These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Delights of the Slovak Table

 Photo: Ján Svrček

Long a culinary backwater, Central Europe has emerged as a hotspot. In New York, diners wait for weeks to dine at Danube, the über-fashionable downtown Vienna-style bistro. Sommeliers in Paris and London are pushing pricey Austrian and Hungarian wines - and their chefs are scrambling to put together regional dishes to match.

While Slovak cuisine has yet to penetrate the world's culinary capitals, it does share a common history and geography with the cuisines of its former royal neighbours. As is the case with more established nations of old Habsburg Mitteleuropa, this is the land of sauerkraut, goulash, schnitzel, caraway seeds, dumplings, sausage, and creative takes on pork.

But while Slovak cuisine certainly bears traces of its royal heritage, its history as a peasant culture is deliciously dominant. It specialises in hearty dishes, based mainly on pork, cabbage, cheese, and potatoes. After a day hiking through the High Tatras or visiting castle ruins, such hearty fare can be just the thing.

After 1,000 years under royal domination and 40 years of Communism, Slovakia's restaurant culture remains in its infancy, although cities such as Bratislava and Košice are coming of age fast. The pickings in small towns and villages - where most of the good cooking goes on in private homes - is pretty slim. Often the best option in this situation is hotels or pensions. What follows is a guide to ordering in restaurants.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2003.

Make your comment to the article... (1 reaction already made)