IDRIJSKI ŽLIKROFI: A Guide for Gourmands (ENG)

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Esteemed food lovers! Do you like to cook and, most of all, eat good food? Would you like to surprise your loved ones withsomething traditional, new, special? If your answer is yes, then this guide is perfect for you. With every page you will experience a new culinary delight and get to know culinary masterpieces of the Idrija region, with its fresh local ingredients and richness of tastes! Located on the intersection of three very different geographic units – the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Basin – Slovenia can not only boast about its dynamic landscapes but also about its rich culinary heritage. The diverse Slovene cuisine enriches the European culinary offer. Regional and local cuisine, with its variability and uniqueness, gives an insight into everyday life and holiday traditions of the local people in the past and in the present. Simple dishes and their countless variations with different vegetables, fruit and cereals that were created through history reflect the tough living conditions, in which people had to be ingenious in order to survive with the little they had. One of these dishes is the remarkable Idrijski žlikrofi which originates from the times when special household appliances were not yet available and the recipes and knowledge on food preparation were passed down from generation to generation simply through observation. The preparation of this simple dish made form pasta dough and potato filling, which gave strength to the miners and accompanied every celebration, was entrusted to the skilful housewives in Idrija who turned it into a work of art. If they were lucky, they had

potatoes, onions, chives, marjoram and eggs at home. Or they got all the ingredients and minced lard at the nearby farmer, black pepper at the grocer’s and flour from a smuggler who brought it from the former Yugoslavia. In 1954 Karel Bezeg, a researcher who studied the habits and customs of the people living in Idrija, described Idrijski žlikrofi as a dish similar to the Viennese Schlickkrapferin, a type of ravioli but with a different filling.


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According to him, the greatest secret of Idrijski žlikrofi lies in the preparation of the potato filling, for there are so many variants of the recipe as there are cooks. People used to say that “the cook put all her cooking knowledge, love and longing into the preparation of this dish”. Some say that Idrijski žlikrofi mended all family disputes, marked every holiday, birth, name day, wedding and eased the pain at deaths In bigger families of five to eight family members, housewives made up to 700 pieces for lunch or dinner. Some sources state that Idrijski žlikrofi was brought to Idrija by one of the mining families from Transylvania at the start of the 19th century, and people could already buy them freshly made in the second half of the 19th century. One thing is true, Idrijski žlikrofi became

an integral part of the way of life and cooking to the people from Idrija. At holidays, mining families most frequently served Idrijski žlikrofi with bakalca, a type of mutton stew. The eaters liked the stew so much that they moped the plate up (bakali) with bread. Later on Idrijski žlikrofi found its way to restaurants’ menus. Some of you probably already heard of Franc Lapajne from Idrija. He was the first who, in the second half of the 1960s’, brought žlikrofi from home tables to the restaurant Nebesa and became famous around the world. Idrijski žlikrofi is a culinary masterpiece not only because it is made following a traditional recipe, using traditional ingredients, following a traditional method, but also because of the knowhow and the effort that are needed for the preparation of this handmade delicacy. This is why we worked hard in Idrija to ensure this dish the protection that it deserves. In 2002 Idrijski žlikrofi was awarded Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TGS) status by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, and is, since January 2010, registered as a protected product also by the European Commission. We give special attention to this Slovene dish, protected on an EU level, and work towards increasing its recognition and preserving the Slovene culinary heritage. For centuries Idrijski žlikrofi was known as a holiday dish. Today, thanks to the skilful hands that still make them, Idrijski žlikrofi became a visible part of the Slovenian Gastronomic Pyramid under the trademark Taste Slovenia. Between 2006 and 2018 certified makers of Idrijski žlikrofi, who are joined with the society for the

promotion and preservation of Idrija’s cuisine, made over 900 tons of Idrijski žlikrofi. Since 2002, when it was registered as a national Traditional Speciality Guaranteed, Idrijski žlikrofi are not found only in Idrija but in places near and far. Buying them frozen in shops makes the preparation quicker, so that more attention can be given to the sauce. Want to know how you can combine handmade Idrijski žlikrofi with exquisite new tastes? The menu was put together for you by the local chefs, and follows the latest culinary trends, while at the same time preserves the originality of this protected dish. The creative ways of presenting the dishes are, however, far from traditional and make Idrijski žlikrofi even more recognisable. Try, enjoy and choose your favourite way of preparing this unique dish either for an everyday meal or for a special occasion – you will no doubt be impressed! Let the preparation of new dishes with Idrijski žlikrofi be a creative culinary experience, not only for the one who prepares them but more so for the one they are intended for! What gives an even greater charm to this dish is its place of origin and the local scenery. Thus, you are invited to try it at the Idrija žlikrof festival, which takes place at the end of every summer. Lovers of good Slovene cuisine enjoy!

