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

Love Swimming, Love Slovenia!

It’s always lovely to hear from, and meet, readers and self-professed ‘fans’ of my blog. In the past 3 years I have received hundreds of emails, comments, messages on Facebook etc., some wanting ideas and advice, others just writing to say ‘thanks’, and have also enjoyed many a wonderful Taste Radol’ca meal together with readers generously wishing to show their appreciation.

It was particularly nice, then, when I recently met a whole group of readers! Patricia, a regular reader of my blog, has shared it with many of her group of fellow Americans, who were staying in Radovljica for a family swimming camp. She told me how helpful my blog had been in planning excursions and activities for the swimming camp and invited me to join the group for their final night’s banquet dinner at Kunstelj Inn – one of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants and just one of the venues where members of the group stayed during their visit.

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Maja and her team at Kunstelj Inn cooked up a delicious meal, using locally-sourced ingredients, and, as ever, the views from the terrace provided the icing on the cake!

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This was the 4th consecutive year that the Piranhas Swimming Club from Stuttgart chose Radovljica as the base for its summer family swimming camp. This year’s group totalled 108, comprised of 40 swimmers, with their families and friends, and, in some cases, 3 generations of the same family.

During their time staying in Radovljica, they certainly packed in a lot of sightseeing and activities, which just goes to show, as if proof were needed, what a wonderful place Radovljica is to base yourself for a holiday in Slovenia.

Radovljica’s Olympic-size swimming pool was the venue for the daily pool-based training and fun sessions. More information about Radol’ca’s swimming pools here – http://www.radolca.si/en/swimming/

Slovenia Swim Camp 2016 - Radovljica

They swam in Bled Lake.

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And did an open-water swim in the Adriatic sea in Piran Bay.

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When not swimming, and for the non-swimmers among them, there was a whole host of other organised activities including cookery classes at Kunstelj Inn.

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Rafting on the Sava and Soča rivers.

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Other activities included a visit to the iron-forging village of Kropa, a ride in the cable car to Vogel, kayaking on Bohinj Lake, hiking to the Savica waterfall, a visit to the Škocjan Caves, fishing, playing golf, making the famous Lectar gingerbread hearts at Lectar Inn in Radovljica, and more!

Patricia told me that they have all ‘fallen in love with Slovenia and Radovljica’ and are already planning the 2017 camp. So, I look forward to seeing you all back here next year. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and providing ideas for some more activities for next year, so, stay tuned!

© Adele in Slovenia

Spas, Caves, Eats and Other Rainy (and Not So Rainy) Day Ideas!

Anyone visiting Slovenia in the last fortnight might be forgiven for thinking it rains here a lot! Please be reassured, however, that this much rain in June is not the norm. In the 9+ years I’ve been living here, I don’t think I can remember such a prolonged period of wet weather at this time of year. It really is turning out to be a strange year, weather-wise. After having very little snow during winter, we then had snow in late-April, and now, in the second-half of May and early June, it seems to be April! It’s been either raining torrentially or the clouds have been looming ominously, making it frustratingly difficult to go anywhere too far from home.

The good news is that it’s set to improve soon, just a couple more days of these storms then hot, dry weather is headed our way, yippee! In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of my ideas for how to spend rainy, as well as not so rainy, days in the Radovljica area and elsewhere in Slovenia.

VISIT A SPA

It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside if you are inside getting wet anyway! All of Slovenia’s thermal spas feature indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, jacuzzis and modern wellness facilities, offering something for all the family. You can read plenty more about spas and the facilities here and read some insider tips from me, here – https://spasinslovenia.com/

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DELVE INTO THE MAGICAL UNDERWORLD IN CAVES

A visit to one Slovenia’s caves, such as Postojna Caves or the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves, is ideal whatever the weather. There are over 9,000 caves in Slovenia, though only a small number of these are open to the public. The temperature in the caves is constant year-round so it really doesn’t matter if its snowing or there’s a heat-wave! All of the caves are fascinating and unique, and the current phenomena of the newly-hatched ‘baby dragons’ at Postojna Caves provides an additional reason to visit. Read more here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2016/06/01/the-phenomenal-postojna-proteus-phenomena/

