Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter eggs and other traditions in Slovenia

Every year my step dad, Mr. C and I decorate the Easter eggs. The brownish red ones are somewhat of a national speciality. They are boiled in red onion peelings that give the eggs their distinct colour. This tradition developed around/after the WWII out of necessity and human ingenuity. After the war the country was pushed into severe economic depression and poverty. With no die available people resorted to this method of egg colouring.

Our Easter breakfast table. This is however not the traditional breakfast, we have made some changes after I became a vegetarian.

This is what a traditional breakfast consists of: potica, Easter eggs, ham and horseradish. In some parts of Slovenia horseradish is simply grated and served as a side dish. But in Štajerska, where my mum is from the horseradish is grated along with apples and eggs and served as a salad.

This is potica. It's hard to describe the significance of potica for the Slovene nation. Made with sweet bread dough and walnut filling it's much more than dessert. This national delicacy is present at all the significant milestones: birthday, christening, wedding, funeral and all the major holidays.

And here are a few examples of traditional Slovene Easter eggs:

This are made in a batik style, wax is applied to the raw eggs that are then consequently died in red and blue colours to achieve the multicoloured effect.

These eggs are first died in onion peelings and the motifs are then scratched onto the surface with a sharp knife.

My favourites are however these spectacular masterpieces from Franc Grom. Mr. Grom drills little holles (up to 18.000!) creating various lace like designs and patterns. Some of these eggs are then turned into a little lamp.

And finally, a technique I only found out about it last weekend. Raw eggs are cooked in teran for 15 minutes and left to soak in it overnight. The result is a wonderfully rich dark plum colour and little crystalline deposits that sparkle.


  1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing your holiday traditions. My late step-mother was Polish, and used to make Ukraine Easter eggs similar to your batik ones.

    Now I'm off to click on that link and find out what teran is.

  2. All those eggs are gorgeous! And I want some of that bread - I'm going to have to look for a recipe. I'm a good cook, but I've never made bread before - I hope it's not ridiculously difficult.

  3. Thanks, I never knew the history of the union peelings. We too color our eggs in the same way.
    Oh my, the kitten in the last picture- so adorable!
    The lacy ones, I have never seen anything similar.The color of the eggs in the last picture, just great.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Deja: I hope by now you've discovered teran to be a wine sort indigenous to Slovenia. I do apologize for not mentioning this in the post.

    Heidi: there are recipes for potica online, however Slovene women approach this topic with ridiculous suspicion and mistrust and guard their family's recipes as if they were The Crown jewels ;-)

    Mette: You use onion peelings as well? As I said, I haven't done a thorough research, but I was told this technique is related to the the former Eastern block countries.

  5. Wow, the drilled eggs are just stunning! Must take worlds of patience to do that. Not to mention skill.

  6. Sally: It really is a testament to human perseverance. It takes several months to make just one egg and imagine how many times an egg will break midway!