Festival-Full Radovljica: Come and Celebrate the Earth!

Whilst the Chocolate Festival is by far the biggest annual event in Radovljica – as well as being the biggest festival of its kind in Slovenia – it certainly isn’t the only festival in Radovljica’s annual event calendar. There are plenty more festivals, as well as other events, to look forward to throughout the course of the year, and it’s less than 2 weeks until the next one!

The Festival of the Strength of the Earth will make its premiere on Saturday 27th May. In previous years it was named the Ceramics Festival, however, this year the festival’s content has been widened to include and celebrate other gifts from the earth; clay, herbs, seeds.

The main festival will take place in Linhart Square in the heart of Radovljica’s historic old town, where there will be market stalls laden with seeds, herbs, teas, ceramic products and natural cosmetics.

Some events will also take place in the biodynamic garden ‘Nature Teaches Us’ at the Radovljica primary school (Osnovna sola A. T. Linharta – next to the Spar supermarket).

Throughout the day there will also be workshops for adults and children, good music, and hearty ‘one-pot’ food, based on the festival theme.

You can get the latest information on the festival Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/events/1674599819503638/

Historically, pottery has always been one of the oldest and most widespread crafts in Slovenia; the earliest records of the craft date back to 1340. The village of Ljubno – part of the Municipality of Radovljica – used to be one of the strongholds of pottery in the Gorenjska region. Althought the pottery trade in Ljubno died out after World War I, you can still find examples of Ljubno potteryware and find out more at a soon-to-be-opened exhibition at Magušar’s House (Magušarjeva hiša) in Radovljica titled ‘Pottery in Slovenia’.

The house has an arcaded gothic courtyard and pottery workshop, where you can buy Magušar bowls and other pottery items, and hosts occasional exhibitions, workshops and other events.

But wait, that’s certainly not the end of Festival-Full Radovljica! This year there’s still the Festival of Early Music, the Iron Forging Festival, the Midsummer’s Eve Festival, and more!

Find more information at the Visit Radol’ca website here – http://www.radolca.si/en/events/

© Adele in Slovenia

The Radovljica Chocolate Festival 2017 – Hot Off the (Chocolate) Press!

So, it’s that time again. Chocolate Time! It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 6th year-in-a-row of the Radovljica Chocolate Festival and, of course, I’ve been to every one!

Last year the festival attracted around 55,000 visitors, and this year those numbers could even be exceeded, which is quite astounding for a festival which began as a humble one-day event back in 2012 and has since grown to become one of Slovenia’s main foodie events.

This year the festival is on for 3 days, beginning today on Friday 21st April at 3pm, and continuing on Saturday from 9am to 8pm and on Sunday from 9am to 7pm, so there’s still plenty of time!

In addition to the regular sales and tastings of chocolate, this year there are some new highlights and treats to look forward to.

This evening there is a premiere 6-course dinner at Vila Podvin, prepared by 3 of Slovenia’s top chefs and in collaboration with 20chocolate.

In the Chocolate Beauty Marquee the Roz’ca massage salon is offering chocolate hand massages using their own handmade cocoa butter cream using all natural ingredients. I couldn’t stop sniffing my hands, it really does smell good enough to eat! Those who have a hand massage during the festival are also entered into a prize draw to win a full body massage (the non-chocolate version!). More information here http://masaza-rozca.si/ and here https://www.facebook.com/Masaže-Rožca-Simona-Šlegel-sp-278814295512819/?fref=ts

A chocolate roulette, bet with chocolate and win chocolate – that’s got to be worth a flutter!

Chocolate sculptures

Meta Solar painting using chocolate, so original and resourceful and what an eye for detail! https://metasolar.si/tag/radovljica/

New to the festival this year is Čokoladni Hram which produces some unusual flavours of chocolate using speciality Slovenian ingredients, among them zaseka (minced lard), mohant (a very smelly cheese), and tarragon. Go on, be daring and give them a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

As well as new, intriguing flavours of chocolate infused with tea at the Čajna Soba Tea Room. among them chocolate with black masala chai, honeybush caramel tea chocolate, dark chocolate with earl grey green tea…

In addition to chocolate, there’s plenty to see and do for all the family, including archery for children with Robert Levstek https://adeleinslovenia.com/2017/04/10/archery-adventures-and-delicious-draga-delights/

Children’s cookery workshops and dance classes.

