It’s Time to Taste Radol’ca (again)!

Yes, it’s that time again. Taste Radol’ca Time!

For the 4th consecutive year, for the whole month of November the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants, of which this year there are 13, will be dedicated to serving up tasty dishes, made from locally-produced and sourced ingredients, at the very reasonable price of just 16 euros for a 3-course menu.

This year 2 new restaurants have joined the Taste Radol’ca ‘family’ – Gostilna Tavčar, located in Begunje, and Gostilna Avguštin, situated in the heart of Radovljica’s historic old town centre.

Preparations are now in full swing, the chefs have been putting their heads together, recipe testing is complete and they, or rather we all (including me!), are eagerly awaiting the start!

14517647_652426054924741_6851347398127977143_n

The opening event, which will take place on Friday 28th October, is this year being held at Vila Podvin in Mošnje. The event, which is open to everyone, kicks-off at 5pm in front of Vila Podvin with a local market and a chance to sample some of Radol’ca’s delicacies.

cimg0106

This is followed by a 5-course dinner, beginning at 7pm, for which tickets are now available at 29 euros per person. The menu is being kept under close wraps for the time being, but I have no doubt it will be equally as tempting, if not more so, than last year!

12190827_1025127160871979_5778827778720657330_n

In addition to the opening event and the month-long special menus available at all participating restaurants, there will also be other Taste Radol’ca themed events taking place throughout the whole month, including cheese tasting and tours of Lectar Inn’s Gingerbread Workshop.

There is also a chance to win tickets to attend the Taste Radol’ca Closing Party, this year to be held on 2nd December at 7pm at Gostišče Draga, in the Draga Valley in Begunje, as well as the chance to win a cookery course with one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin.

In order to stand a chance of winning tickets, just start eating and the more you eat the more of a chance you stand of winning! Pick up a stamp-collecting card from the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre (TIC), and each time you enjoy one of the Taste Radol’ca menus during the period from 29th October – 30th November, you get a stamp. Collect a minimum of 5 stamps and submit the card to the Radovjlica TIC by 1st December to be entered into the prize-draw.

14720545_1202989179744296_247529571283659762_n

More information can be found here (in English) – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/taste-radolca-2016/83/394/ and here (in Slovene, with additional information) – http://www.radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/okusi-radolce-2016/83/2053/

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

 

The 5th Radovjlica Chocolate Festival – a New Guinness World Record!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I usually always post new blogs on Mondays. However, in a break with tradition, I’m posting today with BREAKING NEWS – and for two reasons.

First, I can’t contain my excitement that today, at 5pm today, it became official that a new Guinness World Record was set at the 5th Radovljica Chocolate Festival for the World’s Largest Chocolate Bar by Area.

CIMG0851

The chocolate bar was made by the Cukrček chocolatier and measured over 140 square metres, smashing the previous record of 102 square metres. It took over 300 hours to piece together the 28,000 pieces of chocolate.

After his speech, Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Miro Cerar,  became the first person to get a taste of the record-breaking chocolate bar. Visitors to the festival this weekend can try it too, through the purchase of tasting coupons.

The second reason for my early blog posting is that, since the festival has only just begun, there’s still plenty of time for anyone wavering as to whether or not to visit this weekend.

CIMG0836

There’s chocolate of every size, shape, and taste imaginable.

CIMG0842

Over 50,000 people visited last year’s festival; this year looks set to be a whole lot more. That means there are an awful lot of chocolate lovers out there – I’m not alone!

This year you can come and sit on the chocolate throne and be the King (or Queen) of Chocolate too!

CIMG0818

Visit Lectar Inn to see, and taste, the incredibly cute chocolate gingerbread men.

CIMG0822

There is a jam-packed, or should I say chocolate-packed, programme of events and entertainment taking place all weekend. Here are just some of the highlights still to come:

  • Watch the process of chocolate being made at the chocolate factory
  • Try a mini-planica ski jump (sorry, children only!)
  • Join a cookery workshop and make your own cup-cake
  • Listen to concerts, watch dance shows, stilt walkers, puppet shows and circus entertainers
  • Watch some of Slovenia’s top chefs creating chocolate-based dishes
  • Go to Kunstelj Inn’s Garden Party for cocktails, burgers and more

Find the whole festival programme here – http://www.festival-cokolade.si/en/programme/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Let the Train Take the (Chocolate) Strain!

