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There's More to Žlikrofi Than Meets the Eye
Slovenian cooking may seem fairly simple at first, but there's often a lot more work that goes on behind the scenes than you might think. If you travel near the town of Idrija, look out especially for the delicious žlikrofi on many local menus. The pasta dish has been a regional specialty since the mid-1800s, when it was a favorite of hungry miners working the local mercury shafts. But don't be deceived by the relatively simple stuffed tortellini that arrive on your plate; rest assured a lot of effort went on in the kitchen beforehand. In fact, the process is so involved that a couple of years ago the Ministry of Tourism decided to set up a special certification process. Only inns and restaurants that abide by the rules can call their product authentic Idrija žlikrofi.
So how to tell the echt from the fake? The ministry sets out the following: the filling must be a mix of potatoes, smoked bacon, onions, spice, and herbs. The filling is then formed into balls the size of a hazelnut and placed on a sheet of thin dough. The dough is folded over and pressed together between the balls so that, to quote, "a sort of ear shape is gained." The ministry also advises not to push the dough down too hard so as to leave the žlikrofi looking like they're wearing a little hat. The ministry doesn't say what the penalty is for the hapless gostilna that breaks the rules. Rest assured, however, that whatever shape your žlikrofi arrive in, they're likely to be delicious—served as a side or a main course with cheese or mushroom sauce.
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