Article by Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief
For some time now the congress organisers have been asking us the same question: “Where can I find the best burgers and craft scene in Ljubljana?”
A few years ago a question like that would be mocked as inappropriate in the once elite industry. To serve burgers to our valued congress guests at a food stand was downright outrageous and in most cases against the logic of an average participant and organiser.
Today, the hipster concept of street food has become completely mainstream. We come across it on a daily basis, whether it’s on the local congress scene or on an elite event. The offer has improved to the level of solid catering, where you get quality food for an accessible price. The concept has been influenced by three main events, because of which, your encounters with street food will surely increase also in the future.
Taking a lot of the glory for the flowering of street food is definitely Open Kitchen -“Odprta Kuhna”, which won the Sejalec award for the most innovative Slovenian tourist product in the last 2 years. The once dull and empty Pogačar square has become a popular spot for Friday socializing around great food. The concept is not new, as it has been practiced in most capitals for several years, but for Ljubljana it has been a true revolution. It exceeded all expectations and impressed of many different congress organisers. High quality, creativity and uniqueness are part of the concept created by Lior Kochavy, which suits congress events down to a tee. The diversity of stands will satisfy different tastes and will attract congress participants from different countries.
Putting classical barbeque in the background is the gourmet burger revolution. We can almost label it as an epidemic or a testing ground for showcasing culinary masterpieces. There is a hot dispute between burger lovers and a fierce competition between burger places. For some, a synonym for quality is Hood Burger, others swear to Lars and Sven and Pop’S place and others to Tabay Brothers and the retro hipsters to Hot Horse. Different opinions find no end, but it is always better to follow the voice of the people than slogans in advertisements and photoshopped images. The offer is diverse and in different price ranges with local ingredients, which make it stand out from the typical microwave practices.
The second important turning point is the beer revolution. The local micro brewing scene began to flourish in the last couple of years and has gotten quite a following. Beer lovers tired of the monotony of beer brewed by multinationals have been turning towards boutique beer. The culture of beer drinking has risen to a new level and microbreweries are becoming a trend, which many brewers now follow. Signature self- made beer can be found in many bars, but you can also learn to make it yourself in scope of one of the teambuilding programmes like Pivolog. There is no lack of specialized beer bars and the trend has also become popular amongst congress organisers. You will get to taste the spirit of it at this year’s Conventa.
Slovenia is a culinary melting pot and you definitely won’t go wrong with this new kind of mentality at your next event. If these kinds of culinary experiences are supported by so many individuals there is no fear in going with the hipster flow. A vast choice of styles and flavours is the basis of any successful culinary experience and learning how to combine the three revolutionary concepts will surely impress your participants.
When carrying out culinary experiences of this kind, 5 key elements should be considered:
1. Make sure you have local inspiration and incorporate local providers in the equation
2. Going with a city provider of international cuisine is also a good option and will definitely be appreciated by guests from those countries
3. Interior design must always follow the concept of your event. Industrial design isn’t necessary, but is always well accepted by younger participants.
4. Local origin of ingredients will soon be a must. Authentic food from small providers, who are directly connected to the event are also a formula for success.
5. Participants should always be involved in your story, whether it’s choosing the ingredients, preparing recipes or scoring handcrafted products. There are tons of apps that can help you with that and will make your event a memorable one with memories on social media. I believe that with a little imagination and authenticity your culinary experience will be a certain success and a gift to foodies.