As anyone who has been to any of the previous Chocolate Festivals in Radovljica will know, the event is VERY popular and becoming more so every year. And, if you haven’t yet been, then it’s time to come and see what all the fuss is about!

So, this year, why not visit the Chocolate Festival by train, eliminating the stress of trying to find somewhere to park, and also the ‘chocolate fun‘ will begin from the moment you step onto the train.

A special heritage train will operate on Sunday 17th April, leaving Ljubljana at 10.45, arriving in Radovljica at 12.04. On board the train there will be entertainment, and, of course, chocolate!

muzejski_vlak_press

The return train leaves Radovljica at 15.47, arriving in Ljubljana at 17.11. So, that means more than 3-and-a-half-hours of chocolate indulgence in Radovljica!

Luckily for me I live in Radovljica so I only have a 5 minute walk to be in chocolate heaven, however, I’m quite tempted to take the train, just for the experience!

Poster image 2

There are also a number of additional bargains and offers at the festival for those who arrive by train, including:

  • Chocolate from the Guinness World Record chocolate bar for just 4 coupons – instead of the usual 5
  • Kunstelj cake pops (seen below) for 2 coupons each – instead of the usual 3
  • 10% discount on the purchase of bottled wine at the Sodček wine bar – located at the entrance to the old town centre
  • Free guided tour of the Lectar Gingerbread Workshop
  • Reduced-price entrance to the Museum of Apiculture and the Municipal museum – payment with coupons

CIMG8542

More information about the special train (it seems, currently only in Slovene!) here – http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/sl/potniki/izleti-in-prireditve/z-muzejskim-vlakom-na-festival-cokolade-v-radovljico and about the festival (in English) here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/chocolate-festival/83/309/

Of course, taking the train isn’t just possible during the time of the festival, but all-year round you can visit Radovljica by train. The railway station is located just metres from the historic old town centre and the journey from Ljubljana, which takes just under an hour, offers great views and a relaxing way to travel. More information here (this time also in English!) – http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

 

Spring Restaurant Week 2016

After a relatively dry and mild December and January, the weather seems to have been playing catch-up for the last few weeks and we’ve been experiencing alternating torrential rain and snow. Operators of Slovenia’s ski resorts will be rubbing their hands with glee as an extended ski season looks a dead cert now, since in the past week in some places there has been up to metre of fresh snow. So, if you are considering a late ski trip, consider Slovenia!

Despite the rain and snow, temperatures have been feeling more spring-like (though it was snowing when I woke up this morning!), there are plenty of spring flowers in bloom, the days are getting longer, and Spring Restaurant Week is here, yippee!

zvoncki spring 2016

Spring Restaurant Week 2016 takes place from 11th – 20th March. There are a total of 86 participating restaurants, and out of the 11 in the Gorenjska region3 of these are Taste Radol’ca restaurants. This is all the more impressive since the Restaurant Week team visit each restaurant to ensure it meets its strict criteria for inclusion, meaning only the finest are chosen.

Restaurant Week takes place twice a year – in spring and in autumn – and the concept is to make gourmet food affordable. Diners have an opportunity to try out some of Slovenia’s best restaurants, with 3-course specially prepared menus available for just 16 euros. It is incredibly popular, so bookings are essential. Since the website is only in Slovene I thought I’d give you a sneak preview of what to expect.

Kunstelj Inn, Radovljica – a choice of 2 themed menus. One is ‘All Things Vegetable’. Below you can see the main course – the 4th generation of Kunstelj štruklji.

