News from Radovljica May 2017

There’s been quite a lot happening in Radovljica of late. Well, in itself that’s nothing new, since there’s always something happening here even where there aren’t any major events – you just have to know where to look!

So, here’s a round-up of the latest news and information, including news about three exciting new additions to Radovljica’s range of boutique accommodation.

The 6th Radovljica Chocolate Festival was as roaring success. During the 3 days, over 50,000 people visited the festival and tasted tonnes of chocolate of all shapes, sizes and tastes.

Photo: Miran Kambič

There were so many highlights and novelties that it’s hard to single out one – the chocolate fashion show, the chocolate roulette, chocolate sculptures, entertainment for all the family, oh, and of course, eating (ok, in my case, gorging on) chocolate too! Seeing (and hearing!) the vintage steam train arrive on the Sunday of the festival was certainly among the highlights – both for the passengers and onlookers.

Photo: Miran Kambič

So you can plan ahead and be sure you don’t miss out on next year’s festival, Tourism Radol’ca have already revealed the date for the 7th Radovljica Chocolate Festival: 20 – 22nd April 2018.

The new family-run Linhart Hotel recently opened in the old town centre. This charming boutique hotel and coffee shop is located in the heart of the medieval old town centre. I went to check it out for myself yesterday and was seriously impressed! Original stone staircases, wooden beams, tastefully-decorated rooms, period furniture, not to mention delicious looking cakes in the coffee shop! More information here (note: website currently under construction) – http://www.linharthotel.com/ I’d stay there myself if I didn’t live just 5 minutes away!

A new hostel – Life Hostel Slovenia – opened its doors on 1st May. The hostel is situated in the heart of Radovljica in the Grajski dvor building. It is opposite the bus station and the town park and offers simple, comfortable rooms that are reasonably priced and more akin to a hotel than a hostel. Ideal for those looking for a budget-friendly option in a convenient location. More information here (note: website currently under construction) – http://www.life-hostel-slovenia.com/

The recently renovated and newly-opened Vila Sejalec in Lesce is ideal for families and/or groups of up to 8 people. The house is a unique example of a Gorenjska artistic villa and is available for short- or long-term stays. Among its unique features, Vila Sejalec has a well-stocked larder with products from the ethical shop 18sedem3, as well as period fixtures, fittings and art including works by one of Slovenia’s most renowned painters.

More information about Vila Sejalec can be found here – https://www.facebook.com/pg/VilaSejalec/photos/?ref=page_internal

For details of all the accommodation available in the Radovljica area – boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, apartments, private rooms, tourist farms –  you can view the accommodation catalogue here – http://www.radolca.si/en/accommodation/

© Adele in Slovenia

Taste Radol’ca 2016: The Opening – Too Many Cooks DON’T Spoil the Broth!

Now in its 4th year, Taste Radol’ca keeps going from strength-to-strength and has really enlivened the month of November – a traditionally quiet month in the hospitality industry – in the restaurants in Radovljica and its surroundings.

This year there are 13 restaurants as part of the Taste Radol’ca ‘family’, all of which combined to cook up an incredible feast at the opening dinner held last Friday at Vila Podvin. It turns out that ‘Too many cooks don’t spoil the broth, they actually improve it!’

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The evening began with a local farmers and craft market, with tastings of food provided by the Globočnik Excursion Farm (Izletniška kmetija Globočnik) and Gostilna Avguštin.

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Live music was provided by the band ‘Suho cvetje’, who entertained visitors throughout the evening with their unique style of music.

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At 7pm we were ushered to our seats in the restaurant for the main event, whereby each dish was concocted and cooked by the Taste Radol’ca chefs, teaming up to create the culinary sensations you can see below.

The first course was chilled smoked trout, buckwheat ice-cream served on a blini, and beetroot and horseradish – prepared by Grajska Gostilnica and Tulipan Inn.

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Next came quail soup with a quail’s egg and julienne vegetables, prepared by Draga Inn and the Krek Restaurant.

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The third course was calves liver with onion, polenta, salad and edible flowers – prepared by Lectar Inn and the Lambergh Restaurant.

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To cleanse our palates in preparation for the main course we were then served a ‘juniper berry sorbet’, which wasn’t actually a sorbet at all, but a creamy and clever spin on one, courtesy of Kunstelj Inn.

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Finally, already fairly bursting at the seams, it was time for the main course! Cheek of pork, tarragon struklji and caramelised vegetables – prepared by Vila Podvin and the Avsenik Pri Jožovcu restaurant.

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And, the dessert was certainly worth waiting for! A unique and delicious take on a plum strudel with curd cheese, vanilla cream, served with cinnamon ice-cream – prepared by Joštov Hram and Gostilna Tavčar.

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But that was just the start! Now comes a whole month of eating and trying out the delicious-sounding Taste Radol’ca menus at all 13 restaurants!

Well, actually, I think 13 in one month might even be a bit beyond me, but I’ll give it a try, I’m always up for a challenge, especially where food is involved!!!

