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<b>GASTRONOMY – PRLEKIJA DISHES: AJDOV KRAPEC, TÜNKA, PRLEŠKA GIBANICA</b><p>The Prlekija district of northeastern Slovenia boasts exquisite culinary delicacies. Three of them are featured on this year's Gastronomy stamps. <p> Ajdov krapec is a delicious round cake made from stretched buckwheat dough spread with cottage cheese and cream. The cake is baked either by being placed directly into the oven (this is the case when it is baked in traditional farm stoves once used for warming the house and/or baking bread) or by being first placed in a mould, which is then put in the oven. It is best eaten when warm. In Prlekija, the cake is served on various occasions, i.e. to welcome guests, at excellent Prlekija wine tastings, etc. <p> Tünka or kibla is a wooden barrel made of oak in which pork meat and meat products are preserved in minced lard called zaseka or zábela. The initial dry-salting of meat is followed by brine-salting for 10-14 days, during which the restacking of meat is repeated every day. The meat is then slightly smoked for a few days, wiped and roasted. Pieces of roasted meat are placed into the wooden barrel in a special order alternating layers of meat and molten fat until all the meat is used and all the empty spaces between the pieces are filled. The top layer consists of pure lard. Sausages and salami can also be preserved in this way. To maximise the storage life, the barrel must be carefully resealed each time some meat is removed from the tünka.<p>Prleška gibanica is one of Slovenia's typical festive dishes. The cake belongs to the group of Slovene sweet round cakes (pogače). It is made from layers of stretched dough inter-mixed with layers of cottage cheese, cream and egg filling, to which today raisins are sometimes added. The cake is baked either by being placed directly into the oven or by using circular earthenware moulds. It is best when warm.
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