Ljubljana, 13. 2. 2017 – Although the weather in Ljubljana is not exactly warm these days, your hearts can be: Valentine’s day is just around the corner. And so is gregorjevo on March 12th – you might translate it as George’s day (named after the day of St. George) or “the day of birds’ marriage”, and it is an older, earlier Slovenian version of Valentine’s. And because love goes through stomach (as we say in Slovenia), I’ve asked a few Ljubljana chefs what they see as the most romantic food they’ve ever made or had elsewhere. Get ready: there’s everything from fresh sea urchins to pork cracklings!

Luka Nagode (Luda, Brodo):

Romance is hard to define by a single dish as it depends on the situation and the person you are with. At Luda, each guest / couple brings their romance with them because to those two in love all the delicious dishes are romantic, while if this is a business dinner the same dishes will not evoke romance. Personally, I find it romantic when looking for and eating raw sea urchins with my partner Urška.

Luka Nagode, Luda & Brodo.

Luka Nagode, Luda & Brodo. Photo: Ada Hamza.

Mateja Jerovšek (Gelateria Romantika):

Gelato, of course – best from my Gelateria Romantika! Joke aside, gelato for me is by far the most romantic dish. Just imagine: you’re head over heels in love, walking around town and casually grab a divine gelato which you then non-innocent flirtatiously steal from one another. Or share in the 101 ways. If this is not romance, what is?! By the way, this works magic even when you are no longer desperately in love. Otherwise, very romantic is also breakfast in bed brought by your significant other. Or just a coffee in bed. Um, I’ve said it all, right? 😉

Mateja Jerovšek, Gelateria Romantika.

Mateja Jerovšek, Gelateria Romantika. Photo: personal archive.

Robert Henigman (TOZD):

For such occasions I often dine out, and last such beautiful experience was at Gregor Vračko’s Hiša Denk (Denk House). There I cannot expose just one dish because the whole menu is fantastic, along with excellent wines he is offering. However, if I cook by myself, I’d go for pad thai.

Robert Henigman, TOZD. Photo: Klemen Razinger.

Robert Henigman, TOZD. Photo: Klemen Razinger.

Bine Volčič (Monstera bistro):

I think romantic food does not exist; romantic are only the feelings which we transfer on the food during preparation. Hence, each dish can be romantic but the importance is in the attitude with which it is prepared. Because food that we savor with all our senses – taste, smell, touch, hearing and of course also vision, it is a very powerful conductor of emotions, bears memories and can also feed our mind.

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Bine Volčič, Monstera bistro.

Urška Bojkovski (Repete):

Romantic meals – I’ve prepared quite a few. Firstly, I would mention homemade cracklings because you need a good hand to cut and mix them well, a lot of love to compress them, and they you can nibble them as a couple, or by yourself, while watching a good movie. Certainly this category also includes the royal curry that you prepare for two days, and then it is just plain divine. Since I consider romantic all food consumed by hands, I cannot forget a certain lamb shoulder which I roasted for hours and hours since my hubby was late for dinner. Baked way too much, it was therefore so soft that we ate it straight from the container, no plates. Most romantic dish that I ate elsewhere was in the South African Cape Town: goose liver with apricots and roses wrapped in salty meringue with local “Bobi stick”.

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Urška & Ljubo Bojkovski, Repete. Photo: Mankica Kranjec.

Dalibor Novaković (Žmoht):

Fried »girice« (small picarels)! When we were still dating with my wife, we loved to hop on rafts on the Sava river in Serbia, drink wine and eat girice. If I am cooking, I consider ravioli or any stuffed pasta a very romantic dish. It’s one of those dishes I like to prepare for the people I love because they require a lot of affection when preparing and are actually a kind of mini gifts.

Dalibor Novaković. Photo: personal archive.

Dalibor Novaković. Photo: personal archive.