Zelen and the science of green

Zelen tasting descriptors

rare, ancient and indigenous Slovenian variety well worth seeking out.

The word zelen in Slovenian means ‘green’. Zelenjava means ‘vegetable’, zelena solata means ‘lettuce’ and zelena means ‘celery’. This might, just possibly, be a little clue to the character of this rare, ancient and indigenous variety which grows nowhere else but in the tiny Vipava Valley (Vipavska Dolina) of the Primorska region of south-western Slovenia.

The Vipava river, running through the town of Vipava
The Vipava River, running through the town of Vipava – note the flysch rock cliffs that the river has carved through

The Vipavska Dolina, named after the river that threads through it, is a little further south than its much more famous neighbour, Goriška Brda. Its nose is pressed up against the Italian border and...