Black kitchen

Black kitchen

Črna kuhinja, literally “black kitchen” is an old rural type of kitchen with an open furnace. It is called black because smoke has blackened the walls and the ceiling.

The house in Gradež with a house number 2 that still has a black kitchen was build by the family Zevnikar in 1856 (the inscription with that date is still visible on the façade, along with partly preserved ornaments). Mother Justina Andolšek (her father-in-law married into Zevnikar family) cooked all food for the family until the second part of the 1960s, when the family decided to equip a new kitchen with a gas stove. When the black kitchen was still operative, the smoke from the oven rolled to the opening in the kitchen ceiling and out through the brick chimney. Mother Justina still remembers that – when the air pressure was high – she had to flee from the kitchen because it was full of smoke.

In the last 40 years the black kitchen is occasionally used for meat smoking. It is, of course, still possible to cook or bake delicious meals in the oven. There used to be a still for distilling spirits in the kitchen as well, but now only the brick part remained. A house oven (krušna peč) was also fueled from the kitchen and was used for warming the living room. So, in one room three ovens were fueled, and the heat was used for warming and cooking.

You can visit Andolšek’s black kitchen with old appliances. Demonstration of cooking and tasting of dishes must be arranged in advance.