It’s between September and November when the main cabbage harvest takes place in Slovakia. Although we grow spring and midsummer varieties that are harvested earlier in the year, autumn is the prime season for collecting firm storage cultivars and those that go in sauerkraut. It is also the best time to visit Slovakia if you want to try all the cabbage specialities our cuisine has to offer.
The largest and most famous cabbage festival is held at the beginning of October in Stupava – a small town just a stone’s throw from Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital. If you prefer less crowded, low profile events, there are smaller cabbage feasts further north or the east of the country. The dates will vary from region to region, but you will always get the best of local cuisine, history and culture.
Looking for sweet or savoury cabbage dishes?
If you have a sweet tooth, you might like fliačky s kapustou a škoricou (Pasta Flakes with Cabbage and Cinnamon) or kapustová štrúdľa (Cabbage Strudel).
If you prefer to go the savoury way, the choice is much larger. The most popular dish in this category is kapustnica (sauerkraut soup). It has many variations ranging from a thick soup with smoked pork or sausages to a meatless version with wild mushrooms and cream to a thin stock with sauerkraut juice, mushrooms and pearl barley.
Koložvárska kapusta (Kolozhvarska Cabbage) is a Hungarian-style dish where sauerkraut is layered with ground pork, sausages, rice and sour cream. Paprika gives the dish that typical Hungarian touch.
Another Slovak favourite is kapustový posúch (Sauerkraut Flat Cake) made from yeasted dough filled with sauerkraut and fried bacon pieces, often scattered with caraway over the top. Kapustové placky (Fried Sauerkraut and Potato Patties) are always made on the spot and served straight away, because this is how they taste best.
Grated raw cabbage, either white or red, is wonderful in salads. A local women’s club Živena from Žilina in the north of Slovakia offers a selection of crispy cabbage salads at their annual cabbage festival.
Whatever feast or food event you go to in Slovakia, it will never be without music, singing and dancing. This was the case at the cabbage festival in Žilina, where they showcased the city’s award-winning majorette ensemble this year.
Cabbage is an inexpensive and very versatile vegetable. It is high in fibre, packed full with vitamins C and K, and a good source of other nutrients, like potassium, calcium and folate. Apart from its culinary use, our ancestors valued the medicinal qualities of cabbage, although they didn’t have the scientific data we rely on today. No wonder cabbage has been a Slovak staple for centuries.