Like Beekeeping? Love Radovljica!

Those interested in beekeeping should definitely make a beeline for Radovljica!

The Radovljica area has a wealth of beekeeping-related sights of interest, all within close proximity, thus making it ideal place to visit for beekeepers or those with an interest in beekeeping.

One such example is the group of 38 beekeepers from Estonia who I helped with their plans to visit Radovljica.

Whilst the main purpose of their trip was beekeeping-related activities, they also managed to find time to do some sightseeing in Ljubljana, took a traditional pletna boat to the island on Lake Bled, and visited Vintgar Gorge.

The main beekeeping day began with a visit to Kralov med in the hamlet of Selo near Bled, where owner Blaž Ambrožič told them everything, and more, that they could possibly want to know about beekeeping in Slovenia. I wrote more extensively about my visit to Kralov med in a previous blog, also about World Bee Day, which you can read here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2016/05/17/world-bee-day-the-anton-jansa-honey-route/

cimg1031

The undoubted highlight, whether a beekeeper or not, is the chance to see and experience up close the hive found on a nearby tree trunk and transported to its current home. The fact you can get so close is testament to the calm nature of Slovenia’s Carniolan grey bee.

CIMG1028

Next the group came to Radovljica, beginning at the Tourist Information Centre where they tasted local honey and chocolate, and had the chance to buy some gifts to take home. They even brought us some of their own Estonian honey, which, as you can see, the staff enjoyed tasting!

cimg2311

We then took a stroll through the medieval old town to see the main sights of interest – the Šivec House Gallery, the Radovljica Mansion, St. Peter’s Church, and the other wonderful frescoed buildings.

cimg2312

Then it was on to the viewpoint for wonderful views of the Julian Alps, the Jelovica plateau and the Sava river.

CIMG1177

The next stop was to Lectar Inn to watch the process of making and decorating the traditional ‘lectar’ gingerbread’ hearts, made with honey, of course!

cimg2314

And a chance to buy souvenirs and/or gifts for loved ones.

cimg2318

Having seen Radovljica, it was then time to Taste Radol’ca, with a traditional Slovene lunch, also at Lectar Inn, one of the participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants. During lunch, the owner Jože entertained us with a few of his favourite songs played on the harmonica – never something to be missed!

The final stop in Radovljica was to the Museum of Apiculture, housed in the Radovljica Mansion, where visitors can learn all about the history of beekeeping in Slovenia, watch a video (narrated in English by me!), and in summer watch the bees hard work diligently in the hive.

cimg2325

The group’s very last stop on the jam-packed, or should I say honey-packed, day, was to the Gorenjska Beekeeping Development and Education Centre in Lesce. You can read more about the centre and its wide-ranging activities here – http://www.radolca.si/en/gorenjska-region-beekeeping-development-and-education-centre/

So, as you can see, the Radovljica area really is a beekeeper’s paradise!

If you’d like any more information about Slovenian beekeeping, or are interested in taking a tour of the town and/or visiting some of the above-mentioned sights, feel free to get in touch or contact Tourism Radol’ca – http://www.radolca.si/en/

© 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!’

14907578_668991213268225_125529241518117194_n

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.

cimg2433

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

cimg2432

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.

cimg2449

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

cimg2457

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

cimg2462

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.

cimg2470

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.

cimg2476

 

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.

cimg2481

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

Summer 2016 in Radol’ca – Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus

Regular readers will know that I usually publish my blogs on Mondays. However, I decided to purposely delay this one since yesterday it was raining, again, and I couldn’t face writing, and subject you to reading, yet another blog moaning about the rain!!!

Today, thankfully, is much better and we also had 4 glorious summer days of blazing sunshine last week. So, let’s just focus on more of those to come and not on the other 24 rainy days thus far in June! Woops, there I go again…

There are lots of things to look forward to this summer in Radol’ca*. Here are just a few of the events taking place in July to whet your appetite.

13501746_1117509738292241_4600712597097324793_n

  • The Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus begins operating again from 1st July until 31st August. The bus runs on Tuesdays (Bled-Radovljica-Kropa) and Thursdays (Bled-Radovljica-Begunje-Brezje), as well as at weekends to Bohinj and the Pokljuka plateau. Tickets, which are valid for the whole day, cost just 5 euros for adults, children up to the age of 10 travel free. More information here (click where it says Vec o Hop-On Hop Off to see the timetable) – http://radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/hop-on-hop-off-radolca-2016/83/904/

hop-on-hop-off-radolca

  • FREE guided tours of the old town centre – Tuesdays at 9am in July and August, other months at 10am. Meet at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre at the entrance to Linhart Square.

Radovljica SLO 2011

Radovljica SLO 2011

CIMG6416

I always attend this event as I love the quaint iron-forging village of Kropa, nestled snuggly into a corner of the Lipnica Valley under the Jelovica plateau, where the tradition of iron-forging is still much in evidence. You can also try some local food, visit the village museums, and have a general nose about the narrow lanes.