Underground river Pivka in Postojna Cave_photo Iztok Medja for Postojnska jama

VISIT, TASTE & DRINK RADOVLJICA

Rainy days always bring an influx of visitors to the Radovljica area as the small town packs in quite a few sights of interest. You can visit the Lectar Gingerbread Workshop, the Museum of Apiculture, the Šivec House Gallery, and the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska. More here – http://www.radolca.si/en/

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I don’t know about you, but this miserable weather makes me want to eat, eat, and then eat some more! The participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants all offer home-cooked, and locally sourced and produced food. Or why not visit the Sodček Wine Bar for a wine tasting session. More here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/taste-radolca/

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LISTEN TO SLOVENE FOLK MUSIC AT AVSENIK

Visit Avsenik in Begunje na Gorenjskem – home to the world-renowned legendary Avsenik music – a popular style of folk music. There are regular live events, festivals and workshops, and you can also visit the gallery and museum. More here – http://www.avsenik.com/en

TAKE IN SOME CULTURE AT SUMMER MUSEUM NIGHT

There are hundreds of museums and galleries in Slovenia and a lot of attention is placed on culture and cultural-related events and activities. Next Saturday, 18th June, is Summer Museum Night, when, from 6pm until midnight, museums and galleries throughout the country offer free entrance and host special events. More information here – http://www.tms.si/PMN/?page_id=67

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GO SHOPPING

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of shopping, particularly large shopping centres and especially when on holiday in a place where the great outdoors is so ‘great!’ So when I say ‘shopping’ I don’t mean traipsing round clothes shops, and getting hot, bothered and irritated in changing rooms (or is that just me?). Instead, when on holiday, I prefer to browse craft shops, visit local markets, buy and try local produce, and try to find unique buys. I particularly like foodie events such as Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen), which takes place every Friday (weather permitting) in Ljubljana. Closer to home at Vila Podvin in Mošnje a market takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 9am-noon, come rain or shine. You can meet local producers, buy food and non-food goods, and enjoy a delicious lunch cooked by one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin. More information here – http://www.vilapodvin.si/events

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I hope to have provided some ideas and inspiration, after all, the weather may mean some plans have to curtailed but there’s always plenty more to see and do until the next sunny day comes along!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

 

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!

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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!

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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

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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

 

WANTED: Your old gingerbread – the older the better!

Last week at Lectar Inn in Radovljica the launch was announced of a special event to celebrate 250 years since the opening of its gingerbread workshop in 1766, and 10 years since the re-opening of the Live Gingerbread Museum.

Lectar Inn is seeking the oldest example of a Lectar heart. Anyone is invited to send or bring in their entries to the competition, including those from outside of Slovenia, and if there is a story connected to it, then all the better. Maybe you received one as a gift in your youth, or perhaps someone in your family did. So, get rummaging in those drawers, cupboards, and wherever else you might have Lectar hearts stashed at home! All the entries will be gathered into a special exhibition which will be on view throughout the year. Each entrant will be rewarded with a limited-edition special Jubilee Lectar heart.

The owners of the 3 oldest Lectar hearts which are submitted to the exhibition, will win an overnight stay including meals at Lectar Inn.

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The gingerbread museum is housed in the cellar of the 500-year old building that is also home to the restaurant Gostilna Lectar – which has been operating since 1822, as well as Penzion Lectar, which offers 9 guestrooms. Gostilna Lectar is also one of the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants where the focus is on using local produce. One of the things I particularly love about visiting Lectar is the warm welcome I always get, and, if the owner Jože is there, he is always ready with his mouth organ at hand to come and play a ditty or two!

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These days there are four ‘lectar’ makers working in the museum. The Lectar hearts, which are entirely handmade, are made from a honey-enriched dough. The whole process takes around 14 days, beginning with the mixing and resting of the dough (5 to 10 days), followed by the baking and finally the intricate decoration.

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The decorative colours also have a meaning:

  • red expresses love and passion
  • yellow, together with red, is a sign of eternal love
  • green with flowers is a symbol of growth, wealth and fertility

There are also Lectar hearts decorated with mirrors, which were particularly popular in the 19th century because in those times there weren’t many mirrors so women, in particular, liked to receive them as gifts. A Lectar heart with a mirror was also especially characteristic between lovers as it showed that men had a good sense of romance. When a boy wanted to show his girlfriend how much he loved her, he gave her a Lectar heart with a mirror. The girl who received it would know that her reflection in the mirror meant that she was in his heart! Oh how sweet!

