Say the word ‘Trojane‘ to pretty much anyone in Slovenia, no matter where they live, and they are likely to know instantly what you are talking about – doughnuts!
The reason being is that the village of Trojane has become a Slovene institution thanks to Gostilna Trojane, which comprises a restaurant, café, cake shop and gift shop and it is most famous for its Trojane doughnuts.
Here’s a very potted history. Before the motorway was built, all traffic travelling from Ljubljana towards the northeast of Slovenia i.e. Celje, Maribor, Ptuj, and onwards towards Austria and Hungary, used to travel through the centre of Trojane and it also marks the halfway point on the trade route between Trieste and Vienna where, 150 years ago, the then tavern provided a stopover for weary travellers to rest, sleep and eat. Nowadays, the motorway skirts the village, which must have been a boon for residents, though at the time Gostilna Trojane had serious concerns about the effect it would have on their business. They certainly needn’t have, as in fact business even increased!
In the 1930s a younger generation took over the restaurants and later, having seen the rising popularity of doughnuts in Vienna, had the idea of making them in Slovenia. Thus, in 1960, Trojane doughnuts were created and the rest, as they say, is history! Initially the doughnuts were served, free of charge, just to chauffeurs, bus drivers etc. as a dessert after their meal. But word soon spread and before long people were flocking to try them.
They are definitely at their best when still warm! The classic doughnut is filled with apricot jam, though other variations are available.
These days, for most people its almost impossible, indeed unthinkable, to drive past Trojane without stopping for a doughnut, cake, or a hearty meal from the very extensive menu and although it’s not exactly on my doorstep, if I’m in that direction I also always make a beeline there – well with the world’s worse sweet tooth I would!
On a recent visit I sat down with Urška Strnad, Head of Service, to find out more about the company and get some facts and figures, which left me even more impressed by this place. Despite its astonishing success, the privately run company certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. They have recently renovated a previous unused part of the building and can now cater for up to 850 guests in total, as well as having installed solar panels to add to their dedication to being environmentally-friendly. The majority of the 150+ staff live within a 15km radius, and car-sharing is encouraged. Additionally, everything is made on-site and only Slovene ingredients are used in all the bakery products.
Trojane doughnuts are significantly larger than the average doughnut, each one weighing 180-200g. I was astonished to discover that every doughnut is actually made by-hand and when you consider that they make, on average, between 10-15,000 per day – yes, per day – that’s no mean feat!
As you might expect, I’ve tried everything ‘sweet’ on offer and, in addition to the doughnuts, my personal favourites are the chestnut roulade and the gibanica – one piece of which is enough to feed a small army! I was even allowed to have a go at cutting and decorating a roulade, though, I think I’d better stick to eating them rather than icing them!
Trojane isn’t just about food though, just take a look at the views.
It’s also worth taking the time to explore the area surrounding the village and perhaps, as I did, work up an appetite for the inevitable indulgence to follow, by taking a walk on one of the surrounding hills or the forests of the picturesque Zasavje valley.
In the immediate vicinity of Gostilna Trojane, you can walk from Zavrh up to the viewing tower ‘Stolp na Rebri’ – also later written as ‘Stolp na Rebru’ – hmm, the wonders of the Slovene language!
The path starts 200 metres or so from the restaurant complex at the sign for ‘Zavrh‘. You can park here or continue a little further up and park where the tarmac road ends and continue on foot up the gravel track. You first reach a shine to St. Ozbolt.
The path then leads a little more steeply up through the forest taking approximately 45 minutes to climb to 878m where a wooden viewing tower is located.
It’s worth climbing up to the top for views like this and in the knowledge delicious food awaits down there in the valley!
Other popular destinations for a walk in the area is to Spilk, or to the Čemšeniška planina highland and the mountain hut Koča na Čemšeniški planini. These two are also now on my list of places to go – well, any excuse to visit Trojane!
Gostilna Trojane –