Cuisine and Beverages, Bratislava
On my trips to Slovakia I always tried some of the local beers. One of my favourite Slovak beers is the lager of Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant). The brewery was founded in 1967 in Hurbanovo, and is nowadays owned by Heineken.
Another popular Slovak beer is Saris. The brewery was established in 1964 in Velky Saris and taken over by SAB Miller in 1995.
Here's a list of typical Slovak food: "halusky s bryndzou" - small gnocchi with sheep cheese and fried pieces of bacon but there are also variations with baked sausage, sauerkraut, sour cream, etc.; "kapustova polievka" or "kapustnica" - hearty thich sauerkraut soup (sour cabbage)with meat, sausage, mushrooms and potatoes (the recipe varies according to regions) usually served with bread; "bryndzova" or "oskvarkova natierka" - both are spreads that you eat with bread, the first is from sheep cheese and the latter from lard/bacon, also bread with lard and onion is a tradition at some places; "bryndzove pirohy" - small potatoe dumplings filled with sheep cheese served with sour cream and fried pieces of bacon; "zemiakova placka" - a potatoe pancake that is eaten either on its own or filled with meat and vegetables, then its called "Zbojnica pochutka" and many others :-)
In Slovakia is it very impolite to say Cheers to somebody and not look in his eyes. I noticed it is not so common in other countries, so of course you would be excused as a tourist....but here it is common to look in each others eyes while saying Cheers. (And we say Cheers a lot during wild nights out...) and just to let you know Cheers in Slovak is : Na zdravie !(On your health). So have some good slovak beer or wine and Na zdravie!!:)
In Slovak, "Zlaty Bazant" means the Golden Pheasant, but more importantly it means beer. In fact, you'll find it everywhere you go in Bratislava, so give it a try.
It's actually made by mega-beer company, Heineken and in my opinion, it is very drinkable. Fairly smooth and mild with a pleasant smell. They go down very easy, so keep track on the empties!
Slilovica is one of the most traditional / typical, Slovak Alcoholic Beverage. It is a very strong alcoholic beverage and tastes like strong vodka, yet it is a sort of a plum brandy/vodka. It is served in shot glasses and it is very good for the cold.
I found Slovak food different and interesting yet not one of my favourite, this referring to the very traditional dishes. Most of the food is fried and contains flour or consist of dumplings (which does not happen to be my favourite) otherwise who like this kind of cooking will surely like the Slovak food.
A traditional Slovak dish is the "Bryndzove Halusky" which is patatoe and flour dumplings toped with crumbled cheese and fried bacon bits.
If in Slovakia you must taste their non alcoholic wine - Vinea. It has a very good taste, similar to that of a sparkling white wine. You can drink it alone as an alcoholic beverage or accompanied by meals. Needless to say it has all of the benefits of non alcoholic beverages and yet a good taste too.
Wow, that's a lot of alcohol for a beer! You'll find beers with 10%/12% and if the bartender sees your surprised face, he will probably show you a beer with a higher percentage.
But watch it.. this has nothing to do with alcohol. That's probably just between the 4 and 5%. No, the heritage of forming a country with the Czech Republic left them knowledge of Beer. Just the like the Czech, Slovaks indicate the PERCENTAGE OF SUGAR in their beer. And yes, those come in different varieties.
In the Old Town, you'll see cafes on all the main streets, so when the weather is nice, be sure to take a break and grab a seat at one. Have a drink or something to eat and enjoy some people-watching.
For those of you keen to try some of the local spirits and beers you will not be disappointed! There's a fair selection which is more than affordable. Usual warnings apply but may I add these two:
1) Different spirits have different ingredients, some which the hardest drinker may not be used to, so beware of how much you drink! In the east, they drink spirits like westerners drink water!
2) Don't mix the hard spirits - they will get your severly drunk in a short period of time!!
Main spirits include Borovicka, Slivovka and Becharovkca
Beers include Zlaty Bazant, Kelt, Pilsner - you will see many more! Don't be alarmed by the 10%/12% on the label of bottles. It is not the alcoholic volume - it has something to do with the spices used in making it. Read the small print on the back for the real volume.
It is also worth trying thr Frankovca wine
If you like sweets, do not miss the chance to try this sweet chestnut dessert with whipped cream on top! Make sure they do not use artificial cream, but the proper one made of cream milk.
This photo is made by my friend Mole. My own photos were not that magnificient (see the Vanila album)
When in Bratislava do as the Bratislavians do and drink, drink, drink.
What a place for beer. Cheap. Flavorful. And strong!
At the first cafe the waiter said we had a choice between 10% beer or 12% beer. It was just before noon, so we said 10%. He clucked and indicated we had made the wrong choice. He said, "Maybe the 12% tastes a little better. Maybe you will like it more." Ok, ok. Twist my arm. We took the recommendation and had the 12% beer.
Found out when we had lunch that the beers that come in the bottles are weaker--like 6%. In the U.S. it is mostly the opposite. The strong beers come in bottles and the beers on tap are usually light weight stuff.
We learned our lesson and strictly drank from the tap from that point forward.
The Great Franciscans is the tavern where you can refresh your mind and soul by great wine or beer :) I always must think of the monk who accompanied Robin Hood because the reputation of monks here in Slovakia is always connected to some fave beverage. There is a beer called "Thirsty monk" and in Bratislava you can find two taverns called Mali frantiskani and Velki frantiskani. Not to speak about others ... Velki frantiskani tavern even attracts you by its own monk who is inviting tourists and natives for some drink via this window and if you will pay no attention he will scream on you and make you shame in the street >:)))
Burciak is kind of young wine. It's avaiable during September and October.
Although it looks quite disgusting many people like it much and drink it with such a big pleasure.
Usually it's possible to buy it during hody and other events of this kind.
It's usually being sold in plastic bottles.
The Czechs produce some of the best beer in the world. Slovaks know that Czech beer is good. It is therefore no surprise that Staropramen, Pilsner Urquel, Krusovice and Gambrinus are widely available in Slovak pubs. But Slovaks take their locally brewed favourites seriously. Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant) is the standard native brew, and Corgon, Topvar and Smadny Mnich (Thirsty Monk) are quality beers that are often sold for less. Kelt, also produced in Slovakia, is a slightly more refind brew and is a step up in price. Proximity to Hungary has fostered a healthy wine culture in Bratislava as well, as many quality vintages are available both in restaurants and at the local supermarket.