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Many people in Slovenia, especially people with a grandma with an affinity for baking, grew up eating potica’s slices. Potica is a traditional cake, and a must for every holiday in Slovenia, be it Christmas, Easter or a family celebration. It’s made from yeast-raised sweet dough, rolled thin and spread with different fillings. Since Slovenia boasts a wealth of culturally diverse regions with a variety of culinary traditions, there are not only one version of the cake, because it’s a versatile shapeshifter that takes on various forms and fillings depending on regional or familial recipes. Walnut potica is the most common and popular type. Traditionally it should be baked inside a bread oven in a Potičnica which is a round, clay baking dish, usually handmade. It’s rare to find many of these different styles in only one place, but it’s possible find a dizzying array of potica at a small bakery on northwestern Slovenia’s Bled Island.
Located in the middle of a glacial lake, Bled island is accessible only by small rowboats, known as pletnas, that are propelled by a single, standing ferryman. The major part of visitors visit the island to see its church and its castle, but its bakery, called Potičnica, churns out more than 50 different variety of the traditional Slovenian cake! Here, island bakers combine a wide array of sweet and savory ingredients in their potica, like pumpkin with apricot, tarragon with raisin, or smoked bacon with herb. The bakery’s “lavish potica” features a sweet-and-salty combination of walnuts, cottage cheese, and chocolate, but the establishment also covers the classic walnut (the most common filling in Slovenia, which gives potica the English nickname “nut roll”), poppy seed, or ham.
And if you want also something to drink, Slovenians typically pair sweet versions with coffee or wine, and savory versions with a cold beer!