Slovakia a landlocked country located in Central Europe. The capital city is Bratislava while other bigger cities are Nitra, Koshice, Banska Bystrica and Preshov. The climate in this country is moderate continental which makes it perfect for cultivating grains, sugar beet, potatoes, flaxseed and tobacco.
The development of the Slovakian cuisine and gastronomic habits changed its staple directions throughout history, depending on the different civilizations that had inhabited the land of today’s Slovakia. The position of Slovakia in Central Europe has provided the country and insight and contact with different cultures. As a part from the former Hungarian state, Slovakia was under a great influence of the Romanian culture and the features of the Western European culture were underlined by the colonists, mainly Germanic countries, who inhabited Slovakia from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century.
As the cuisines of other European countries, the Slovakian cuisine has been influenced by its neighboring countries Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Ukraine. Though being closest to the Hungarian and Czech foods, Slovakian cuisine is satiable, caloric and tasty. Its wide array of foods contains a variety of dumplings, roasted meet preparations and the famous goulash made with pork which is the staple meet in this cuisine. The most popular and widely used type of cheese is goat cheese and all its variants.
Most of the dishes are quite rich in spices and condiments, however, side dishes such as potato preparations, peas, mushrooms, pasta and meatballs balance the strong flavors.
Here is a list of the best 15 traditional Slovakian foods:
1. Bryndzove pirohy
This dish is the Slovak variant of the famous Polish “pierogi” which are dumplings of thin potato dough that is filled a combination of the popular Slovak traditional bryndza cheese made of sheep milk and grated potatoes.
The dumplings are shaped in a form of crescent and are cooked or fried until they get a nice golden- yellow color and become crispy but juicy on the inside.
Bryndzove priohy are usually served as an appetizer with fried bacon, a dollop of sour cream or smetana and are sprinkled with chopped chives on the top but they can also make a great breakfast with a glass of yogurt or kefir on the side .
Makovnik is the Slovak twin sister of the Polish sweet poppy roll known as Makowiec. This poppy dessert is actually a cake made of a thin layer of dough filled with a delicious, mouth-watering paste made of poppy seeds, water and sometimes milk.
Some versions of makovnik include raisins, walnuts, honey and orange peer that will enhance the flavor of the cake but most importantly, it shouldn’t be too sweet. When cut, the makovnik looks really appealing since the dough and the poppy seed cream have an interesting spiral look. Before serving, the makovnik is dusted with powdered sugar and then it is eaten with a glass of warm tea, coffee or cocoa.
Laskonky are known as a must-try when it comes to desserts in Slovakia foods. Basically, they are made of two meringues cookies that are “glued” together with a butter)or any according to preference) cream. The meringues are made of egg whites, sugar, ground walnuts and or coconut flakes and then are baked in an oval shape.
Some variants include coffee or white/ brown melted chocolate in the buttercream. Laskonky can be found in every patisserie in Slovakia or the Czech Republic and they are also a much ejoyed dessert during festive occasions or with coffee or tea.
Kapustinica is a delicious Slovakian stew made of sauerkraut, dried mushrooms and smoked pork meat. This stew is the ultimate comfort food that is enjoyed in several variants according to different recipes in Central and Eastern Europe. This dish is served both as a starter or a main meal if it includes the nutritious bryndzove halushky that are sometimes added.
5. Zemiakove placky
Zemiakove placky are one of the main traditional Slovak foods. They are crispy pancakes made of grated potatoes, eggs, flour and spices. Similar versions of these pancakes can be found in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The batter of Zemiakove placky is fried in a heated pan in until it becomes golden and crispy. and best to be consumed while hot along stews as a side dish or as a starter alongside dairy products and fresh vegetables.
Lokshe are another type of potato pancakes that are much favored in Slovakia. They are made of a soft dough made of flour and potatoes which is rolled into a flat shape and then dry-baked until yellow-golden.
Traditionally, Lokshe are consumed during Christmas and are then filled with minced meat or during the religious Lent period when the meat is replaced with sauerkraut. In some regions of Slovakia, Lokshe is also served as a hearty sweet breakfast food where the baked dough is spread with melted butter and fruit preserves or simply dusted with powder sugar.
This is a traditional salad created in 1945 and it is made of cod, vegetables such as carrots and onions, a generous amount of mayonnaise and some vinegar, mustard, and seasonings. The cod is cooked, then chopped and mixed together with the vegetables of which the carrots are cooked.
The salad Treska then is left to cool for 24 hours in the refrigerator before being served alongside bread rolls or boiled potatoes.
Strapachky is a rustic Slovak dish that is made of a combination of sauerkraut and the famous halushky dumplings. When these potato dumplings are used in strapachky, there is a balanced combination between the sweet potato flavor and the sourness of the sauerkraut. Strapachky is topped with crispy chunks of fried bacon and it is served as a main course that is quite caloric but incredibly tasty.