Kunstelj 2

The other is named ‘From the Mountains and Forests’. The main course is fillet of mouflon with parsnip mash and kohlrabi.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vila Podvin, Mošnje – Uroš Štefelin, one of Slovenia’s top chefs, will be cooking up delights including carpaccio of rainbow trout with a herb and horseradish mayonnaise

Vila podvin sarenka

Lambergh Chateau & Hotel, Dvorska vas – there are 2 menus, meat-based or fish-based. Note – *this photo is from the 2015 Restaurant Week as photos of the 2016 culinary delights at Lambergh have yet to be released.

lambergh-Luflee-cokolada-mousse-cokolade-dimljen-jogurt-slani-karamel-TR

Now, I just have the tough choice of deciding where to go and how many of the restaurants I can fit into one week!

More information here (in Slovene only) – http://tedenrestavracij.si/restaurant-category/gorenjska/

You can also read more about Restaurant Week here, in English, though it is only about Ljubljana-based restaurants – http://www.inyourpocket.com/ljubljana/Restaurant-Week_73983f

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

New Year in Radovljica / The Dornk Excursion Farm

This year I chose to spend New Year’s Eve (very) close to home at Kunstelj Inn in Radovljica, which is just walking (stumbling!) distance away! The family run Kunstelj Inn has a long tradition and is popular with both locals and visitors to Radovljica and is one of the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants.

The New Year’s Eve menu consisted of a buffet of cold starters including these tasty cheese bite-pops, followed by a hot starter of pureed spinach and potato with egg.

CIMG0345          CIMG0348

The main course included probably one of the tasty pieces of duck I’ve ever eaten. It literally fell of the bone and I have no idea how they got it that succulent. The only time I ever tried cooking duck I ended up smoking out the whole kitchen!

CIMG0349

And the best bit, of course, the dessert buffet and home-made walnut potica. I was too stuffed to try it all – not like me I know – but took some potica home to try the next day, all in the name of research of course!!!

CIMG0350 CIMG0351

Meanwhile, in Radovljica’s old town crowds gathered to see in the New Year with live music from the Avsenik House Ensemble from Begunje na Gorenjskem.

Last week I visited the Dornk Excursion Farm (Izletniška kmetija Dornk) in Mlino to see the nativity scene exhibition and museum collection. Wow, this place is a goldmine, crammed to the rafters with every kind of collectable imaginable, and more! The nativity scene exhibition, housed in the stable (note – it’s not heated so wrap up well!), contains over 100 nativity scenes of various sizes and made from various materials. I was also shown around the over 240-year-old house, run by three generations of the family, which still retains its original features including a black kitchen.

CIMG0333

The nativity exhibition is open for viewings daily from 12noon – 6pm until 6th January, then every weekend until the end of January, so there’s still plenty of time. The museum collection is also available to view year-round, by prior arrangement for groups.

CIMG0318

CIMG0320

The other barn contains an extensive ethnological museum collection which also includes an amazing collection of handmade needleworkembroidery and crocheting – made by the family’s grandmother.

Dornk3           Dornk2

The farm has an extensive orchard and the owners prepare all their own juices, spirits, tea etc. which you can sample, as well as delicious homemade food such as potica, strudel etc. in the cosy snug. Find out more about Dornk here – http://dornk-bled.com/?page_id=325&lang=en

According to my annual report from the nice people at WordPress, where I host my blog, the number of readers of this blog in 2015 came from 123 countries around the world and equated to selling out 19 concerts at the Sydney Opera House – isn’t that an interesting fact! Thanks to each and every one of you!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

Yummy Stories of Slovene Food (in the snow!)

Autumn came to an abrupt end on Saturday when, after an entire month with no rainfall, it instead SNOWED! This was accompanied by a marked drop in temperatures; in some places on Saturday morning the temperature was in the mid-high teens, by the afternoon it was just 1 degree; on average around 20cm of snow fell.

Though I’m really not a fan of the white stuff, I have to admit that Radovljica did look quite pretty when I went out for a walk on Sunday morning. Mind you, to me, Radovljica looks lovely come rain or shine (or snow!).

CIMG0244

Walking through the virgin snow in the forest towards Talež early on Sunday morning.