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There are 2 special dates to note as part of this special year at Lectar Inn:

Saturday 2nd April – Open Day at Lectar Inn

Sunday 11th DecemberA celebration of 10 years since the reopening of the Lectar live museum and the unveiling of the results and conclusion of the year-long search to find the oldest lectar heart.

More information here – http://www.lectar.com/_en/lectar_zgodovina.html

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

 

 

 

Taste Radol’ca 2015 is GO!!!

This year’s Taste Radol’ca kicked off with a bang on Friday night with the opening event held at Lambergh Chateau & Hotel in Dvorska vas.

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The evening started with a market, where local producers and suppliers to the 11 participating restaurants offered their products to taste and buy and the talented Taste Radol’ca chefs rustled up some tasty warming morsels to satisfy the peckish!

Entertainment was provided by the popular singer Nuša Derenda, in the lovely setting of the chateau grounds.

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The main event then began – the opening Taste Radol’ca 2015 dinner – all 6 courses of it! The event was a complete sell-out, with all 90 places in the restaurant taken.

The ethos of Taste Radol’ca is collaboration between restaurants and the use of local produced products. All the products used in the opening dinner, as well as those in the menus that are available at each participating restaurant for the entire month of November for a set price of just 15 euros for three courses, are local.

The starter was prepared by the Globočnik Excursion Farm from Globoko.

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The next courses was a rainbow of trout with buckwheat hearts – prepared by Kunstelj Inn and Lectar Inn. Almost too pretty to eat!

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Next came the chestnut soup with mushrooms, just perfect for these autumn days, prepared by Tulipan Inn and Joštov hram.

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A farmer’s plate followed – prepared by Hotel Krek and Draga Inn.

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By now we were all beginning to burst at the seams but the delicious food kept coming! This dish comprised many elements including veal with mushrooms in cannelloni, cheek of calf, potato foam, barley and vegetables – courtesy of Lambergh Chateau & Hotel and Vila Podvin.

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And finally the dessert. It’s funny how however stuffed one is, we somehow always manage to find room for dessert, don’t we! Dessert was prepared by Grajska gostilnica, from right here in Radovljica, and the restaurant ‘Pri Jožovcu’ – home of Avsenik in Begunje na Gorenjskem.

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Suffice to say a great night was had by all and that was just the start. Now we have the whole month of November to try out the Taste Radol’ca menus at all the 11 participating restaurants and, if you manage to eat at 7 during the month, you can earn yourself automatic entry to the Taste Radol’ca Closing Party on 4th December at Joštov hram. So get eating and tasting the local culinary delight of Radol’ca!

For more information and to see the menus click below and I wish you bon appetit!

http://radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/okusi-radolce/83/930/

@AdeleinSlovenia 2015

More Rainy Days Ideas – Radovljica and Studor

Most of July was blissfully hot and dry, and indeed records were being broken left, right and centre, until, that is, last week when a new, less than remarkable, record was set of just 20 minutes sunshine over a 5 day period. Let’s hope that record is consigned to the history books and not repeated any time soon! Fortunately, by Friday the sun had worked its way back and it was immediately hot again. The consequence, however, is that there wasn’t much in the way of hiking and cycling for me for the whole of last week, instead just endless trudges with my umbrella.

Once such ‘trudge’ – though in fairness the remarkable scenery means it can’t be described as a ‘trudge’ – was around the quaint village of Studor. The moody skies and the mountains of the Julian Alps rising up from Bohinj Lake only served to somehow make it even more scenic.

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Though only tiny, Studor it is known for its double height ‘toplar’ hayracks.

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The Mrcina ranch with its Icelandic horses.

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and also the Oplen House Museum (Oplenova hiša) which represents a typical 19th century home where various crafts were carried out and includes a black kitchen – http://www.slovenia.info/en/muzej/Studor-in-Bohinj,-Oplen-House-.htm?muzej=914&lng=2

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Meanwhile, in Radovljica, it is noticeable how rain actually attracts visitors to the area. On rainy summer days, the old town centre is often at its liveliest as people flood here from Bled, and the surrounding areas, seeking things to do on a rainy day. Popular attractions include:

The Museum of Apiculture, housed in the Radovljica Mansion, where you can learn all about the history and importance of beekeeping in Slovenia and see the collection of painted beehive panels, each one tells its own story, including the oldest one in the world.

