Traditional cheese is where to start your gastro journey in the north

Smoked oštiepok (sheep cheese), cheese threads, and braided korbáčik (sheep braid). Your friends who have been here before will ask for these delicious treats made from sheep's and cow's milk just after you arrive from Slovakia. In Slovakia's mountainous north, however, the coffee aroma from Brazil or the temperament hidden in just a single spoonful of exclusive jam breathes on you.


Carry zázrivské vojky and coffee from Peru in a blueprint bag

In the region of Orava, which will gain you with its forested hills and slopes dotted with fields, you will be tempted by local cheese specialties at shops on every corner. However, if you want a comprehensive experience, go to Syrex in the village of Zázrivá. Here you will be privy to delicious secrets of the cheese production in the wonderful place of the mountain saddle directly below Malý Rozsutec peak. At the farm, they will show you the traditional production of sheep lump cheese, you can even try manual milking of sheep under the supervision of the farmer. They will also teach you how to make zázrivské vojky (raw sheep cheese thick threads) and press oštiepok into a hand-carved form. The composition of the menu in the nearby stylish koliba (shepherd hut) can be reliably revealed by the spreading aroma of bryndza, without which bryndza dumplings or pirogi are indispensable. They taste best when sprinkled with freshly chopped chives and cracklings from Orava bacon, which is made from boneless pork belly.


By the way, if you are looking for stylish packaging with a UNESCO touch for your gastrosouvenirs, head to the Ateliér Rabada in nearby Párnica. Their indigo-colored bag with a white minimalist decor will playfully carry heavier loads and demands for high aesthetics. If you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, sign up for a workshop and make your own blue and white designer piece by hand. Are you looking for a traditional pattern or an author's design inspired by Orava nature?


The aroma of freshly ground coffee will bring you along the Orava Reservoir to the village of Krušetnica. In the unique OravaKafe museum, a story about the coffee way, from the bean to a delicious cup of coffee, will be told by a collection of old coffee grinders, unique coffee machines, and cezves for Turkish coffee, as well as the largest mosaic of coffee beans from all over the world. Ask the barista for advice and try rare varieties of coffee from Colombia, Honduras, or Peru. You can also soak up the atmosphere of South America above the village of Klin, where the statue of Christ in the style of the landmark of Rio de Janeiro stands out. On the way, be sure to stop at the extremely photogenic Orava Castle. Does it look familiar? The impressive structure, which has been standing on a limestone cliff since Marco Polo roamed in China, was used in the iconic horror movie Nosferatu, the symphony of horror, or the Netflix series Dracula. Do you dare to go on a night tour?

The people living in the Liptov region will offer you a potato specialty or the dessert with the shine of a Michelin star

The mountain tradition is tightly bound with the neighboring Liptov region, which is one of the most visited regions of Slovakia due to its diverse natural beauty. Go with the whole family to Salaš Pastierska (sheppard hut Pastierska) in the Bobrovecka valley, where together with žinčica (whey from the sheep milk) directly from the carved črpák (traditional wooden utensil with holder), you can also enchant the views of the Liptovská Mara dam and Low Tatras. Behind your back there will be Western Tatras peaks. If you sign up in advance, they will treat you to mutton stew and teach you how to clap a shepherd's whip. Salaš Krajinka (sheppard hut Krajinka), just outside the town of Ružomberok, also promises an exceptional experience. During waiting for the demikát (traditional Slovak soup) made from 100% bryndza (sheep cheese), you can directly from the table watch the shaggy sheep and lambs through the large glass wall.

Be sure to try Liptov droby from the local specialties. It is a potato specialty with cracklings, onion, and garlic, filled into pork or beef casings. You can taste it in numerous traditional restaurants here. For example, in the lively village of Vlkolínec with the UNESCO brand. Among dozens of original houses with shingle roofs and colorful lime paint, look for a restaurant hidden in a white wooden house. On the terrace with old-world benches, you will also be offered traditional zemiakové harule (potato pancakes) or homemade cabbage soup. If you like Slovak folklore with its colorful vitality, go to the koliba Strachanovka (sheppard hut Strachanovka) in Liptovský Ján, where the waiters in national costumes will serve you under the sound of live folk music every Friday. Nearby you will also find MINI Slovakia, a park of miniature models of the most famous buildings from all over Slovakia.

Liptov droby (Photo: OOCR Región Liptov)

Those who like sweets can go to Arch Caffe in the city of Liptovský Mikuláš. The cafe with an industrial motif invites you to taste a cappuccino made from beetroot or black coal, but especially the masterful desserts made from honest home-made ingredients by Martin Devečka, who received a Michelin star as a pastry chef in France. Regular customers claim that just looking at the imaginative design of the desserts heals the soul. It is similar to what the natural thermal water in the nearby Tatralandia aquapark can do for the body.


In the city of Žilina, they will make you a customized tasting menu and popular jam

Even the most daring gastronomic expectations will be met at Žilina's TOP Restaurant, which is one of the ten best restaurants in Slovakia. In a restaurant specializing in fine dining, you would look for a classic menu in vain. A customized tasting menu will be prepared for you by the current seasonal offer by Peter Ďurčo – chef, host, and owner in one person. What would you say, for example, to white sturgeon caviar with tapioca pearls and homemade kefir sauce or fermented catfish wrapped in a linden leaf?


By the way, in the metropolis of north-western Slovakia, you can easily get to another fancy gastrosouvenir, which international delegations also receive as a gift. The full taste of fresh fruit, aromatic spices, and premium alcohol in exclusive jams and sauces of the Gentlejam brand will please even the most demanding gourmet. Take advantage of the fact that the family business is located in the historic center of the city, and take a look at the Mariánske námestie (Marianske square) with its typical arcades, which is home to several religious buildings and cozy cafes. Budatín castle with a unique exhibition of tinsmithing is also within walking distance.

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