CIMG0242

As is usually the case in Slovenia – other than in times of particularly heavy snowfall – the roads were cleared quickly and efficiently and there was no major disruption to my journey on Saturday from Radovljica to Ljubljana, where I had been invited to be one of two ‘guest speakers’ at Njam Zgodbe 2015 (Yummy Stories) – a foodie/blogging event. The event was a mixture of talks, workshops, networking, and, of course, yummy food.

12239658_10206860440723156_2202071368528508758_n

Though my blog is not a food blog per se, as regular readers will know, I do love food (especially chocolate!) and write about it often, and even more so in the winter when my outdoor activities are somewhat curtailed due to the weather. In the 8+ years I’ve been living in Slovenia, the food scene has come on leaps and bounds, not only due to the vast number of new restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world, but also due the ever-growing importance and recognition of locally sourced and produced ingredients and fresh, seasonal food; this is also reflected in the increasing number of food-related blogs.

FullSizeRender

It was for this reason that I decided to dedicate part of my talk to Taste Radol’ca as, being from Radovljica, it is something close to my heart – not to mention my stomach!

After my presentation the event attendees were able to try some of the goodies from Radol’ca’s restaurants; the famous cake-pops (grizike) from Kunstelj Inn, ‘tepke‘ pears in chocolate from Vila Podvin, and chestnut and pear tarts from Grajska Gostilnica. I think it’s fair to say that they went down well with the attendees, all of whom certainly know their food!

CIMG0228

There’s just one week left to try out the special menus at the Taste Radol’ca restaurants as, on 30 November, it all sadly ends for this year. Well, not quite, as this year, for the first time, there is also a closing party to look forward to. Tickets are now on sale for the party at Joštov hram in Podnart on Friday 4th December; those who collect stamps by visiting at least 4 of the restaurants also have a chance to win free entry. More information here – http://www.radolca.si/en/taste-radolca/

 

New Culinary Experiences & Cycling Tours in Radol’ca

There’s lots happening in the Radol’ca area right now so here’s a round up of the latest news.

NEW: ALL DAY BREAKFAST- Gostilna Kunstelj in Radovljica is now serving an all-day breakfast!

zajtrk 2

The breakfast is not your usual fry-up, but instead the focus is on homemade and/or locally produced food and drink, typical of the area, and includes; cold meats and cheeses, homemade bread with butter and honey from a local beekeeper, apple juice and honey liqueur, eggs baked with home-grown herbs and more.

Weather permitting, breakfast may be taken outside on the terrace with wonderful views of the Julian Alps, the Jelovica plateau, and in the cool beneath the small Wine Square area which is home to a descendant of Slovenia’s oldest vine – located in Maribor – which is over 400 years old and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records – http://maribor-pohorje.si/the-old-vine–the-oldest-vine-in-the-world.aspx

CIMG8783

In addition to the new all-day breakfast, Gostilna Kunstelj have now prepared a special area for private picnic dining for up to 8 people in a shaded area, again with the wonderful views mentioned above. By prior arrangement, buffets, finger food, or traditional Slovene menus can be served. See here for more information – http://www.kunstelj.si/

1        2

NEW: FREE BIKE TOURS – If you are visiting the Radol’ca area this summer, are staying in accommodation within the Municipality of Radovljica, and would like to see more of the area at a leisurely pace by bike, you can avail of new FREE guided bike tours. The guided trips begin from the Šobec Camp, or can also be joined at Lesce Railway Station, and en-route visit Radovljica, Mosnje, Brezje and Begunje. More information is available here – http://www.radolca.si/en/free-guided-cycling-tour/

cycling

NEW: FRESH THURSDAYS IN THE SQUARE – Every Thursday in July there is live entertainment in Linhart Square, the heart of Radovljica’s old town, in the form of street theatre and live music. Last week we were entertained by the Šugla Street Theatre and later the Krško Big Band. This week there’s more from the Šugla Street Theatre to be followed by music from Marko Hatlak & Funtago. Everyone welcome!

glasba na trgu2

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015