British vlogger Vicky Bennison started a special mission years ago, namely to preserve the recipes and manual skills of making pasta with the help of vlogs. All this with the aim of bringing the cuisine closer to the younger generation through the short videos she publishes on her YouTube channel, which she named Pasta Grannies. She started the Pasta Grannies project seven years ago, the main role in her videos is played by elderly ladies (eng. Grannies) from Italy and their home-made pasta. Pasta in Italy is a symbol of Italian cuisine and is the main ingredient of many Italian dishes, there are more than 30 types of pasta in Italy, the first known mention of pasta or the threads that Sicilians cook from wheat were already described by the Arab cartographer Al-Idrizi in the 12th century.
In the Pasta Grannies visits Slovenia episode, many individuals and representatives of tourism organizations of Gorenjska municipalities took part, in addition to our Kranjska Gora team, for example, the Development Agency of Zgornje Gorenjska, where some time ago they filmed how they prepare the typical Rateški krapi in Rateče.
The Kranjska Gora destination has been supporting the collection and documentation of the cuisine of the Zgornjesava Valley ever since the Solum project, the final product of which is a booklet with recipes of local specialties from the Kranjska Gora destination village. This time, too, we were happy to respond and Špelina shramba cuisine blog came to the rescue in finding local grannies who would welcome the film crew and Vicky Benson into the home kitchen and introduce them to the preparation of local specialties. We would like to thank Brigita Ozebek, who generously welcomed the team and present dovški krapi to the world. Pasta Grannies are not only popular in Italy and neighboring countries, but also across the pond, as there are many Italian immigrants there. The Vicky Bennison project has already been covered by all the major media, including the New York Times, the Guardian and the Italian newspaper La Republica. The success is evidenced by the fact that the book became a big hit and that Vicky is already writing another book in which the recipes of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers may also be presented.
Špela Ankele is a journalist for Slovenske novici and Open Kitchen. She told us about the two days she spent on the road with the Pasta Grannies team in the summer of 2021:
Today, these grannies have more than eight hundred thousand followers on Instagram, and almost nine hundred thousand subscribers to the Pasta Grannies YouTube channel. Vicky Bennison travel outside of Italy for the first time with the team last summer. After filming many grannies in Italy who prepared pasta in a thousand and one ways, she also looked across the border to the neighbour country, where grannies have been preparing a wide variety of pasta and dishes from leavened, puff and pulled dough for centuries. One of the stops where the film crew stopped in the company of culinary journalist Špela Ankela, who creates the blog Špelina shramba in her spare time and also invited Bennison and her team to Gorenjska, was the village of Dovje, where they were warmly welcomed by “Granny” Brigita Ozebek.
Brigita is a grandmother who happily prepares a wide variety of dishes for her grandchildren and is one of the few who knows how to prepare Dova carp. In the destination of Kranjska Gora, every village has its own version of this hearty dish. Thus in Rateče they know spruce and koc carp. The first ones are made from potato dough and filled with špres (cottage cheese) and corn filling, the others are filled with dried pears or pear shards. You can try both versions in Rateče guesthouses, namely gostišče Uh and Gostilna Žerjav. In Zgornja Radovna, in the gostilna Pr’ Psnak, krapi are prepared from buckwheat flour, whitened with breadcrumbs, and in the summer they also serve sour milk. In Mojstrana at the gostilna Pr’ Železnk, you can try the Mojstrana version of krapi. Their version of krapi is also known in Podkoren, they are prepared from a mixture of buckwheat and white flour, and for the filling they cook polenta, add cottage cheese and egg. They are whitened with bacon. Meanwhile, in Dovje, krapi are prepared with millet porridge, stuffed with cottage cheese, and for an even better taste, fried onions and plenty of chopped chives are added to the filling. In this village below Triglav, krapi were the most common lunch during harvest or haymaking. Housewives cooked them in their homes and brought them to the meadows, hayfields or fields while they were still warm. Brigita presented the process of preparing Dovški krapi to the Pasta Grannies team, and you can see it in the video below. If you like experimenting in the kitchen, you can read the recipe below and try to prepare it yourself, because you cannot try Dovški krapi in any of the restaurants in Dovje.
After Vicky prepared delicious Dovški krapi, she whitewashed them with béchamel or breadcrumbs, continued with her team to Zasip, a village near the Slovenian tourist pearl of Bled. There, she recorded a video of grandmother and great-grandmother Bojana Pipan while preparing “zmedeni flancati”. The first day of filming ended in Podnart, where mother and daughter prepared traditional slovenian holiday dish orehova potica (nut roll). The next day, they continued their journey towards Kranj, to the village of Javornik nad Kranjem, where in 1992 Fani Kristan was the first in the Kranj municipality to open an open-door farm. Today, the Končovc farm is famous precisely for its štruklji, and these, salty cheeses, were prepared by Mrs. Fani in the central room of the ancient Gorenjska farm, which is decorated with a mighty green wood stove oven. Ana Žerovnik, an eighty-seven-year-old energetic housewife, prepared žganci z ocvirki in her small kitchen, where the team barely placed all the filming equipment, and her unique preparation impressed everyone present. Finally, the team stopped at Preddvor, where they visited the oldest participant in this project, the almost ninety-year-old grandmother Ana Roblek, who prepared homemade dumplings, which she served in beef broth.
“I spoke with Vicky Bennison a while ago when I was writing a text about pasta for Open Kitchen. Since she is my role model and I sincerely appreciate her work, I invited her to Slovenia at the end of the conversation. Vicky contacted me later and said that they would come to Gorenjski. I first got in touch with Ambrož Černet, who at the Development Agency of Zgornja Gorenjska is excellent at managing culinary projects and helped me find my first grandmothers, and then with the help of local tourist organizations, the paths to the other grandmothers in Gorenje quickly opened up. Those two filming days I spent on the road with the Pasta Grannies team were great in two ways – super tiring because we were shooting from morning to night, and most of all super awesome because it was an honor to be able to work the extremely pleasant and superbly coordinated teams of Pasta Grannies watched from the front row.”