Disclaimer that this food tour was gifted to me by my lovely office partners, Ljubljananjam. I will not receive any compensation for this article. All opinions, as always, are my own.
If you are traveling to Ljubljana and want learn a bit about the city and try some of the local foods then booking a tour with Ljubljanayum (or Ljubljananjam) is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. They offer three different tours (food, craft beer, and wine). I went on the food tour which is 3.5 hours long and almost more food than you can eat.
Ljubljanayum Food Tour
Let’s get to the tour! It was a chilly but sunny Friday and I was more than ready to spend the next 3.5 hours eating my way around Ljubljana. I went to the meeting point where I met a couple visiting Slovenia from England, our guide, Urša, and Iva, the founder.
Our first stop we had this beautiful dandelion salad with potatoes, pork crackling, and a poached egg. It was a first for me as I never tried dandelions before. The salad was really nice and fresh, and not as bitter as others said it would be. Also, I am loving this idea of a poached egg on a salad. We were served an acacia cordial which tastes like a sweet floral flavored water. I can see this being really wonderful on a hot summer day.
The tour took us through the center of Ljubljana towards the market learning about architecture and history of the city. I learned some new things such as the stories behind the paintings on the beehive covers (shown below) which are quite fun and silly.
The next stop we went to was the indoor market and tried some cheese from one of the stands. It is called kozovč and it is a mix of sheep and goat milk. It had a strong particular taste, but for me, that is more than okay! I love a good sheep cheese and this was no exception. I’m looking forward to going back and buying some for home.
The next stop was a feast! If all food tours give this much food, then count me in forever. We started with a homemade wild garlic soup called čemaževa kremna juha. I don’t know who has been hiding this soup from me because it might be a new favorite. I highly recommend you order it if you travel to Slovenia. It’s a creamy soup with a subtle garlic taste, such a treat.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also had some Kranjska klobasa with fresh horseradish and Slovenian mustard and traditional buckwheat štruklji. Delicious all around. I have had these dishes before and these were top notch versions. I will definitely be frequenting this restaurant more often.
Thank goodness we walked a bit through the historic center to our next stop which explored the Primorska region of Slovenia. We choose between either white (Malvasia) or red (Refosco) wine. I choose the Malvasia and enjoyed every sip. White wines from Slovenia can taste so fresh and are very easy to drink. We then tried Slovenian produced olive oil with fresh bread. Istrian olive oil is actually among the highest rated olive oils in the world. It is a European protected product and has won numerous awards.
There were two types of pasta to try; Istrian fuži with creamy truffles and homemade pasta with Istrian beef (boškarin) sauce. Yum, yum, and yum. The truffle pasta was especially delicious and not too strong of truffles. I would have preferred the pasta al dente but that is just my preference, the flavor alone had me dig in for seconds.
I didn’t know how I would fit anything else in my stomach, but I managed haha. We walked a bit to a different neighborhood and our next place for eats and drinks. There we had tapas of sliced bread with homemade cottage cheese mixed with pumpkin seed spread and some with sliced sausage and some pumpkin seed oil for dipping.
We got to choose which craft beer we wanted to try and I went with the Mea culpa from Reservoir Dogs Brewery, a brewery based in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. I always go for the IPA (typical), and really like Slovenian craft beers, but never tried this one before. It was the perfect companion for our tapas. I learned that some American craft beer producers get their hops from Slovenia!
We are now a few hours in and I am bursting at the seams, but the tour goes on, and we stop for some amazing coffee and top it all off with gelato! Both of which were extremely delicious.
Is this food tour for you?
Is Ljubljananjam’s essential food tour worth the 65€ price? Yes. You get not only a 3.5-hour long food tour with generous servings, but also a tour around Ljubljana, a bit of history, a bit of culture, and the opportunity to learn about food produced all over Slovenia. This is a great companion for your trip to Ljubljana to meet with locals who are passionate about the city and the food. The other bonus is that they can provide epic recommendations for the rest of your trip.
If you are visiting Ljubljana and would like to book a tour visit Ljubljanayum’s website for more information.
I took some time after the tour to speak with the founder, Iva Gruden, about her inspiration to start her business, and how her life experiences contributed to the experience you receive on a Ljubljanayum tour. Iva worked as a photojournalist for various publications in Slovenia often times contributing and writing for the food sections of the papers. She also grew up in a house of food exploration and travel where family members would bring back food from other countries to try.
She initially thought to give food tours herself as a side job, because she wanted to bring not just the traditional foods, but also what is happening culinarily in Ljubljana to tourists. Through these tours, she shares the food local people really eat and the stories around these dishes, as well as exploring the various regions of Slovenia.
Today the business has grown to three full-time staff and a range of tour guides and three tours. I think Iva’s vision is definitely reflected in the tour today where you have the opportunity to learn about not just Ljubljana and it’s traditional food, but current food production, and eat at some of the top restaurants in the city.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and if you want to follow my daily adventures you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram. If you have a story that you think will fit Foodie Fridays feel free to reach out.