It’s the end of the wine harvest. Slovenian winemakers have finished celebrating the fruits of their hard work in the vineyards with many a wine harvest party. But that’s not all. There’s yet another reason to celebrate in the name of wine this year: St Martin’s Day. It’s the largest and most popular wine celebration in Slovenia, during which you’ll find loads of happy cheer all around the country.
St Martin’s Day celebrations are in full swing this week. We’ve got a busy time ahead with all the food and wine events taking place in Slovenia. So come join us in this merry atmosphere as we toast Slovenia’s new wines!
Let’s see what’s in store. But first, what is St Martin’s Day and where’s the wine connection?
As you probably already know, St Martin’s Day is an international celebration that falls on November 11. What happens on this day? Grape must becomes wine. Isn’t that a good reason to celebrate? And luckily for wine lovers, merrymaking in the name of wine spreads out over a number of days around the 11th of the month.
St Martin’s Day is celebrated in all Slovenian wine regions, and also in many towns and villages all around Slovenia. Festive cheer is everywhere, from Mediterranean Primorska in the west to the eastern Pannonian plains.
Traditional activities take the form of food and wine events. Many Slovenes and foreign visitors usually attend one or more of the many St Martin’s Day celebrations in Slovenia. Wineries and wine cellars in Slovenia’s wine country host food and wine tastings featuring young wines paired with delicious cold cuts. Wine bars around Ljubljana and other major towns bustle with wine enthusiasts. Restaurants prepare themed menus comprising the traditional St Martin’s meal.
Alternatively, many Slovenes choose to prepare a more intimate feast in their homes.
A typical St Martin’s Day meal consists of succulent roast goose or duck, accompanied by shredded flatbread (mlinci) and red cabbage cooked in red wine or vinegar. How does the pheasant meat turn out so juicy and tasty? It’s normally stuffed with apples, raisins, and breadcrumbs. Plus herbs and spices (marjoram, cinnamon, and nutmeg) for the seasoning.
If you like the idea of cooking your own St Martin’s Day lunch or dinner, you might want to take inspiration from Slovenia’s best female chef: Ana Roš. She’s an expert at using traditional ingredients in surprisingly delicious ways. Follow her recipe for a heart-warming St Martin’s Day dish that will impress your beloved guests.
For a sweet ending, you could go for some potica. This is a traditional festive cake that resembles the British spiral roly-poly pudding. The most popular version is the one with a walnut filling. Other versions contain poppyseed, cottage cheese, hazelnut, chocolate, tarragon, or lovage, among others.
You can’t get more Slovene than this.
To experience Slovenia’s traditional St Martin’s Day celebrations, you could drive to the source of wine—to vineyards and winemakers. On a larger scale, Maribor, the home of the world’s oldest vine, hosts Slovenia’s biggest St Martin’s Day feast. Other main towns like Ptuj, and the famous Jeruzalem Ormož wine region in the east of Slovenia, are also gaining popularity. Or you could visit the Vipava Valley, Goriška Brda, and Karst regions that have food and wine programs tailored to this festive week.
During St Martin’s Day celebrations, you can taste young wines anywhere in Slovenia. Restaurants, wine bars, and organized St Martin’s Day celebrations are now teeming with young wines. You could even join a wine tour around some of Slovenia’s most popular wine regions, vineyards, and wine cellars. Or pick out your favorite wineries and check out their St Martin’s Day events.
Happy St Martin’s!