Before we reveal the recipes, here is a tiny secret about how to correctly eat Idrijski žlikrofi:

Franc Lapajne (photo: Iztok Bončina)

“While one is in your mouth, the other is on the fork in front of your nose and the third already eyed as the next in line.” (Karel Bezeg)

Traditional ingredients and modern diet

Idrijski žlikrofi have just the right proportion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. According to the calculation-of nutrition values, Idrijski žlikrofi contain 12,78% of proteins (recommended values 10–15%), 22,79% of fats (recommended values up to 30%) and 64,43% carbohydrates (recommended values 55–75%). One portion (30 pieces) has 420,14 kcal or 1756.2 kJ, not taking into account the sauce that is served with the dish. Idrijski žlikrofi do not contain any chemical preservatives or modern foodadditives, but despite being a traditional dish follows the trends of modern diet. Idrijski žlikrofi differ from other types of filled pasta in their shape, unique filling and method of making them. More than 60 tons of žlikrofi are made annually, and -their production is still growing. .

Idrijski 탑likrofi are made from pasta dough filled with potato filling, and have a characteristic shape. They are defined as a type of filled pasta. Basic ingredients needed to make Idrijski 탑likrofi are: for the pasta dough: flour, eggs, water or milk; for the filling: potatoes, onions, fat (minced lard or smoked chopped bacon), different spices and herbs (marjoram, chives, black pepper, salt).



White all-purpose flour, type 500, or white pastry flour, type 400, is used for making Idrijski 탑likrofi, some use a mixture of both types.

Fresh or dried chives can be used, depending on the time of year and availability. Its taste resembles the taste of onions (sulphur compounds in etheric oils), yet there is a greater freshness to it. Younger leaves havea gentler taste than older ones. Once dried, their aroma is milder, if frozen, chive can have a slight aftertaste. That is why picking quality ingredients is key.

Potatoes The right variety of potatoes is key. The most suitable are those varieties that are low in moisture and do not overcook too much. Choosing the right type of potatoes is not an easy task and takes a lot of experience. The right type of potatoes ensures that the potato balls will form nicely.

Onions Onions have a sharp scent and a sweet aromatic but yet edgy taste. The scent of the onions can be sensed while cutting or chopping them. For Idrijski 탑likrofi, onions have to be finely chopped and lightly browned on fat before adding them to the filling.

Marjoram Fresh or dried leaves or buds can be used (depending on the time of year). Marjoram is a very pleasant aromatic herb (containing a great concentration of etheric oils), it is slightly spicy and bitter in taste which has to be taken in consideration when deciding on how much marjoram to add to the filling.

The method of making Idrijski Ĺžlikrofi The dough: Gently mix flour, eggs and water or milk until they come together in a dough that is softer than the one for making noodles. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and stretchy and it does not stick to your hands or the surface. The texture of the dough, if cut in half, has to be uniform and without any air pockets. Cover the dough so it does not dry out and let it rest for at least half an hour. Once rested thinly roll out the dough. The filling: The filling is made with boiled potatoes which have to be mashed when still warm. First add just the salt and fat (cracklings, minced lard or fried bacon) and then the browned onions, spices and herbs (marjoram, chives and black pepper). Quickly mix everything together until you get a smooth mixture. The filling should not crumble so add more fat if needed. Use the potato filling to form balls which should not be bigger than 1,5 cm. The shape: The formed balls are lied down onto the edge of the rolled out dough approximately one finger apart. Then roll the dough together with the balls so that the dough entirely covers the potato balls. Cut away any extra dough and with a finger press together the dough between each ball so it sticks together and ears are formed. Form a small dimple on top of each piece, making sure that you do not puncture the dough. This is how Idrijski Ĺžlikrofi get their unique hat like shape. Typical Idrijski Ĺžlikrofi measure no more than 3 cm in length and 2 cm in height (the height is measured in the middle; they are a little higher at the edges).

How to correctly cook Idrijski žlikrofi

Ingredients for approx. 150 pieces: Dough • up to 300 g of white flour • 1-2 eggs • just enough water and milk needed to get a softer dough. Filling • 500 g of potatoes • up to 50 g of minced lard or smoked chopped bacon • up to 50 g of onions • chives • black pepper • marjoram • salt TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 900 g of Idrijski žlikrofi • water • salt (up to 10 g for a litre of water)

Idrijski žlikrofi have to be cooked in plenty of water. We recommend cooking 40 pieces of fresh, and 20 pieces of frozen Idrijski žlikrofi in 4 litres of water. Idrijski žlikrofi are cooked in salted boiling water. If they are fresh, they are cooked once they float to the surface and boil once again. If they are frozen, they should boil for a minute. If you are new to cooking, we recommend trying one before taking them out of the water. Use a skimmer to get them out, making sure that you drain them well.