CIMG6420

 

* In case of any confusion, Radol’ca is  the name used in the tourism slogan ‘Radol’ca, Honestly Sweet’. The Radol’ca area comprises the main town of Radovljica, as well as the surrounding towns and villages including Begunje na Gorenjskem, Brezje, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Lesce, Mosnje and other smaller hamlets.

© 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!

4982148661_e4f0d90ede_b

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!

Ekipa planica 2016

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.

Prevc planica

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?

Vaski burger

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

Na Kležnk in Lesce – First Class Airport Food!

Did you know that there is an airport in Lesce? Well, ‘airport’ is a slight over exaggeration, airfield, to be more precise – the Lesce Alpine Flying Centre (Alpski letalski center). It offers panoramic flights above the Julian Alps, glider flights, skydiving and parachuting (more here – http://www.radolca.si/en/adrenaline-in-the-air/). I’m told that in the past there also used to be scheduled direct flights to Dubrovnik. What a shame that is no longer the case!

Moreover, you can now also get first-class food there that doesn’t break the bank, which is not something that can often be said of airport food! However, this is no ordinary ‘airport’ restaurant. The Na Kležnk restaurant, which opened last year, has brought a much-needed revival to the centre, and it’s range of high-quality dishes and delicious desserts, are just the ticket!

I was interested to know where the restaurant’s name hails from and found out that it comes from the name of a farm that used to be located in the area where the airfield now stands.

During the warmer months you can sit outdoors on the terrace and admire the views of the Julian Alps and the Jelovica plateau.

12187761_1543260995963797_7802375649597079290_n

My visit on a damp February evening wasn’t exactly conducive to admiring the outside views, but instead I was able to sit in the warm, pleasant ambience of the restaurant and admire the indoor views – mainly of the cakes!

12274612_1546017709021459_220739315794872633_n

Na Kležnk  has its own in-house patisserie, where delicious cakes are baked daily and can also be purchased to take-away, or they will even deliver if you have a sudden urgent craving for cake – it happens, you know!

With such a wide range of cakes on offer, it was a tough choice, so I had a slice of this raspberry meringue cake to start, well I don’t mean as a ‘starter’ but as my ‘starter dessert’!

12670165_1568504786772751_4697693103539633141_n

And later a piece of the delicious, and highly addictive, banana mudcake ‘to go’!

12227115_1546016875688209_3306681029838551745_n

Oh yes, and I also ate some seriously tasty and imaginately presented ‘real’ food too!

Starters include cheese ravioli with a pesto sauce and parmesan, and, as seen below, shrimp tails with crab pate.

CIMG0444-001               CIMG0438

For my main course I chose a dish from the specials menu – pork fillet with onion sauce and bread dumplings.

CIMG0432

And my friend ordered the sea bass which came looking like this.

CIMG0433

And inside looked like this!

CIMG0436

Apparently, though, word is already out and, particularly if you go at the weekends for their popular Saturday and Sunday lunches, reservations are required. Now I too know why and am already looking forward to my next visit. It is to be hoped that Na Kležnk will also join Taste Radol’ca later this year.

© AdeleinSlovenia 2016

 

 

Stories of Slovene Success: Dali Šport – Dressing the Best!

Two weeks ago I wrote the first in an occasional series of posts entitled ‘Stories of Slovene Success’. That post, which you can read here http://wp.me/p3005k-1fl was about the success of Elan and Peter Prevc.

This week the story is in a similar vein, since the company Dali Šport, based in Lesce, make the clothing for some of Slovenia’s top sports stars, as well as for sports people from numerous other countries competing in, amongst others, skiing, ski jumping, rowing, equine and aerial sports.

I popped in for a nose last week and was lucky enough that during the time of my visit 3 of the Slovenian ski jumping team were there, having come to pick up their new apparel, during a brief lull in training. Below you can see, from left to right, Matjaž Pungertar, Leon Šarc and Anže Lanišek – oh and me of course!

CIMG0386-001

 

In addition to the firm’s headquarters in Lesce, it also has a shop in Bled which sells off-the-peg sportswear for hiking and other outdoor sports, as well as outfits for your four-legged friend!

Dali Šport, a family run company, has been making made-to-measure and off-the-peg clothing for over 25 years, including the outfit worn by Peter Prevc when he won silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

993867_795952063884900_2157605884264857644_n

And for the ski jumper Robert Kranjec too!

CIMG0388

LOOKING AHEAD: It’s not long now until the annual Radovljica Carnival Ball (Pustni ples) with Taste Radol’ca. This year the event will take place on Saturday 6th February at Tulipan Inn in Lesce. Tickets are now on sale at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre. The theme of this year’s ball is ‘The Radovljica Olympics‘ and prizes are up for grabs for those who come up with the most creative outfits. More information (in Slovene) here – http://radolca.si/kaj-poceti/dogodki/pustni-ples-z-okusi-radolce/83/724/

On the same day, at 2pm in the afternoon, the annual Carnival Procession will take place through the streets of Radovljica ending in Linhart Square in the old town centre. More information here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/carnival-procession/83/381/

IMG_0446

© 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.

CIMG0365

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

CIMG0367

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.

CIMG0370

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!

CIMG0372

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!

CIMG0375

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