One of the highlights of US president visiting Vatican was the short conversation between Slovenian born Melania Trump and the Pope. “Did you give him potica to eat?” asked Pope Francis Melania about Donald’s significant weight problem. Then Melania, seemingly shocked by Pope’s topic, confirmed “Yes, potica”.
Potiljubca – the festive dessert that Pope loves
Slovenia is only a few hours away from Rome and Vatican. There is a lot of cultural exchange and influence that is beeing transfered from Vatican to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Pope Francis also has a few Slovenian collegues starting with one of the cardinals, Rode. Francis couldn’t forget the first time when he has eaten potice in his life, even before becoming the Pope. Wether it was Christmas or Easter it was a normal Christian habit that Slovenian nuns and representatives in Vatican had to bring potica to Pope.
Potica – Melania’s #2 dessert in the young days
Also Melania has been well acquanted with potica. Being religious or not in her youth times potica was one of the rare desserts children had eaten. When she was growing up in Slovenia, the country was then a part of Yugoslavia. A socialist country that did not engage in Western culinary trends like McDonald’s, sweet chocolate snacks like Mars and others. The children got a cake that their mothers baked for birthday. And potica was their number two dessert. On third place there was icecream.
Potica could not be bought in shops in the old days in Slovenia. It was a family prepared pastry, normally in festive times. Normally grandmothers would be the in charge for their preparation. And every one had her own secret recipy. It is without big doubt to say that Melania remembers her grandmother by how she had eaten her potica.
Many versions of potica
Slovenia is a very small country in the European Union with population of 2 million. Eventhough, the country is divided into small regions that are sometime almost uncomparable between themselves. And so different are also recipies for potica. The pastry itself has a common dough basis, but what differentiates many kinds of potica are the ingredients. There are people that will only eat one kind of potice and they will hate eating another kind of potica in the meanwhile. Also parents are very surprised in Slovenia when they discover their child will not eat the kind of potica they admire, but will love a totally different kind of taste.
The most dominant sorts of poticas in Slovenia are walnut, raisin and tarragon potica. In the modern days new kinds of poticas are being made with chocolate, vanilla and even icecream. But the most obsurce of all poticas is potica with greaves, pieces of fired pork fat that are there instead of raisins. The children in Slovenian cities couldn’t see it, but children from small rural cities and villages like Melania’s home town Sevnica loved it.