Stilt walkers entertaining the crowds.

On Saturday at 2pm students from the Maribor Design School will be putting on a Chocolate Fashion Show, and on Sunday at 12 noon Gorenjka’s giant 95kg chocolate bar will be smashed and shared among the crowd.

Other highlights of the packed entertainment programme include culinary workshops with contestants on this year’s Slovenian Masterchefjugglers, magicians and other street entertainment, free concerts, a canine corner, chocolates and chocolate products for everyone, including for allergy suffers, organic chocolate, raw chocolate, chocolate scooter races – all this and much more! See the full programme herehttp://www.festival-cokolade.si/program-2017/

Congratulations to Tourism Radol’ca for another fantastic job organising the festival. The weather, for now at least, couldn’t be more perfect for such an event so, don’t miss out, there’s enough chocolate for everyone – even after I’ve had my fill!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

A Choctastic Weekend in Radovljica!

Well, it’s been quite an eventful week all in all! After one of the longest, snowiest winters ever, this week saw temperatures up to 25 degrees and Thursday was the warmest day for over 7 months and although it’s cooled down a bit now and is raining, the fine weather looks set to return later this week. It’s so great to be able to be outdoors more and to be dressed in light clothing again, no more being buried under layers and layers of thick clothing!

I changed the tyres on my car this week, well not me obviously, but I took them to be changed – not every exciting but necessary. In this part of Slovenia, by law you have to have winter tyres between 15th November and 15th March. However, with the long winter this year most people, me included, waited longer than usual to be sure that we have really seen the end of the snow (surely we have now!) before changing to summer tyres. It can be a bit of a faff having to change the tyres twice a year, not to mention the cost, because also it means having to have 2 set of tyres and these have to be changed every 5 years, regardless of the profile or how much you drive. Even if you had your car in the garage for 5 years, you would have to buy new tyres. Still, it’s all just a part of life here!

Last week Radio Slovenia International visited Radovljica to do a live broadcast and I was interviewed. I was asked to give an insight into life here as a foreigner, what is great about Radovljica and the differences between life here and in the UK.

The long awaited and much anticipated 2nd Festival of Chocolate took place this weekend in Radovljica. It was of course my duty to attend and taste as much chocolate as possible in order to be able to blog my findings! After last year’s unexpectedly high turnout, this year the event was even bigger and better and also spanned across 2 days. It took place in Linhart Square (Linhartov trg) in the old town centre and in the Radovlijca Mansion House (graščina).

festival_cokolade_1

 

 

Radovljica Festival Cokolade 20 april 2013 007

There was every kind of chocolate product you can imagine – from the more tradition to some highly unusual and unique flavour combinations such as dried figs with basil coated in chocolate, chocolate with pumpkin seeds, chocolate with aniseed and quince chocolate cake. In order to sample the products, tasting coupons are bought, which cost 0.50 cents each then it’s a case of wandering from stall to stall deciding which of all the delicious things on offer to taste – decisions, decisions, and as you can see from the pictures below, I managed to amass quite an impressive collection!

Radovljica Festival Cokolade 20 april 2013 009

It would be impossible to pick a favourite, since I generally love anything and everything chocolate related, although I have to confess I’m not a fan of bitter dark chocolate, but other than that I love it all! Among my favourites was the Preseren’s Cylinder dessert, the speciality of the team at the Lambergh Chateau and Hotel in Dvorska vas. It consists of a chocolate waffle, Parisian cream, dried figs marinated in cognac and chocolate syrup. They had prepared miniature versions especially for the event but I hope to go and taste the full size version some time soon! The students from the Radovljica School of Catering and Tourism (SGTŠ Radovljica) also prepared some delicious cakes and biscuits and the chocolate cocktails from the Lake House Inn (Jezerska hiša) also went down rather well!

In addition to the stalls, there were also loads of side events taking place including cooking shows, workshops for adults and children, street performers, a chocolate themed fashion show, a cocktail mixing show and a theatre improvisation performance. After the success of this event, it’s sure to become a regular fixture on the Radovljica Event Calendar – http://www.radolca.si/en/ and I would definitely recommend a visit whether you are a chocolate lover like me, or for any chocolatiers, from both Slovenia and abroad, who wish to showcase their products to a large audience.

