Articles

Green flavours of Ljubljana

Ljubljana’s plates tell countless stories of the history of the capital, from its ancient soul, to the youthful vibe of the streets, and from its metropolitan openness to new ideas to its homely traditions in the widest variety of guises. What connects all these things is the cuisine’s commitment to natural local ingredients, sustainability and respect for the environment.

A love of healthy local ingredients surely starts at home and in the family shopping basket. Ljubljana’s inhabitants have always loved turning to one of the city’s markets for fresh, homemade ingredients from local farms. There you can find all manner of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as other ‘fruits’ of the fields, oceans, rivers and forests.

Despite the fact that Ljubljana is a bustling modern city, the people here have never turned their back on farming. Fortunately for all lovers of healthy, local ingredients, there are many producers in the wider Central Slovenia region to whom we can turn for fresh produce. An increasing number of them are offering home delivery, which was particularly welcome in those months when we all had to stay at home during the Covid lockdown.

This abundance of produce is also very much prized by the city’s chefs, who are only too happy to include fantastic dishes from the Slovenian countryside in their menus, whether it’s the "Ljubljana breakfast", the traditional Sunday lunch or contemporary, fine dining. They’re helped in their endeavours by the Ljubljana Tourism organisation and its "Green Supply Chain" project. This initiative brings together local producers and restaurants and hotels and, by organising the simple, well-organised supply of locally or regionally produced foods at good prices, is managing to enhance the city’s culinary life still further.

The sustainably oriented cuisine of Slovenia’s capital (and of the Central Slovenia region in general) has also been recognised by the prestigious Michelin Guide, the first edition of which this year gave a 2020 Michelin Sustainability Award to Monstera Bistro in Ljubljana and to Grič in Šentjošt nad Horjulom. This award goes to establishments that pay particular attention to nature and natural resources in their kitchens.

However, respecting the environment and the principles of sustainability is not just about what ends up on the plate, but also the plate (or the glass) itself. This is something the organisers of Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen) Ljubljana’s largest and most popular food market, are well aware of, having this year ditched all single-use plastic. Every plate, glass and piece of cutlery offered to you at one of the many stalls is now returnable or made of biodegradable materials.

It’s time to celebrate and enjoy nature and all that it gives us. Let’s relax, have fun and go green!

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