Friday, October 10, 2014

What We Learned on the Great Espresso/Gelato Quest

Before we came to Ljubljana the girls were pretty nervous and apprehensive, so promises were made.  these promises included daily doses of amazingly delicious European gelato.  So the minute we got here we set out to find the best gelato in town.

In a similar vein, I promised myself a daily dose of delicious espresso drinks.  Slovenia borders on Italy and Ljubljana is a foodie town, so I was looking forward to mouthwatering lattes every morning, noon, and night.

Then a funny thing happened as we searched.  We found that both the gelato and the espresso are very, very good here.  Weirdly, uniformly good in fact.  To the point where if you ask people where is the best place to get gelato or espresso they sort of waffle and say "it's pretty good wherever you go," and then if pressed they'll reluctantly choose a place.  I even went so far as to have my new Comparative Law students email me their suggestions, and we've tried every place they suggested for gelato and most of the coffee places.

Here's just one of the places I tried for espresso, a stand I call "cute hat, weak latte:"
But a funny thing happened along the way.  One of the better gelato places (Zvezda) was connected to a bakery.  I walked in and WOWSA was it a beautiful bakery.  I asked if they had anything gluten free.  And oh my did they.  A whole rack of top notch macaron, as good as any I've had in NY or London (but not Paris obviously):
Plus a whole case full of gf cakes:
And they were all ELECTRIC.  

So our new obsession is Slovenian cakes.  Our first love is Zvezda, of course, but we also found a neighborhood place around the corner from us called Mihalek, which is this lovely family bakery/one woman show where the owner is the baker is the friendly woman at the counter.  If anything the cakes are better than Zvezda, and again, because of the Slovenian tradition of baking with nut flours, she bakes a half dozen jaw-droppingly delicious cakes, all of which are naturally gluten free:

The lesson, as always, is to enjoy what you find when you travel, rather than seeking only what you think you want.

1 comment:

  1. Mary-Claire BartonOctober 12, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    So good, Ben. I have always loved the paradigm of those who search for the Holy Grail or anything else they have believed they wanted, only to find something very unexpected and more meaningful instead. So I say (on a less exulted plain): Eat cake....a neighborhood family bakery that produces wonderful GF cakes is something you all will dream about when back in Knoxville. Lv mom