The Column with Denise Rejec: Slovenian Food & Gin (Not Wine) Pairing at Restaurant 1906 in Bled


Food and wine pairings have taken up a good portion of my gourmet adventures in Slovenia so far. But when it comes to FOOD AND GIN? Very few and far between, if not none at all. So when I heard that Restaurant 1906 at Hotel Triglav Bled was holding a food and gin pairing, I knew I had to be there. That would certainly be something special. Additionally, the in-house chef Jure Kordež was also hosting chef Marko Pavčnik of Pavus Restaurant situated at Tabor Castle in Laško.

Crunchy cauliflower with summer truffle cream and roasted hazelnuts (Photo Matej Mišič @misicpretnar)

I’d already attended two other food and drink pairings at Restaurant 1906 this year. The first was a food and beer pairing featuring craft beers by Pelicon Brewery, and the second a good old food and wine pairing with Kupljen Wines from Slovenia’s Štajerska region. At this third event, I was able to discover and appreciate Slovenia’s very own Limbay Gin.

Slovenia’s very own Limbay Gin distilled in Celje (Photo: Matej Mišič @misicpretnar)

Bled Cream Cake Appetiser on Hotel Triglav Bled Terrace 

The staff at Restaurant 1906 love greeting their guests on the panoramic terrace just outside the restaurant overlooking the iconic Lake Bled and Bled Island. So the terrace is right where the event kicked off, with guests enjoying their first sips of Slovenian gin and nibbles while admiring the views. 

Savoury Bled Cream Cake with polenta and ‘skuta’ at Restaurant 1906 (Photo: Denise Rejec)

All who know Bled will definitely be familiar with the famous Bled Cream Cake. That’s the town’s symbolic dessert, and one of Slovenia’s most popular cakes. Here’s a twist: The cream cake that Restaurant 1906 served as a welcome bite was surprisingly savoury instead of sweet. An interesting version comprising a rosemary-infused polenta and ‘skuta’ (Slovenia’s cottage cheese) filling sandwiched between two puff pastry layers. We enjoyed this with a refreshing cocktail of gin mixed with a sparkling wine by KLEN’ART (85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir).

Now it’s time for me to reveal the delicious food and gin matches made in heaven that we enjoyed at the table.

6 Unforgettable Food and Gin Pairings

I’m in love with Restaurant 1906’s dishes because they’re innovative. They’re created not just for creativity’s sake but to really satisfy their guests. The food is tasty. Flavors and textures combine well, and at just the right moments contrast to delight the foodie. 

I could say the same for Pavus Restaurant. So it’s not surprising that the chefs from both restaurants decided to put their minds together to come up with a stupendous menu.

Pavus Restaurant’s signature smoked trout in a beer ponzu sauce with trout caviar (Photo: Matej Mišič @misicpretnar)
  • 1st pairing: Pavus Restaurant’s signature smoked trout with white tea gin and tonic (dish by Marko Pavčnik)
  • 2nd pairing: Gin and tonic soup of celery, lime, and red basil, served with Granny Smith apple and celery G&T (dish by Jure Kordež)
  • 3rd pairing: Crunchy cauliflower with summer truffle cream and roasted hazelnuts (by Marko Pavčnik), paired with an artichoke, lemon, tobacco and hazelnut essence G&T
  • 4th pairing: Lake perch fillet ravioli with porcini and chanterelles, in a wild garlic fish sauce (by Jure Kordež), accompanied by olive oil, hemp, and lime leaf G&T
  • 5th pairing: Deer in spruce ash with morel cream, black walnut sauce, and rabbit foot clover (by Marko Pavčnik), served with a spruce buds, cherry, and meadow sage G&T
  • 6th pairing (dessert): Mint parfait with lemongrass crumble and elderflower ice cream (by Jure Kordež), with a chocolate and mint G&T

The G&T Soup Trick: One to Remember

As you can imagine, by the end of the evening we were very well fed and happy after all that food and gin. And that unusual gin and tonic soup we had in the second pairing will always make me smile. That was actually a really fun trick thought up by chef Jure Kordež. 

The G&T and the soup have switched roles: The G&T is in the soup bowl while the soup is in the cocktail glass! (Photo: Denise Rejec)

I really can’t wait for Restaurant 1906’s next gourmet experience, which is being planned for the coming autumn. So be sure to look out for that one, and see you next time with another one of my food and drink stories from Slovenia!

About the author:

Denise Rejec is a freelance writer from Malta. Her passion for writing—not to mention her love for Slovenian food and wine—prompted her to create the website Wine Dine Slovenia, which is dedicated to all the yummy things you can find in Slovenia.