Slovenian Potica, Traditional sweet Roll with wallnuts, almonds - Global Storybook

Traditional Slovenian Dishes Served on Christmas

Matjaz Drobne

Matjaz Drobne

Matjaz Drobne is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Slovenia).

Matjaz is a translator from Slovenia who enjoys traveling, writing, reading, and watching movies. He believes that a person's character grows and becomes richer by meeting new people and discovering new cultures and places.
Matjaz Drobne

Similar to other countries where Christianity is a predominant religion, one of the biggest family holidays in Slovenia is Christmas.  It’s the time for the whole family to come together and rejoice in reminiscing about the good old times.  How they skied down the slopes behind their house, or how they couldn’t wait to start a snowball fight with their friends and family.

Of course, Christmas is also the time for celebrating the birth of Christ with a big feast, and Slovenians are no strangers to this tradition.  Below I will share a few of the most popular traditional Christmas dishes, that always find their way on (almost) every table in Slovenia.

Traditionally, a family would gather around a table on the Christmas Eve for dinner.  Or even during the day for lunch.  My family and I usually meet for dinner on the 24th and then again for lunch on the 25th.  Yep, we are a family of big eaters.  Of course Christmas is not just about eating a lot.  It’s also about spending time with your family and friends.  Those whom you don’t get to see often and you can catch up with on these rare family gatherings.

Wooden kiosk with heart shaped candies, lollypops and other treats and gifts for Christmas in Ljubljana, Slovenia - Global Storybook

Wooden kiosk with sweets in Ljubljana. Photo: Maljalen/

The Main Courses:

The Christmas table is usually filled with various types of meat.  They include poultry (turkey or goose), different types of roasts, game and/or fish.  People living in more urban areas sometimes give preference to codfish with potatoes and parsley on the side, while in rural areas many opt for more traditional Slovenian cooking, such as black pudding with sauerkraut or Slovenian pork sausage with turnip.

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Many also enjoy eating porridge or a stuffed pork stomach as a side dish.  As you probably noticed – there’s meat, meat, and meat everywhere.  Well, with meat come different types of sauces – tartar sauce is probably the most common and most popular.  Yet there are also others, like mushroom sauce, and a sauce made of cheese.

Sausage with boiled turnip - Global Storybook

Sausage with boiled turnip – traditional Slovenia Christmas dish

Christmas Sweets:

Now to the best part of any Christmas dinner – sweets.  In fact, many know Slovenia as a land of amazing pastries and desserts.  I should probably mention the most famous one first – potica.  Potica was made famous after it was mentioned by the current US First Lady Melanija Trump, who comes from Slovenia – from a small town in southeastern part – Sevnica.

Potica is a rolled-up cake made with a very thin dough and various fillings.  It is these fillings that make potica stand out among different kinds of pastries.  They also differ among separate regions of Slovenia.  The most traditional one is sweet walnut.  Though over the years moms and grandmas across Slovenia started experimenting with a lot of different fillings.   Hence this led to a growing popularity of hazelnut, dried fruits, plums, cream, and even chocolate-and-banana or chocolate-and-coconut fillings.

The last one is actually my favorite and I have to confess that my mom makes the best potica!  Thanks mom!  So if you like to experiment with food, you can always try different fillings, until you find the best one.

Potica, Slovenian traditional Christmas sweets - Global Storybook

Potica – the famous Slovenian traditional Christmas dessert

Other Desserts:

If you are looking for something a bit more posh and you want to make your friends jealous, then I would suggest serving figs dipped in chocolate.  It’s quite easy to do but it looks really magnificent and inviting.  And if you have a sweet tooth and you love fruits, then fruit bread may be a perfect choice as well.  It’s similar to regular bread.  Though it’s also sweet, since dried fruits, like raisins, plums, apricots or figs are added to the dough.

Popular Slovenian Christmas Traditions

Similar to US and UK, gingerbread cookies are also one of the favorite sweets in Slovenia.  Moms, and especially grandmas, love baking cookies together with their kids or grandkids.  As I remember it from my own childhood, our house was always filled with the scent of cookies, gingerbread and cinnamon, around the Christmas time.

Over the past years, another popular dessert found its way on the Slovenian Christmas menu.  It’s the famous Panna Cotta, made of yoghurt or cream.  Mix it with blueberries, raspberries or brambles, and you will get a fresh dessert.

Christmas gingerbread cookies, Slovenia - Global Storybook-Mulled Wine

Another very well known Slovenian tradition around Christmas, is drinking mulled wine.  Right after celebrating St. Martin’s Day (November 11), the street stands across all major Slovenian cities, become filled with mulled wine sellers.  Some Slovenians also prefer to make mulled wine at home, either from red or white wine.  It actually only takes about 10 minutes.  All you need is wine, an orange, a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves and some sugar.  And, you are done!

Christmas mulled wine, Slovenia - Global StorybookSlovenian cuisine might not be not the most well-known in the world.  However, tourists who come here always seem to praise our local dishes.  And by the way, we also have the World’s best female chef – Ana Roš, proclaimed by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards.

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