How to serve Idrijski žlikrofi? As a type of filled pasta, Idrijski žlikrofi is a very versatile dish and can be served as a warm starter, as a side dish to a meat meal or as a main dish in combination with different sauces. In the Idrija region, it is frequently served drizzled with melted minced lard or sprinkled with chives. In restaurants you can order it with a pork or a veal roast, with a gorgonzola sauce or with porcini mushrooms. Idrijski žlikrofi is very tasty even if served with a simple roast sauce (politi žlikrofi). Chef Boštjan Novak from Idrija likes to comment that politi žlikrafi is an upgrade to žlikrofi with touše, a sauce that is made by sweating the onions in fat and juice from the roast.

The first rule in choosing and preparing the sauce is that the sauce should not overshadow the taste of Idrijski žlikorfi but complement the taste of the whole dish. So choosing the right sauce is a true work of art. Every season offers interesting fresh ingredients, spring asparagus and wild garlic, summer and autumn vegetables, and different meat goodies when the weather gets colder. We can get the ingredients in our own vegetable garden or at a nearby farm, we can pick them in the forest or the meadow, or we can buy them at one of the well-stored local market places.

On a Bed of Fried Chicory with the “Krnčan” Sauce (Farm Na Krnicah / Boštjan Novak)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 300 g of chicory • oil for frying • 100 g of aged cheese ˝Krnčan˝ (or other aged cow cheese) • 2 dl of sweet cream • salt • black pepper • marjoram


Cut the washed and dried chicory leaves into wider ribbons and fry them in hot oil. With a skimmer take the fried ribbons out of the oil and place them on a paper towel so the access oil is absorbed. Cook the cream together with the grated cheese on low heat until you get a nice uniform sauce. The sauce must not boil. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and marjoram. If the sauce is too thick, it can be diluted with a little milk. Mix boiled Idrijski žlikrofi into the sauce and gently shake the saucepan so they get nicely coated. Place the ribbons of fried chicory in the middle of the plate and put Idrijski žlikrofi on top.

On a Bed of Vegetables with a Four Cheese Sauce (Boštjan Novak)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • carrots, courgettes, red peppers and leek (70 g of each) • salt • olive oil • fresh basil • thyme • savory • emmental, gouda, edam and parmesan cheese (40 g of each) • 1,25 dl of sweet cream • milk if needed For the garnish: • buds of thyme and dill • chopped red peppers DIFFICULTY: medium PREPERATION TIME: 35 minutes

Julienne the vegetables and quickly blanch them in salted water or on steam. Grate the cheeses and add to boiled sweet cream. Cook on low heat. If the sauce is too thick, dilute it with milk. On olive oil sauté and season the vegetables. Place the vegetables on a plate in a form of a circle and put Idrijski žlikrofi in the middle, then drizzle them with the cheese sauce and garnish with dill and thyme buds, and finely chopped red peppers.

With Asparagus Sauce (Hotel Cerkno)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 300 g of green asparagus • 2 dl of sweet cream • 50 g of butter • 50 g of dried ham • 50 g of grated parmesan • salt and pepper DIFFICULTY: medium PREPERATION TIME: 20 minutes

Wash and clean fresh green asparagus. Cut the tops of the asparagus and put them aside for later. Cook the remaining asparagus in salted boiled water until tender. With a mixer, mix the asparagus and cream to get a creamy mixture. Save the water in which you cooked the asparagus for later in case you need to dilute the sauce. Sauté small cuts of dried ham and asparagus tops, then add the creamy mixture. Cook and season to taste. Add boiled Idrijski žlikrofi to the sauce, sprinkle with grated parmesan and stir well.

With Wild Garlic Sauce (Restaurant Gačnik in Log)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • a bunch of freshly picked wild garlic • 50 g of butter • vegetable stock • salt and pepper DIFFICULTY: low PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

On heated butter quickly sauté finely chopped fresh wild garlic. When the garlic releases its aroma, add some vegetable stock to stop sautéing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Boiled Idrijski žlikrofi are added to the sauce and cooked for a short while on low heat. If you like, you can add cream and grated hard cheese.

With Chives Sauce (TESING Klemen Florjančič s.p.)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 20 g of butter • 20 g of flour • 2.5 dl of milk • salt and pepper • a pinch of ground sweet red pepper • a spring of rosemary • 1 tbsp. of sour cream • 2-3 tbsp. of finely chopped chives DIFFICULTY: low PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

Sauté the flour on butter and add cold milk. Stir on low heat until the sauce boils, then season to taste with salt, pepper and other spices. Cook the sauce for at least 5–10 minutes, so the flour cooks well. Before serving the dish, add sour cream and finely chopped chives. Add boiled Idrijski žlikrofi and gently mix them into the sauce.