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The Gingerbread Workshop at Lectar Inn, where you can see gingerbread hearts being made and decorated, pick up some souvenirs and/or enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant.

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There’s also the Šivec House Gallery, St. Peter’s Church and, a little further afield, the iron-forging village of Kropa, the village of Kamna Gorica with its many bridges and streams, the ruins of Kamen Castle and the home of Avsenik music in Begunje, and the Vila Rustica archeological site and Village Museum in Mošnje.

All of the above mentioned are also accessible on the Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/

Of course, on rainy days food and drink is usually top of most people’s list and Radovljica doesn’t disappoint on this score either with a plethora of cafes, and tasty homemade food at the Taste Radol’ca restaurants including Kunstelj Inn, Lectar Inn, Joštov hram, Vila Podvin. More information can be found here or click on the Taste Radol’ca heading at the top of this page – http://www.radolca.si/en/taste-radolca/

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Mystery Shopping in Radovljica!

The Slovene daily newspaper, Dnevnik, is currently running a kind of ‘Mystery Shopper’ project whereby foreigners living in Slovenia are sent to various locations across the country to assess things such as accessibility, information received at the local tourist office, restaurants and cafes, accommodation and activities in the area. As can be seen from the article below, which is all in Slovene hence my precis here, last week two Czech girls visited Radovljica and gave it rave reviews, well except for the accommodation which was slated. In fairness, however, Grajski Dvor hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment after a long period of closure and is most certainly ‘a work in progress’. Personally I think its promising and encouraging that a local businessman has been willing to undertake this big renovation project to ensure that the hotel will, eventually, be returned to its former glory and will stay in local hands. I actually went to see the newly refurbished rooms for myself last week and what struck me most was how clean the place was. For a 3 star hotel, which doesn’t pretend to be anything more, offers reasonable rates and is very centrally located, I think it’s worthy of a bit more than the 3 out of 10 awarded. Other than that, they gave everything 10 out of 10 meaning Radovljica currently leads the list of places visited and assessed so far! https://www.dnevnik.si/1042715656/magazin/prosti-cas/dnevnikova-izvidnica-radovljiska-pravljica-a-le-s-polno-denarnico What struck me as most surprising was that despite having lived in Slovenia for several years, the girls had never heard of Radovljica. Surely almost everyone who lives in, and visits, Slovenia knows Bled – of course – well Radovljica is just 7km from Bled! So, whether you live here or are on holiday, next time, just turn off the motorway one junction before the exit for Bled and come and see it and sample it for yourselves – don’t miss out! This is a summary of what the pair did, saw, ate, drank etc. On day one they arrived by car, just a 30 minute drive from Ljubljana. They first went to the Tourist Information Centre, which is ‘very easy to find’ – its the first building on the right on entering the old town centre – http://www.radolca.si/en/tic/ The welcome and information they were given in the tourist office was excellent, even though they tried hard to play the role of ‘annoying tourists’! They were given maps of local walking trails, suggestions for what to see and do including rafting, canyoning and kayaking, and ideas for places to eat and drink. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t conducive to outdoors activities so, following the suggestions given in the Tourist Information Centre, they first visited the Museum of Apiculture, which is housed in the magnificent Radovljica Manor, where they were given a short guided tour to learn about the history of beekeeping in Slovenia and where there is an actual hive you can watch bees come and go. They bought some honey-related gifts and souvenirs and then continued into the adjoining Municipal Museum. 3 Radovljiška graščina ceb muz Next up was a visit to the well-known Lectar Inn. This restaurant with rooms and gingerbread-making workshop is much favoured amongst Slovenes and visitors from far and wide. It is run by husband and wife Lili and Jože, assisted by their family and a loyal staff, dressed in Slovene national attire. The ground floor houses a restaurant, the upper floor has accommodation, and downstairs is the gingerbread heart workshop where visitors can watch, and upon prior reservation also try for themselves, the art of making these traditional souvenirs. 1781946_780217605407996_3932387495050073481_n     CIMG7936 In the evening they went to the Academia bar and were surprised at how lively it was, having thought of Radovljca as being ‘a bit of a sleepy town’. In fact Radovljica has a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars –  a surprising amount for a town of its size where you can try out some specialities from the Taste Radol’ca restaurants too – http://www.radolca.si/en/inns-and-restaurants/ 10982079_873359362707281_3075502047712497002_n     CIMG8163 The next day they walked on the new Sava River Trail – http://www.radolca.si/en/the-sava-river-trail/ 10404285_999836556694053_9154493743495987424_n     CIMG8124 Enjoying the walk so much they ended up continuing to the ruins of Lipnica Castle (Pusti grad) and the Natural Science Trailhttp://www.radolca.si/en/lipnica-castle-natural-science-trail/ CIMG6948 This is just the tip of the iceberg of things to see and do in the area but I hope it at least provides some ideas and inspiration. © AdeleinSlovenia 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Lectar Inn, Radovljica