The participating restaurants are:

  • Gostilna Kunstelj, Radovljica
  • Gostilna Avguštin, Radovljica
  • Gostilna Lectar, Radovljica
  • Grajska Gostilnica, Radovljica
  • Gostišče Tulipan, Lesce
  • The Krek Hotel and Restaurant, Lesce
  • The Globočnik Excursion Farm, Globoko
  • Joštov Hram, Podnart
  • Draga Inn, Begunje na Gorenjskem
  • Gostilna Tavčar, Begunje na Gorenjskem
  • Gostilna Avsenik – Pri Jožovcu, Begunje na Gorenjskem
  • Lambergh Chateau and Hotel, Dvorska Vas
  • Vila Podvin, Mošnje

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

© Adele in Slovenia

2 Records and a Rant!

Rather an odd title for this week’s blog, you might think. I’ll start with the ‘records’ and get on to the ‘ranting’ later!

The first of the ‘2 records’ refers to this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival where, in addition to a full programme of chocolate tasting and other chocolate-related entertainment, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest ever chocolate bar.

The current world record was set in 2011, with the largest bar weighing a whopping 5,792.50kg (probably equating to about my average annual consumption of the stuff!). It was produced by Thorntons Plc (UK), who just happen to make one of my favourite kinds of chocolate in the world. Any friends or family visiting from the UK are always instructed to bring me some!

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So, it will take some doing to break it – the record I mean, not the chocolate bar! Though, one does wonder how on earth they are going to divide it up into manageable chunks! The full programme for the festival, which takes place from 15 – 17th April, is almost complete, so there’ll be plenty more about it here, and on the festival website, in the coming weeks – http://www.festival-cokolade.si/program/

That’s not all on the subject of record-breaking. The 2nd of the ‘2 records’ refers to the record-breaking weekend at Planica. I wasn’t among the crowd as unfortunately, despite being offered a ticket, a problem with my ears means that I’m unable to withstand loud noise and Planica is a synonym for loud noise with hooters, claxons and the masses of highly enthusiastic fans cheering on their heroes. However, since there was such widespread media coverage over the whole 4 days, it was easy to feel a part of the nation’s pride without actually being there.

The combination of fantastic weather, record-breaking crowds, and world-beating performances by the Slovene ski jumping team ensured a winning weekend was had by all. And boy, do the supporters know how to cheer and wave their flags in earnest when it comes to Planica – all 110,000 of them!

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To crown his sensational season, on Sunday Peter Prevc once again secured victory, to round-off a truly astounding year which saw him amass 15 wins, 22 podiums and a new record of 2303 points to become the overall 2016 FIS ski jumping champion. I think it’s fair to say that there isn’t a single Slovene who isn’t proud of him! In Sunday’s competition, Slovenia’s Robert Kranjec took 2nd place, whilst on Saturday the Slovene team were second in the team competition.

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Now, moving onto the ‘rants’ – well actually just one rant, and not something I would usually use the medium of blogging to do, however, on this occasion I feel the need, so please indulge me, just this once.

Saddened, disgusted, horrified, angry, these, along with resignation, were my feelings on finding out that a McDonalds is to open in Lesce. In recent years Taste Radol’ca restaurants, amongst others, have been striving to place a focus on eating locally-produced food. In schools too, both here and elsewhere, there has been ever increasing attention on what kids eat.

From my perspective, I thought I’d found a little corner of the world to escape mass corporate globalisation, though, in truth, that’s almost impossible these days. Therefore, to find out that this particular burger chain is opening on my doorstep was a huge upset. Of course, it’s not the first one in Slovenia, but until now they have been confined to larger cities, rather than encroaching in this beautiful part of the country.

What is additionally worrying is its location. Right at the Bled exit from the motorway, which is notoriously busy. Every weekend during the summer there are tailbacks of several kilometres, and this will only add to that, not to mention there will no doubt be ghastly advertising hoardings erected here, there, and everywhere – another of my pet hates.

Sadly, it’s inevitable that it will do well, as those passing on the motorway will stop off for a fast food fix. I’m not trying to be a preacher here, since I’m no saint when it comes to food – pizza, chocolate, cakes etc. are a staple part of my diet. I can only hope, forlornly perhaps, that at least some of you, my dear readers, appreciate quality food over fast food and steer clear! After all, within just a few kilometres, or even less, of ‘that burger chain’ there are a wealth of restaurants awaiting you with delicious home-produced Slovene food. And if the need for a burger really grabs you – as sometimes it does, at least choose one such as this Angus beef burger, new on the menu at Draga Inn, looks delicious wouldn’t you agree?

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So, I urge you, please support local food and restaurants, when visiting Slovenia eat Slovenian food, and don’t let the global giants win!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

SO Tasty at Wine Bar and Restaurant Sova, Lesce!

In the almost nine years I’ve been living here I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants; some average, some great and some outstanding. However, I’d go as far as to say that the meal I had last week in the new Sova Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lesce was the best yet and I haven’t stopped raving about it since!

