singer-guitarist duo, Maja and Robi, entertained us with a mix of popular songs, including French chansons, which really fit in with the French ‘theme’ of the evening. The wines we drank were also made by a French winemaker, François Botton, who grew up in France’s Champagne region and who moved to Slovenia in 2009.
Cold & Warm Starters Over Domaine Slapšak Vineyards
While the music played, we sampled a couple of starters: homemade prosciutto of Krškopolje pig (the only preserved Slovenian autochthonous breed of pig) from Arkade Cigoj farm, chargrilled veal, and sataraš (fried summer vegetables, fresh tomatoes, and egg).
And the wine? We sipped generous helpings of Brut Réserve—Slapšak’s flagship wine.
Once the sun set behind the hills, we stepped off the terrace into the dining room, took our seats at the dinner table and set off on a remarkable culinary journey filled with a variety of dishes.
We sampled an array of starters including beef carpaccio with horseradish and Brussels sprouts; beef tartare with buckwheat popcorn; fried sheep cheese with bread, sheep yoghurt and lovage; lardo bacon of Mangalica; trout tatar; and rabbit pâté.
Repovž Restaurant’s Lamb
Lamb is one of Repovž Restaurant’s specialties, and on that evening they prepared it in various ways:
- As a stew served with pasta, potato foam and poached quail egg,
- In a stew with vegetables,
- And also chargrilled.
All versions were extremely tasty and tender.
Gourmet Sweets & Desserts
The Repovž Restaurant team prepared many sweet surprises following dinner: petit fours of apple strudel and walnuts, strawberry jelly sweets, and chocolate truffles.
Slovenian Culinary Tradition: Snežne Kepe Dessert
Last but not least, ‘snežne kepe’ (snowballs), a traditional Slovene dessert from this region (Dolenjska and Posavje). And even after all the food we had that evening, we had no problem at all devouring spoonfulls of these wonderful, soft and delicate, creamy and delicious, featherlite ‘snowballs’ made from egg whites, sugar, and lemon juice.
They’re irresistable, served in a soothing vanilla sauce and with various toppings: passion fruit, baked and crushed biscuit dough, hazelnuts, raspberries in raspberry sauce.
Grega Repovž, Repovž Restaruant Manager, explained: “The ‘snežne kepe’ are an old-time favourite dessert of French origin that were made all over Austria-Hungary”.
Sparkling Wines by Domaine Slapšak
Domaine Slapšak’s specialises in making sparkling wine according to the Champagne (traditional) method. On the night, we drank some of their best sparkling wines, as well as a homemade cocktail with Zima pear brandy and Slapšak sparkling wine.
Here’s a list of what we drank:
- Brut Réserve
- Brut Nature ŽČ
- Blanc de Blancs
- A homemade cocktail of Zima (Evrosad pear brandy), Gostilna Repovž apple juice, and Brut Réserve Slapšak
- Modra Frankinja, 2017
- Brut rosé
Steep vineyards Žametna črnina grapes: an endemic Slovenian varietal