On Wednesday last week I was invited to a special lunch at Lectar Inn in Radovljica’s old town centre to mark the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its ownership in the hands of Jože and Lili.

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Theirs is a real rags-to-riches story. The couple told us a few stories about the past, including how when they first arrived in Radovljica to take over running Lectar Inn they initially had a lease to rent the restaurant for a 10-year period, however, it soon became apparent that it was to become their life’s work and that 10 years would be nowhere near enough so they enquired about the possibility of buying the property. At that time, they certainly didn’t have the financial means to do so as they additionally had to put a lot of money, time and effort into renovating the 500-year old house and also had 2 young children (which later became 4 children – including one set of twins). Lili recalled the day when 2 of the children came home from school in tears because they were the only ones amongst their classmates who didn’t have school slippers – they couldn’t afford them. Over time, all their hard graft began to pay off and nowadays, in addition to the family, they employ 17 staff across the restaurant, Lectar live gingerbread workshop and guest rooms.

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It is plain to see, that despite all the hard work they revel in what they do and have remained as hardworking and humble as ever, and more than deserve every accolade they have received. I must admit to having felt a lump in my throat listening to their stories of hardship and dedication to the business, the family, and each other. It also made me feel proud to be part of such and occasion and to live somewhere where such tradition is valued. Jože even went on to invite us all to the next big Lectar celebration – in 2022 – to mark 200 years of operation of the restaurant! The gingerbread museum has, however, been in operation even longer, since 1766.

Unfortunately, I was unable to stay and enjoy the specially prepared lunch, though I did get a chance to sample some of the goodies on offer from some of the other Taste Radol’ce restaurants, among them the ever-delicious cake pops from Gostilna Kunstelj, sausages with tepka pears and chocolate-covered tepka pears from Vila Podvin, and the house dessert ‘Prešeren’s Cylinder’ from Chateau Lambergh. Although the main focus of Taste Radol’ca takes place annually during the month of November, all the participating restaurants also have Taste Radol’ca dishes as a permanent feature on their menus, denoted by little bee symbols, and made exclusively using local ingredients. There’s plenty more about this in the Taste Radol’ca section of this blog.

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This Sunday was a cultural public holiday in Slovenia, Prešeren’s Day, to mark the date of the death, in 1849, of Slovenia’s great poet, France Prešeren.  Unfortunately, as with last year, this year once again 8th of February fell on a weekend, meaning it was pretty much an ordinary day for most and the nation missed out on having a day off. I always find this a bit unfair as, unlike in the UK, if a holiday falls on a weekend here, as quite a few of them do in 2015, it’s just tough luck, and the following day in not given as a holiday in lieu.

I always like to visit the Prešeren Fair (Prešernov smenj) in Kranj which is a celebration of all things ‘Prešeren. This year I had been looking forward to it even more as I’ve not been outside of Radovljica for some weeks now due to not being able to drive because of my broken shoulder (it’s been 4 weeks now since my fall and I’m going for an x-ray on Tuesday and really hoping for some good news – wish me luck!). The fair includes music provided by organ-grinders, locals parading and dancing in traditional clothing, a market selling all manner of traditional, and some less traditional goods; homeware, clothing, etc. and plenty selling delicious cakes, biscuits, cheese, honey, dried meats etc. There are also demonstrations of traditional crafts, guided tours, exhibitions, workshops and more. Despite it being held in February, when it is often bitterly cold – as it was on Sunday – the day always draws a huge crowd and its nice to see the old town centre come to life and looking how it would have done in the early-19th century.

