"And two pairs of Kranjska..." is what we often say in the butcher's shop, and we often buy this Slovenian sausage in supermarkets as well. The Carniolan sausage (Kranjska kobasica) has become so widely known that we sometimes forget that it is a very special gastronomic heritage of Slovenia. In order to learn more about it and taste it, we went to Klobasarna in Ljubljana. This small bar is located in the very heart of the Slovenian capital, where it entices passers-by with its specialty.
Stanislav Logar – Stanč, owner of Klobasarna, is proud of his work. He used to be a watchmaker, heir to his family's watchmaking business. As elsewhere in Europe, watchmaking does not prove to be a profitable trade, but people like to eat local dishes and that's how Klobasarna was opened. But that's not the only reason, Stanč tells us: "Even when I was a watchmaker, there was a debate about whose Carniolan sausage was Slovenian or Croatian. There was a race in which the winner could be the one who opened the first street sale of Carniola sausage. I always like to be the first. Every other is a copy.“
And that's how Klobasarna, which offers Carniolan sausages, sprung up in the centre of Ljubljana. It originates from the historical region of Carniola, formerly the Duchy of Carniola, a crown land of the Austrian Empire. It has the perfect ratio of meat and bacon: at least 80% coarsely ground quality pieces of pork (thigh, shoulder blade, neck) and 20% bacon (back fat), seasoned with salt from the Sečovel Saltworks, black pepper and garlic. By placing the meat mixture in the natural intestines, sausages 12-16 centimeters long are formed, which are twisted into links, tied and held together with a wooden skewer. The links are then pasteurized and hot smoked until they take on a moderate reddish brown color.
"There is one recipe for Carniola sausage, but there are up to 15 types, depending on whether they have more salt, more pepper, or some other spice," Stanč tells us as we try to squeeze into about 15 square metres of space. There are always crowds. This is a busy place between Tromostovje and the cable car leading to the Ljubljana Old Town, so tourists make up to 80 per cent of the traffic. They are delighted with the sausage.
The knowledge of making Carniola sausages comes from a centuries-old tradition. The name of the product contains a very specific geographical definition, which in the Slovenian national territory since the 15th century, has been represented by the central historical country, which was the only one of all other countries that was completely Slovenian. That is why the term Kranjec was also another name for a Slovene. Carniola ceased to exist as a separate country within the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918, and its "successor" is today's Republic of Slovenia.
While we are collecting information about this significant Slovenian culinary success, we are happy that cviček, one of the most legendary Slovenian wines, is being poured. It is not always the most pleasant, but with its freshness it goes well with Carniola sausages. Slovenian beer is also served here, and Stanč reveals to us when Slovenians traditionally eat these sausages: "Slovenes usually eat Carniolan sausage for New Year's, Christmas, in winter, but also in summer. In fact, we sell the most in August, because the sausage goes well with beer." Stanč is a big promoter of this sausage, which is visible on the board full of pictures, awards and media praise for his efforts.
The oldest recipe for Carniola sausage was written down by the famous cook Katharina Prato during a trip to the former Carniola. The recipe was first written entirely in Slovenian in the sixth edition of "Slovenian Cookery" by Felicite Kalinšek, born in 1912. The original Carniola sausages are protected today. They are made by eleven certified manufacturers according to the original written recipe from the second half of the 19th century. The reputation of this excellent sausage is significantly shaped by the annual Carniolan Sausage Festival in Sora near Medvod, the Carniolan Sausage Days every year in a different place in Slovenia, the Carnoinian Sausage Festival in Cleveland (Ohio, USA) and many other smaller events.
Finally, we also tasted Carniola. A whole sausage or half comes out of a pot of hot water, accompanied by mustard, horseradish and a bun. With an unmistakably familiar taste, it satisfies and delights hungry visitors. In addition, sausage with cheese in the dough is also offered, to which pickled greens and bitters are added. It is so good that it even went into space. Namely, Sunita Williams, an American astronaut, was born to a Slovenian mother and an Indian father, so she brought Indian samosa and Carniola sausage into space!
Carniola sausages can also be found in jota and ricetta, popular winter food on a spoon, but the meat is added separately. In Slovenia, there is a big trend of vegetarianism, and by some miracle, many wander right into Klobasarna and are surprised by the excellent dishes of the Slovenian home. Therefore, straight to Klobasarna!
Ciril-metodov trg 15
1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija
+386 51 605 017