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The next day for the diary is the Radovljica Pottery Festival, the main events of which will be taking place on the 24th/25th May. More information can be found here http://potteryfestivalradovljica.weebly.com/

After all that indulgence, it’s time to get running/cycling/hiking again. It is now possible to get up to around the 1000 metres mark before encountering snow, although in shady areas there is still snow lower than this. However, above this the snow is still deeper than I am tall and unfortunately it still not safe to go hiking high in the mountains right now.

An illustration of this is the report I heard on the news this week about how workers are working 10 hours a day to try and clear the snow from the Vršič pass. At 1611m, Vršič is Slovenia’s highest mountain pass. It crosses the Julian Alps and is usually closed over the winter due to the snowfall and high susceptibility to avalanches. This year, with the extreme amount of snowfall, it is taking longer than usual to clear it and in some places, due to avalanches, there is up to 8 metres of snow – unbelievable but true! Although it provides a vital link between Gorenjska and the Soča Valley, the Vršič pass is in itself a tourist attraction and one about which I shall definitely be writing more in the weeks to come.

© Adele in Slovenia

It’s Spring and Radovljica is Alive!

Winter seems to have finally lost its vice like grip and spring has courageously battled through and taken over – yippee! Walking around Radovljica this week has been a pleasure – seeing people sitting outside cafes for their morning coffee, children (and some adults too!) eating ice-cream, people playing various sports in the sports park and generally people emerging from the long winter spent cooped up indoors – much like bears awaking from their winter hibernation – and enjoying feeling the warmth of the sun. Never have I been so pleased to see that large, round, yellow, warming object in the sky on Tuesday – it’s got some making up to do so let’s hope it’s here to stay. I also hope it will get to work on melting some of the metres and metres of snow in the mountains so I can get up high hiking again asap.

Although I’m not entirely adverse to winter walking in the fresh snow during the winter ‘proper’, by this time of year the novelty of walking in the snow has long since worn off am I’m longing to be able to start walking to some of the higher lying areas. However, in the meantime, its time to get resourceful and find places to walk which are a little lower and south facing, where the snow has already begun to melt. I co-wrote a guidebook about Slovenia some time back and from the time when I was researching it and gathering information, I have a folder full of brochures and leaflets which, at times like these come in very handy. So a rummage through the folder led me to deciding on walking the Ostroverhar Trail on Saturday, and a good choice it was too!

Podgrad pri Lj 13 april 2013 004

The circular trail starts in the village of Podgrad, near Ljubljana and leads over Kašelj hill (Kašeljski hrib) and past the remains of two medieval castles, both of which were a part of the Osterberg property, home of the Ostrovrhar knights. The Old Castle (Stari grad) is thought to date back to 1256 and first belonged to the Spanheim family. Over the years it has had numerous owners but since 1930, it has been the property of the Kansky family, manufacturers from Podgrad. Another interesting feature of the path is the millstone quarry beneath the castle. Here, since the Middle Ages until production ceased, millstones were cut (like the one I’m sitting on below), with a diameter of about one metres and a thickness of 20 centimetres, and you actually still see where they were cut from the rock. The path is well-marked and it took about 2.5 hours to walk the entire trail.

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Podgrad pri Lj 13 april 2013 012

Sunday was a beautiful, warm, spring day so it was time to dust off my bike and get the cogs turning once again. I haven’t cycled properly since October so it was a tentative start but as they say, you never forget how to ride a bike, and once I got going it felt great. I cycled to the Završnica valley where, at the start of the valley, there is a small reservoir. This is also the start point for many hikes in the surrounding Karavanke Alps – more about which I will be writing as soon as the snow has melted!

Zavrsnica

Preparations are in full swing for next weekend’s Festival of Chocolate in Radovljica – if you are anywhere near the area, don’t miss it, it’s sure to be a delicious weekend! Last year’s event was so popular that this year it has been extended to two days. This year, there will be a new system in place whereby coupons can be purchased which can then be exchanged for tastings of the chocolate goodies on offer at all the stalls. More information about the festival can be found here – http://www.festival-cokolade.si/  As probably the world’s biggest chocoholic, I will definitely be paying a visit!

© Adele in Slovenia