9. Bratislavsky rozhok
Bratislavsky rozhok is a traditional crescent- shaped pastry that is filled of two types of fillings- a paste made of ground walnuts or a paste made of poppy seeds and raisins. This pastry has to be rolled manually rolled and then brushed with an egg yolk on top before baking in order to get a nice yellowish-brown color. Rozok is a pastry that can be found in every pastry shop in Bratislava and enjoyed over a cup of warm coffee with milk or tea.
10. Skalicky trdelnik
Skalicky trdelnik is a pastry with a funky form, thinned then spinned in the shape of a cylinder before being baked on a roller named “trdlo”, hence the name “trdelnik”. When the dough is rolled, it is coated with egg whites, then covered with ground walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or dry fruits such as apricots.
When baked, it is sprinkled with vanilla and confectioners sugar. This type of pastry can be found in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
For many, it is known by the name “Transylvanski trdelnik” and here is why- in the 18th century, a Transylvanian cook made this for a Hungarian general who stayed in a town on the border between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, known as Skalica.
Gulash is a worldy- popular Central European comfort food which is basically a meat stew in a red sauce with an intense red paprika flavor. According to food historians, the origins of this dish are in Hungary though in time it became very dominant in both Czech and Slovak cuisine. The Slovak and Czech version of gulash is made with game meat, beef or pork that are cooked for long hours alongside a combination of vegetables such as onions or carrots.
The long cooking thickens the juices into a broth whose flavor is enriched with marjoram, carraway seeds, dried mushrooms, and sometimes sausages. The gulash is served as a main dish alongside dumplings or rustic bread.
Liptauer is a paprika- cream cheese spread that is one of the classics of Slovak cuisines. It is made of fresh or cream cheese with ground sweet or spicy red paprika and some fresh herbs by preference.
The rest of the region of Central Europe also has this type of spread in their cuisines, so a dispute over Liptauer’s origin has often been raising debates among food historians until it was finally concluded that the name of this dish reflects its rooted in the region of Liptov in Slovakia.
Reportedly, Liptauer was created in the time of the Austro- Hungarian Monarchy while today it is served and sold in many European countries. This spread can be enjoyed as a dip, a base for crackers and similar type of finger pastries or as a side dish to meat preparations.
Halushky are potato dumplings that apart from Slovakia, can be found on menus in the Czech Republic. They are made of flour, eggs, grated potatoes and salt. Then, the dough is cut into small pieces and cooked in boiling water. Today, restaurants use a special dumpling strainer that presses the batter and instantly drops several dumplings in the water that turn out tender and soft after cooking.
14. Slovenska Bryndza
Slovenska Bryndza is a typical Slovakian sheep cheese produced in the mountainous region in the country. The sheep on these pastures produce milk whose purity and taste results from their grazing in the summer season when they move to higher altitudes that prolong the period of grazing.
The name “bryndza” has a Romanian origin. The bryndza is white and moist and it can sometimes resemble cottage cheese when made in granules. The taste is sour and salty and sometimes spices are added in the process of making. The bryndza is one of the main ingredients and flavor basis in bryndzove halusky and bryndzove pirohy.
15. Spisske Parky
Spisske parky is a smoked sausage made of sheep intestines that has a long tradition of producing in Slovakia for over a century. The traditional recipe includes pork, beef, spices and a bit of red paprika. Then, when ready, Spisske parky is hun to dry and smoke in order to acquire an authentic flavor.
The tasty is salty and quite piquant which makes it a perfect match with a raw vegetables, a slice of fresh bread, cheese and mustard alongside a cold pint of beer or a glass of red wine. It was initially made for a special visit of the Hungarian royal guard in the Spish castle where a local butcher presented and was selling this meat preparation.
16. Liptovska salama
The dish named Liptovska salama is a salami that was initially made in the Liptov region in the place Dubnica nad vahom. The special recipe and flavor of this salami make it popular among meat lovers who enjoy it served alongside other types of charcuterie.
Liptovska salama is made of a combination of fresh pork, beef and spices such as mace, ginger, garlic, nutmeg and black pepper. When the salami preparation is done, it is hunged to dry and smoke. This dish can be served as an appetizer that pairs perfectly with dry red wines, some bread and cheese.
17. Tekovsky Salamovy Syr
Tekovsky Salamovy Syr is a cow cheese that is made of full- fat milk in the region called Tekov that is located on the border between Banska Bystrica and Nitra in Slovakia. This region is actually known as “the cheese and wine region” which is quite inspiring for both foodies and sommeliers as hardly anything pairs so well as wine and cheese.
Tekovsky Salamovy sit is salted and dried or smoked and made in a cylindrical salami-like shape. It has a soft texture with small holes made inside.
The taste and aroma of this cheese is salty, milky and fairly acidic as it matures only for a short period of time. Some smoked versions have a golden color while other basic types are white. It is usually served as an appetizer or a deli snack alongside a glass of red or white wine and other types of cheese of charcuterie.