Thursday, December 22, 2011
Traditional Slovak Holiday Foods
Currently in my home country of Slovakia, and despite coming for a sad occasion, I'm happy to experience the holidays the Eastern European way.
For those of you who are acquainted with this culture, you'll know that like in any Western country, holiday time is a huge deal, and especially in cities, where the locals set up holiday tents, full of pretty little handmade gifts and plenty of festive food and wine. This of course completely fascinated us, and we really enjoyed the boisterous atmosphere of people being together in the middle of a busy city square, enjoying each other's company with some delicious food and piping hot mulled wine.
After some careful scanning of the entire food offering at the main city square in Bratislava, we decided on a potato "loksa" (or crepe) and skewered potato rings, which resembled potato chips. While there were plenty of meat dishes with all sorts of grilled sausage and kielbasa to choose from, we decided to go vegetarian and ordered some mulled white wine to wash all that starchy goodness down with.
Potato Loksa with Cabbage - Although this wasn't my first choice when it came to holiday food (what I really wanted was a langos, but they didn't have), I settled for a loksa, something similar to what my grandmother used to make. Looking very much like a crepe, we had the opportunity to fill it with white cabbage, meat or even a sweet filling like nuts or poppy seeds. I chose the cabbage, which was intermingled with grilled onions, and though it was tasty and the dough delicate and tender, it was on the oily side and I think I would've loved (instead of liked) it if it was warmer. Peter and my dad fully agreed on this point.
Grilled Potato Skewer - I was intrigued by this dish when I saw people walking around with it, consisting of crunchy potato rings that were peeled in a continuous loop. Loving their well-doneness and the rustic way they were prepared with the skins still on, I shared one of these with my dad and Peter. We all agreed that the potatoes tasted like a cross between being scalloped and potato chips. They had that nice, flaky crunch to them, but were also a little soft in the middle. And since they were wonderfully thin, you didn't need to dip them into anything such as ketchup or mayo, they had enough moisture on their own.
White Mulled Wine - Why not get some nice, warm mulled wine to go along with this holiday goodness, I thought. The wine, as most whites in this region, comes from the Tokaji region, which crosses over into parts of Slovakia and Hungary. Known for their sweet wines, this one definitely qualified and warmed the bones, tasting like a sweet elixir that relaxed you and enhanced your festive mood. I had a red variety the night before, and I found the white to be a lot lighter and easier to drink.
We ended the night, turning in early after a very long but also a wonderful day, full of family and long lived, beautiful memories. I hope your holiday time is also treating you well, and I can't wait to hear about some of the ways in which you're enjoying it.
811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia