Lunch in the Mountains
My most memorable meal in Slovenia was minestrone, a plate of mushroom gnocchi and a slice of apricot apple strudel. Does it sound like too 'normal' food? Perhaps it sounds plain ordinary to you... Well, simple things never cease to amaze me, specially when quality ingredients are used by a talented cook. Don't get me wrong, this heavenly meal didn't take place in a posh restaurant by the hand of a well-known Chef. When my colleague kindly offered to drive us out of Ljubljana in her day off (the national holiday - Slovenia's Day), I chose Lake Bled almost immediately. Very well - she said - we can make it to the mountains, and have lunch there. You won't be served truffles or caviar but the food couldn't be better. So true!
This lovely restaurant in the mountain close to the Italian border is run by an adorable couple. The view is breathtaking. I just couldn't stop staring, not even when a crowd of Italian cyclists arrived laughing and talking loudly - typical Italian Style - and my thoughts were cut off.
Why don't you stay outside? It's so much nicer - the lady asked. And so we did. I felt at home when we were asked to set the table! The food was top class: first of all, minestrone - actually the best minestrone I've ever had. When I told her that, the lady offered to teach me how to make it, and gave me the recipe straightaway! My hubby was thrilled until he heard the soup had barley in it... Barley! How interesting, I thought. Like if he could read my mind, my husband almost jumped on his seat. You will not take barley from Slovenia. No way! Hehehe, how well does he know me?
This minestrone is on my to-do-list, as soon as I have the time to go look for the barley someone didn't let me buy in Ljubljana!
My second plate was a tasteful mushroom gnocchi [above, top right]. Perfect in every aspect, flavour, texture, colour, everything in the right place. My husband had goulash with polenta [above, bottom right], another traditional dish, that smelled heavenly. Our meal was finished with a local strudel, again very simple with a special note of apricot to spice up. Yummy!