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Wining and Dining

 
Wining and DiningThe city centre has been referred to as “one huge restaurant”. It is more or less true because you can find a restaurant, café, bar or pub on every corner. There are hundreds in the pedestrian zone alone. The people of Bratislava enjoy spending time socialising in them. We all wait with anticipation for the restauranteurs to put out their tables and chairs on the streets around about May so that together with the tourists we can sip on a glass of fine wine from the local vineyards and admire the beauty of the Bratislava ladies as they pass by.

Visitors often ask about Slovak cuisine. Naturally, we have special Slovak restaurants, but the ‘Pressburg’ fare has always differed a little from mainstream Slovakia. Pressburg or Pozsony, as Bratislava was originally called, was home to a mix of Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans and Jews for as long as one can remember, often in mixed families. Pressburg cuisine is a mixing pot of all these influences. A very typical Slovak dish is Bryndzové halušky (a kind of cheesy gnocchi dish) – and you will not find anything like Bryndza anywhere else in the world (like a soft sheep cheese with very distinct taste).

 

There is no one particular meal typical for Pressburg, but the old Pressburg recipes are well worth trying. Why not try something with poppy seeds, as cultivating poppy seeds is now usually prohibited in Europe. Poppy seed linguini or gnocchi are now more of a rarity even in Bratislava, but you can still get your hands on a slice of poppy seed strudel or a renowned Bratislava poppy seed roll (or nut roll). Take a trip to the nearby Carpathian hills (referred to as the Small Carpathians), where you can enjoy the traditional meal of roast goose or duck with potato crepes and chopped cabbage. A true delicacy.

Bratislava was once a kind of royal wine cellar for the monarchy. The city lived from processing wine and was celebrated for it. Wine from the Pressburg region could be found at every royal banquet or feast. Queen Maria Theresa even referred to the Frankovka wine of the Rača area as having medicinal properties.

 

During the era of “expanding communism” the new rulers did all but totally destroy the wine tradition. They seized vineyards and merged them into co-operatives, where everything belonged to everyone and nobody owned anything. Fortunately, winegrowers kept some small vines behind their houses and so handed down the tradition from generation to generation. Following the “velvet revolution” their vineyards were returned to them and so winegrowing was revived with new verve. (Every cloud has a silver lining: in times when it was not possible to drink wine we learned from our Czech brethren how to brew good beer).


Typical varieties include white Rieslings and Veltliners , but we also have our own speciality: for example the cross-variety Devín is popular for its spicy aroma with scent of lemon balm and grapefruit. Make sure you don’t miss out.

 

Bon appetite and cheers!

 
 

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