Slovak cuisine varies slightly from region to region across Slovakia. It was influenced by the traditional cuisine of its neighbours and it influenced them as well. The origins of traditional Slovak cuisine can be traced to times when the majority of the population lived self-sufficiently in villages, with very limited food imports and exports and with no modern means of food preservation or processing.
This gave rise to a cuisine heavily dependent on a number of staple foods that could stand the hot summers and cold winters. These included wheat, potatoes, milk and milk products, pork meat, sauerkraut and onion. To a lesser degree beef, poultry, lamb and goat, eggs, a few other local vegetables, fruit and wild mushrooms were traditionally eaten.
All these were usually produced and processed by families themselves with some local trade at the country markets. Wheat was ground, and bread, dumplings and noodles were made from it. Potatoes were mostly boiled or processed into potato dough. Milk was processed into a wide range of products such as butter, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, and various types of cheese etc.
Typical pork products include sausages, smoked bacon, and lard. Spices were not widely used, and animal fats and butter were used instead of cooking oils. Main beverages included fresh and sour milk, and beer. Contemporary Slovak cuisine is widely influenced by various world cuisines and uses many different ingredients, spices and industrially processed foods.
Pork, beef and poultry are the main meats consumed in Slovakia, with pork being the most popular by a substantial margin. Among poultry, chicken is most common, although duck, goose, and turkey are also well established. Game meats, especially boar, rabbit, and venison, are also widely available throughout the year. Lamb and goat are also available, but for the most part are not very popular. The consumption of horse meat is generally frowned upon.
Grilled meat is not common in Slovakia. Instead, meat is either breaded and fried in oil (schnitzel), or cooked and served in sauce. Hungarian influences in Slovak cuisine can be seen in popular stews and goulashes. However, these have been given Slovak touches. Chicken paprikash is typically served with halušky and Hungarian goulash (spicy beef stew) is served with slices of a large bread-like steamed dumpling.
Local sausage types include krvavničky, a blood sausage, and jaternice (traditionally called hurky), a sausage with rice containing any and all parts of a butchered pig.
Traditionally the main meal of the day is lunch, eaten around noon. However, changing work routine has altered this in the recent decades; today, many Slovaks have their main meal in the evening. Lunch in Slovakia usually consists of soup and a main course. It is customary in Slovakia to bring a bottle of wine or other alcohol as a gift if one is invited to visit someone's home.