Martinovanje in Slovenia – Food & Wine Tips by Food Blogger Denise Rejec!
Over the course of the next week wine lovers accross Slovenia will be celebrating St Martin’s Day (11 November), when according to Slovenian tradition, grape juice (mošt or must) matures into wine. Public wine events and local celebrations will be held across Slovenia and plenty of delicious food will be prepared in Slovenian homes and restaurants for this traditional occasion. We asked Denise Rejec of Wine Dine Slovenia food & wine blog how to do martinovanje right!
Featured photo by Marko Delbello Ocepek, Ljubljana Tourism
Denise, how would you put a typical St Martin’s Day meal together?
I wouldn’t think of cooking anything but the traditional roast goose or duck dish, which in Slovenia is referred to as ‘Martinovanje pojedina’. The meat turns out really juicy and tasty, as it’s stuffed with apples, raisins, and breadcrumbs, plus herbs and spices (marjoram, cinnamon, and nutmeg). The St Martin’s meal is not complete without the accompanying mlinci, and red cabbage cooked in red wine or vinegar.
I dug into this dish for the first time in 2013. My husband prepared the whole shebang, and I was truly impressed by the great combination of various flavours and textures. We even prepared this meal for our Maltese and Slovenian friends in Malta for last year’s Martinovanje. They loved it. My husband’s not a chef, but he can cook up a masterpiece dish every now and then. This is one of his best. Can’t wait to dig into it again soon!
What are mlinci and how are they prepared?
My husband made these from scratch for the first time last year. They were a success, so he’ll be making them again this year. They’re thin pieces of dried flatbread made from a dough that’s prepared using flour, salt, and water. You can add even eggs and lard to the dough for added flavour. Once the dough is ready, you can cook it in the oven, so you end up with this flat, crispy bread.
Mlinci are simple to prepare once cooked. Simply steep them in boiling water till they soften up a bit. Then, you can enjoy them along with a juicy cut of roast goose or duck and red cabbage! So yummy.
Please, share with us some ideas for a St Martin’s dessert?
My mother in law recently baked buhtelni (sweet rolls made of yeast dough). She filled them with her homemade apricot jam and ground walnuts. Super delicious, especially enjoyed straight out of the oven.
I’d recommend eating these for St Martin’s. They’re soft and fragrant, the dough being very similar to that of a croissant.
Any wine or beverage recommendations to go with a typical St Martin’s Day meal?
I would recommend a young, light-bodied, fruity wine with medium to high acidity and low tannins. So I’d say a nice Modra Frankinja or Pinot Noir. Or if you prefer white wines, you could go for a light Riesling, Šipon, or Chardonnay. I’ve also heard that Cviček could make a good accompaniment to the traditional St Martin’s dish, though I’m not too fond of this red and white wine blend.
Oh and as a digestive… Go for a homemade walnut liqueur. Don’t we love a good shot of ‘orehovec’!
Slovenian wineries, wine-stalls and wine-cellars will be packed in the next week. Any 2019 new Slovenian wine hit we shouldn’t miss?
A young wine by Ščurek or Erzetič. That’s what I remember having with my previous St Martin’s meals. If you want to try a good selection of young wines in time for St Martin’s Day dinner, you should definitely attend the Young Wines Salon ‘Pubec’ happening in both Maribor (November 4) and Ljubljana (November 7).
Pubec is a line of young wines promoted every year around St Martin’s day. This is a great opportunity to pick your favorite wines to add that special cheer to this St Martin’s season. I’m definitely going to the Young Wines Salon ‘Pubec’ in Ljubljana (7 November).
Maribor, the home of the world’s oldest vine and often considered the wine capital of Slovenia, boasts the biggest martinovanje. But this year I decided to visit martinovanje in Ormož and Ptuj. Where are you going to celebrate martinovo this year?
I’ll definitely attend a highlight of the month, which is the St Martin’s Dinner with Slovenian Pop Songs at Bistro Švicarija in Ljubljana Tivoli on November 9. They’ll be serving a unique, five-course dinner including the famous dish of the season—roast duck. Accompanied by evergreen hits. Plus, there’ll be a party with DJ Udo Brenner following dinner.
Happy St Martin’s, from Wine Dine Slovenia!
Many events will be going on the whole week before November 11, as well as at the weekend of 8 – 10 November.