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Slovakia - Food and Drink
'Bryndzové halušky' is Slovak national meal made with potato dumplings and special kind of not Pasteurized fermented sheep cheese called 'bryndza'. You will get pieces of fried meaty bacon on top of Bryndzové halušky. Apart from being very tasty and delicious, the bryndza is also extremely healthy. Some scientists suppose it can even prevent cancer and treat allergies.
Some kinds of bread contains caraway. You may not like it!
When you want to prepare food by yourself, you may find difficulties buying in villages:
- meat other than chicken
- vegetables or salads
- bread (in late hours)
Dishes served in restaurants are usually small and often many items from menu are unavailable. Fried cheese is often considered as substitute of meat.
For non-alcoholic drinks try Vinea, a soft drink made from grapes, in both red and white and also non-carbonated. Kofola, a Coke-type soft drink, is also very popular among locals and is available both on tap and bottled.
Mineral waters are some of the best in the World and can offer positive effects, such as helping get rid of heart burn. There are many types available from shops and supermarkets, for example Budiš, Baldovská, Salvator, Slatina, Kláštorná etc. Others are only available directly from the many spas that naturally spring up all over the place.
For beers, there are a great variety of local brews that are similar in style to Czech beers. Try out the local Zlatý Bažant, Smadný Mních, Topvar and Šariš. Šariš is also available in a dark version that is thicker and heavier on your stomach. If the local tastes do not satisfy, "Western" beers are sold in the bigger restaurants and pubs. Note that quality of the tap beer may vary dramatically between different restaurants and pubs, depending on how well they can prepare the beer (good temperature, not too much carbon dioxide) and how they care about the equipment (clean pipes etc.).
Slovakia has also some great local wines, many similar to Germanic Riesling styles. There are also sweeter wines from the Southern border regions called Tokaj. Slovak wine might not be widely known outside the region but it is certainly worth a try. The best recent wine years in Slovakia were 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006. The year 2006 is expected to be the best in the last 40 years backwards.
Slovakia produces good vodkas. Excellent is the plum brandy (Slivovica), pear brandy or liquor Demänovka. But the most popular alcohol is Borovička, a type of gin. In some shops you may try a 25 or 50 ml shot for very little money, so as to avoid buying a big bottle of something of unknown flavour, then decide whether to buy or not to buy ;)
If you are a more adventurous type, you can try some home-made Slivovica that the locals sometimes offer to foreigners. While it is allowed to ferment alcohol at home by law, it is prohibited to distill it. All home-made liquors are distilled in certified destileries so you don't have to be afraid of any health risks (apart from getting drunk). The home-made liquors are very strong (up to 60% alcohol) and usually not very tasty. However, if Slivovica is matured for 12 or more years, it can become a pleasant digestive drink.
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