With Chanterelles (Boštjan Novak)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 250 g of chanterelles • 0,2 dl of olive oil • 20 g of raw butter • 50 g of shallots • ½ of a garlic clove • 1,25 dl sweet cream • salt • white pepper • a handful of parmesan • finely chopped chives DIFFICULTY: low PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

Sauté the finely chopped shallots on heated oil and butter. Once they become slightly brown, add chopped garlic. When the garlic releases its aroma quickly add the cleaned chanterelles. Sauté for a little while, add the cream and let boil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Boil Idrijski žlikrofi in salted water. Drain them and add to the sauce. Gently shake the pan, so the sauce is evenly distributed between the žlikrofi, and add a handful of parmesan to bring the dish together. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately.

With Young Rabbit Sauce (Ivica Skrt)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 1 rabbit, weighing around 1,5 kg • 1 dl of oil • 100 g of carrots • 150 g of shallots • 4 garlic cloves • 1 spring of rosemary • a slice of untreated lemon • 50 g (two slices) of Hamburg bacon • 0,3 dl of white wine • a piece of raw butter (optional) • salt and pepper

Cut the rabbit into smaller pieces. Heat oil in a big enough skillet and sauté the meat. Move the sautéed meat into another skillet. Use the remaining oil to brown roughly chopped shallots, garlic and sliced carrots. Add stock, rabbit meat, lemon and bacon into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, cover the skillet with a lid and stew until the meat becomes soft. Add stock if needed, and turn the meat around several times while stewing. When the meat is almost done, add a little white wine and, if you like, a piece of raw butter to make the sauce softer. Stew until the dish is ready. We serve the rabbit with boiled Idrijski žlikrofi drizzled with the sauce from the stew.

DIFFICULTY: medium high – high PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours

Note: As demonstrated on the photo, remove the bone from the rabbit's leg, slightly beat the meat with a steak hammer and wrap two slices of Hamburg bacon into the meat. Secure it with a string to get the original shape. Once this is done, follow the recipe above.

With Truffles (Boštjan Novak)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 1,25 dl of sweet cream • 1 tsp. of Tartufata • a pinch of unrefined salt • 20 g of fresh white truffles DIFFICULTY: low PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

In a pan heat the cream and add the Tartufata. Once the sauce boils, add drained Idrijski žlikrofi and season with salt. Gently shake the pan. The dish is served on plates and sprinkled with grated white truffles on top.

With Bakalca (The association Društvo podeželjskih žena Idrija-Cerkno)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED: • 500 g of mutton (lamb) shoulder without bones • 50 g of lard or vegetable oil • 250 g of onions • 200 g of carrots • salt and pepper • marjoram • savory • thyme • 20 g of flour • 5 dl of water (or stock)

Cut the meat into short ribbons. Brown finely chopped onions on oil and add sliced carrots, meat, herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add flour and water or stock. Stew for at least 1,5 hours until the meat becomes tender and sauce nice and creamy. Boiled Idrijski žlikrofi are placed on a plate together with bakalca.


With Wild Game Bakalca (The hunters’ association of Idrija / Boštjan Novak)

To prepare Idrijski žlikrofi with wild game bakalca we follow the recipe for Idrijski žlikrofi with bakalca, replacing mutton or lamb meat with mouflon meat and add spices that go together with wild game meat (garlic clove, 2-3 juniper berries, bay leaf, a spring of rosemary). While braising the meat, we add 1 dl of white wine to it. Bakalca will have a really nice colour if we grate half of the carrots and add them to the dish towards the end of cooking.

With cracklings (traditional recipe)

TO SERVE 4 PEOPLE WE NEED : • 150 g of lard with cracklings • finely chopped chives DIFFICULTY: very low PREPARATION TIME: less than 10 minutes

Heat the lard with cracklings on low heat. Divide boiled Idrijski žlikrofi evenly onto plates, drizzle the heated lard with cracklings over them and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.




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booklet IDRIJSKI ŽLIKROFI A Guide for Gourmands content design and project realisation ICRA d.o.o. Idrija plating and recipes Boštjan Novak graphic design Nataša Jesenšek Koder, Bojan Tavčar photography and photo editing Jani Peternelj translation FARFALLA, Anteja Jež s.p. print GR grafika d.o.o. circulation 300 copies Idrija, July 2019 The publication is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund. The printing of this booklet was also made possible by the support of the Municipality of Idrija.