Many people with Slovenian heritage—and, ideally, a Slovenian grandma with an affinity for baking—grew up eating slices of potica (pronounced poh-TEET-sah). This traditional cake is made from yeast-raised sweet dough, rolled thin and spread with fillings. But while many may be familiar with one version of the cake, it’s a versatile shapeshifter that takes on various forms and fillings depending on regional or familial recipes. While it’s rare to find many of these different styles in one place, you can find a dizzying array of potica at a small bakery on northwestern Slovenia’s Bled Island.
Located in the middle of a glacial lake, the island is accessible only by small rowboats, known as pletnas, that are propelled by a single, standing ferryman. Many visitors make the trek to the island to see its church and its castle, but its bakery, Potičnica, churns out more than 50 flavors of the classic Slovenian cake.
Island bakers combine a wide array of sweet and savory ingredients in their potica, including pumpkin with apricot, tarragon with raisin, or smoked bacon with herb. The bakery’s “lavish potica” features a sweet-and-salty combination of walnuts, cottage cheese, and chocolate. The establishment also covers the basics—think ground walnut (the most common filling in Slovenia, which gives potica the English nickname “nut roll”), poppy seed, or ham.
For those looking to sip something along with their potica, Slovenians typically pair sweet versions with coffee or wine, and savory versions with a cold beer.
Know Before You Go
Those looking to learn how to make their own potica can arrange for a baking lesson on the island. Call or email ahead of time: +386 4 576 79 79, firstname.lastname@example.org.