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This week I’ll be having a little celebration of my own as Wednesday marks my 8-year anniversary of moving to Slovenia! Gosh, where have those years gone! That’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my life, and its here where I intend to remain.

 

Taste Radol’ca 2014

Following the success of last year’s inaugural ‘Taste Radol’ca’, this year’s event is even bigger, better and yummier! In addition to the great food on offer, what I personally love about Taste Radol’ca is the co-operation between the great restaurants and talented chefs in the Radol’ca area, who, rather than being in competition with each other, can see the benefits of collaboration, strength in numbers and jointly presenting and promoting the best of what the area has to offer.

The event kicked-off on Thursday afternoon with a farmer’s market and tastings of products and dishes from local producers and the participating restaurants. All the dishes on the menus at the participating restaurants, both for the opening event and for the menus on offer throughout the whole of November, are prepared using these local ingredients; something which to many people these days is of great importance; the traceability of food and food miles.

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The opening event then moved to Lectar Inn in the old town of Radovljica where we were treated to a sumptuous five-course dinner, prepared by the talented chefs from the 10 participating restaurants and with accompanying wines from Radovjlica’s Sodček wine bar (Vinoteka Sodček).

We began we a dish which included a spinach roulade, bear pate with pine tree syrup, beetroot and alfafa sprouts, created by Gostišče Tulipan in Lesce.

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This was followed by pumpkin soup with honey and seeds, courtesy of Restaurant and Hotel Krek in Lesce.

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The next course was the work of the chefs from Joštov hram in Podnart and Vila Podvin in Mošnje, and comprised a white bean puree, paste with river crab, trout fillet with a vegetable crust, garlic cream and herb sauce.

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Next came a dish jointly prepared by Lectar Inn and Lambergh Chateau and Hotel. It included rabbit in sauce and a pastry basket, beef stuffed with perch, parsley puree and pancetta wrapped beans.

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Finally, it was time for dessert! This was prepared by Gostilna Kunstelj in Radovljica and was a creamy carrot cake with vegetable ice-cream. Who knew vegetables could taste so good!

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We were also treated to live music including a performance by Joze Andrejaš, the owner of Lectar Inn, who is a master of the mouth organ, which you can watch and listen to here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q_gLMCJVJQ&feature=share

To say it was a great evening, and to say I waddled my way home feeling like a barrel, would be an understatement! No-one need leave Radol’ca hungry, and especially not during the month of November as all the participating restaurants have special menus for the whole month at a set price of 15 euros for a minimum of 3 courses.

This year there are also some new restaurants participating; Gostišče Draga, Izletniška kmetija Globočnik, and Hotel and Restaurant Krek, I’m very much looking forward to visiting them and providing reviews and recommendations – as I have for the other restaurants (see the Taste Radol’ca window above) – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

You can read more about Taste Radol’ca here http://www.radolca.si/en/taste-radolca/ and also watch a TV broadcast (in Slovene) about it here – http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/prispevki-in-izjave-prvi-dnevnik/174302082

On Thursday, I was also interviewed for the television programme ‘Na Lepše’, which covers tourism in Slovenia, for which I was totally unprepared as it was sprung upon me unawares. This time, at least they wanted me to speak English, and to give my opinion about food in Slovenia among other things. Of course in hindsight I can think of a hundred things I should have said, especially when asked about food in Radovljica and I could have talked about Lectar Inn’s gingerbread and Linhartov cukr, as well as the new choco-o-bee chocolates, but since I had about 0.5 seconds to prepare, I did my best! It will be broadcast next Friday evening so I think I’ll be found somewhere cowering behind the sofa for that!

To work off all that excess, I headed out for an early morning run alongside the Sava river on Friday and immediately noticed the new signs that had been erected. Never one to miss a trick, I swiftly set about exploring and discovered the new Sava River Trail (Pot ob Savi). I’ve walked it one way, just need to do the other way and will write more about that next week….

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014