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The best Slovenian potica cakes

At the beginning of December, the aroma of true Slovenian potica again wafted through the streets of Šentjernej. A total of 60 potica cakes competed in different categories at the national culinary competition, whose primary purpose is to preserve the tradition of making potica and pass recipes and expertise in baking potica on to younger generations.

The national potica competition, held every two years, is held by the Association of Country Women of Slovenia.

The competition features local baking enthusiasts, who compete against each other with potica cakes made of yeast-leavened dough from bread flour and other kinds of flour and laden with a variety of fillings.

Potica can be sweet or savoury. Every potica cake must weigh at least 1.5 kilograms and must have the traditional shape, i.e. be baked in a round or square potica baking mould and have a smooth surface. It must not be dusted with sugar or any other topping.

The jury's evaluation

Every year potica bakers do their best and produce excellent potica cakes, which are then evaluated by an expert jury of three members. They assess the outward appearance, the colour and aroma of the crust and crumb, the appearance of the crumb, i.e. the balance between the crust, crumb and filling, the texture of the crumb, and the taste of the crumb and crust. Potica cakes that enter the competition are exhibited and served to participants and visitors, and it is also possible to buy them.

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This year, the jury evaluated 60 potica cakes, of which two were savoury and three made from alternative kinds of flour. Many potica cakes were baked in the special round potica baking mould ("potičnik") with a smooth bottom; the participants were very innovative when it came to fillings, and the jury loved the fact that this year potica cakes had traditional Slovenian aromas and flavours.

One potica cake received acknowledgements, 4 received the bronze award, 22 the silver award, 33 the gold award, and seven, which is the largest number to date, received all 38 possible points.

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"The quality of potica cakes is improving every year, as competitors follow the advice and recommendations given by the jury," said the president of the Association of Country Women of Slovenia, Irena Ule, who expressed her gratitude to competitors for maintaining and passing on the potica baking tradition and their attitude to this traditional Slovenian pastry.

Young potica bakers

According to Irena Ule, potica bakers are mostly women, and there are few male competitors; she is pleased to see that young people also bake potica and that the potica tradition and recipes are passed on to younger generations.

The president of the Šentjernej Country Women’s Society, Mihaela Blatnik, is also pleased to see a considerable number of young people participating in the competition, which means that they have been encouraged by their grandmothers and mothers and that the tradition of making potica will continue to be kept alive.

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Slovenians are very proud of potica, a true Slovenian culinary delight. It is a good thing that potica is baked by an increasing number of young people, this being an opportunity for them to learn about tradition, gain new skills and connect with the older generation. The national potica competition is also a great opportunity for all generations to get together and showcase their skills by baking the Slovenian potica.

Author: Danila Golob

Date: 16. December 2019

Time to read: 3 min