Lesce has an incredible 12 restaurants – or rather 12 eateries – as a couple are more snack bars than restaurants. When I say ‘incredible’ I don’t mean that they are all ‘incredible’ – some are obviously better than others – it’s just incredible that Lesce, which is something between a big village and a small town, has such a wide choice. I can’t help but wonder if they will all survive, as competition is now fierce, however I certainly hope this latest addition is here to stay.

I must confess that I’m not a great gourmet when it comes to the type of cuisine which is culinary art but you, or at least I, am always left wanting more and leave the restaurant hungry. The team at Sova, however, seem to have found the perfect balance between food that both looks and tastes amazing, comes in decent-sized portions and at prices that don’t break the bank.

The restaurant is run by the team who run Fine Food at Penzion Berc in Bled which is closed during the winter thus they sought out somewhere for the team to offer their fine food – and indeed it is fine food – over the winter. In fact, I couldn’t find fault with a single aspect of the meal, which is a rarity!

Perhaps the only negative aspects, though these are not food-related, are that the restaurant doesn’t have its own car park, doesn’t have any outdoor space and is rather small inside, meaning as and when word gets out and the crowds come flocking (and I believe they will!) we will probably be fighting over tables!

I started my meal with creamy truffle soup with prosciutto chips and profiteroles.

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The main course was spicy slow-cooked and grilled pork rib with potato puree and garden vegetables.

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And the dessert – yes, you know that is ALWAYS my favourite bit – was mango tiramisu with white and dark chocolate, homemade ice-cream and lavender crème brulee.

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Since I enjoyed it so much, I went back again two days later! This time I tried the house pizza, which comes topped with aged gauda, basil pesto, baby onions, prsut ham, and more!

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And I somehow found room to try out another pudding too! The chocolate bomb with chocolate mousse and forest fruits, with an added surprise element, which I won’t divulge as it wouldn’t then be a surprise!

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All being well, we will hopefully see Sova joining the Taste Radol’ca collective and you will also find some of their delights at this year’s Radovljica Chocolate Festival in April – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/chocolate-festival/83/309/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

 

 

 

 

Down Mexico Way at Krčma Lesce!

Lesce is situated midway between Radovljica and Bled and is part of the Municipality of Radovljica. It is probably most known for the 5-star Šobec camp http://www.radolca.si/en/accommodation/camps/camping-sobec/212/92/, which is hugely popular during the summer months. Lesce is an important rail junction, as it is the station closest to Bled on the direct line from Ljubljana to Jesenice, and a passing point for trains running on the single track.

Considering its modest size, Lesce has quite a wide selection of cafes and restaurants, however, you probably wouldn’t immediately think of coming here to find (possibly) the best Mexican food in Slovenia!

Lesce is home to the noteworthy Church of Mary of the Assumption – http://www.radolca.si/en/lesce-church/, with its impressive interior and bell tower.

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There is also a sports airfield – which offers panoramic flights over the Julian Alpshttp://www.radolca.si/en/adrenaline-in-the-air/, and it is home to the factory of Slovenia’s largest chocolate producer, Gorenjka. More here – http://www.radolca.si/en/lesce/

It’s fair to say that I’ve eaten at the Krčma Mexico restaurant more than a few times, my most recent visit however, just last week, was for a somewhat different reason. Let me explain!

Regular readers may recall that just a few weeks ago I appeared as one of the guest speakers at the Njam Zgodbe (Yummy Stories) bloggers’ event in Ljubljana. The other guest speaker was Isabel, a Mexican who, due to falling in love and subsequently marrying a Slovene, now lives in Ljubljana, though also returns regularly to her homeland of Mexico. Since moving here, Isabel has also starting writing a blog – The Sunny Side of This – where she publishes posts in Spanish and English, and since she has previously written about where to get great Mexican food in Slovenia, and since I was flattered that in a recent post she described meeting me as meeting ‘her blogging idol’, I invited her to come and visit Lesce and try Krčma so we could do a joint blog. And so here it is!

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We sat down with the restaurant’s owner, chatted about all things ‘Mexican’ and tried a variety of things from the menu, all of which were, as usual, delicious and plentiful. You certainly never leave Krčma hungry, even someone like me with a big appetite!

Anyone for chimichangas?

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Or how about steak in barbeque sauce with spicy rice?

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And as for the desserts, well, where should I start? Pancakes tend to feature heavily on dessert menus at many traditional Slovenian restaurants, however, I usually find them somewhat underwhelming as they are all pancake and no filling. The pancakes at Krčma, however, are far from underfilled and, though not exactly Mexican, are absolutely awesome!

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And since you can never have enough desserts, how about baked pineapple with caramel too!

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Isabel gave the food the thumbs up and since she’s a real Mexican, it must be good! But don’t just take my, or her, word for it, try it for yourself. But do book in advance, its no secret that great food can be found here, and ‘Buen apetito!’ – as they say down Mexico way!

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!

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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

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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/

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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/

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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!

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© AdeleinSlovenia 2015