DAY 01: LJUBLJANA-BLED-LJUBLJANA (everything about the Bled crème slice, cheese, Ljubljana gourmet, etc.) Welcome to Slovenia and Ljubljana. It has won the European Green Capital Award in 2016. We'll make our first stop at Bled, the magnificent alpine fairy tale scenery with a mountain lake and a tiny island in the middle, and admire the amazing view from the old castle up on the cliff. We will visit hotel Park, where, in 1953, Chef Istvan Lukacevic has created one of the most well known Slovenian deserts: the Bled cream slice (Blejska rezina), with a very detailed recipe, dimensions and presentation. More than 12 mio. Bled cream slices have been served in this restaurant. We will take a special wooden boat called »pletna« to the island. A treat for your eyes and your body awaits on the island where a temple of the ancient Slavic goddess of love Ziva used to stand. Now there is a glorious gothic at its place. Next is a guided tour of a boutique family farm, with cheese and dairy ripening cellars where the entire procedure of the production of cheese and other milk products can be observed by the guests. We will organise a special tasting program in the dairy and gastronomy room, accompanied by corresponding wines and guided tastings of individual products and cheeses. After that we will return to Ljubljana, where we will have delicious 4-course dinner in a famous restaurant inside Ljubljana Castle.
DAY 02: LJUBLJANA-LOGARSKA VALLEY-ZICE MONASTERY-MARIBOR (the mystery of the specialities from Logarska Valley) We will drive directly to Logarska valley. Without any doubts one of the most romantic alpine valleys in Europe. With the Rinka waterfall is a sight of breath taking beauty. There they are very particular in their gastronomy. We will have lunch at the local alpine inn. You will have the opportunity to taste local specialities. A special salamy (Savinjski zelodec), local cheese, buck wheat porridge, wild mushroom soup with cream, game goulash with special roulades-dumpling (struklji), etc. In the afternoon we will continue your tour to the Sv. Janez Krstnik Valley with its mighty Zice Carthusian Monastery from 1165. It offers a mysterious serenity that allows visitors a retreat from civilization. The monastery of brothers closed in the 18th century, but the monks’ house, dining room, kitchen, and church remained. There we will also visit Gastuz, the oldest hostel in Central Europe, which welcomed travellers who were not allowed to enter the monastery into its safe shelter. Today it is converted to a very authentic restaurant with delicious food. 4-course gourmet dinner will be served. Next we drive to Maribor, the European Capital of culture in 2012. Overnight stay.
DAY 03: MARIBOR (capital of Slovenian Styria, the oldest wine in the world, cooking classes, prekmurksa gibanica,…) After breakfast we will continue with a guided tour of Maribor. It is surrouned by wine-growing hills on all sides. Its historic town centre is marked by an Austrian influence, and we will admire the lively and colourful squares - Grajski trg (Castle square), Slomskov trg (Slomsek square) and Glavni trg (Main square), and of course Lent, the old river port. It is possible to cover all these attractions on a walking tour of Maribor. At the heart of Lent, the oldest vine in the world still grows in front of the Old Vine House. The confirmed age of this “Zametovka” or “Modra Kavcina” vine is over 400 years, which won it a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest noble vine in the world still bearing grapes. The Old Vine is a symbol of the rich wine culture of Maribor, Styria, and all of Slovenia. We will participate in a wine tasting in the Old Vine house. We will procede to having a 4-course lunch in the restaurant with oldest tradition around, namely the Three ponds (Trije ribniki) at city park. We will then drive to the suburbs of Maribor. At the marvellous restaurant Hisa Denk we will have cooking classes under the watchful eye of Chef Gregor Vracko, the Slovenian Master Chef of 2010. You will learn how to make zlikrofi (special slovenian pasta), the delicious desert prekmurska gibanica, sour soup from Styria and much more. He will also demonstrate how to transform a traditional Slovenian dish into more innovative traditional food. A 4-course dinner will also be served in that restaurant. Overnight stay in Maribor.
DAY 04: MARIBOR- PTUJ-MARIBOR (old wine cellars, wine tasting, pumpkin seed oil) And finally we will visit Ptuj, the oldest and quite possibly the prettiest small city in Slovenia. Built on top of huge wine cellars on the banks of the river Drava. Situated by the river, Ptuj was an important stop on the prehistoric Baltic – Mediterranean amber trading route. A view from the castle above the city is simply breathtaking. We will attend a wine tasting in one of the oldest Slovenian wine cellars (several awards: Decanter, AWC Vienna, San Francisco USA). In the wine tasting room there is an old wine press and you will be served 5 samples of wine. We will follow that up with a traditional 4-course lunch in Ptujsko polje. In the afternoon we will organise a pumpkin seed oil tasting. You will be shown the whole production procedure and learn how to distinguish good oil from bad oil. Return to Maribor. You will have the evening free to explore the centre of the town containing some lovely restaurants.
DAY 05: MARIBOR-PREKMURJE-SLOVENIAN JERUSALEM/PRLEKIJA-MARIBOR (sparkling wine tasting, chocolate tasting, lunch in Prekmurje, dinner with Prlekija specialities) Breakfast. In the morning we will drive to Radgona and visit the oldest Slovenian sparkling wine cellar. They started their production in 1853. They are very proud of the gold medals from Brussels (1996) and Bordeaux (1998), as well as of the silver medals from Paris (1997) and London (1998). We will be tasting 3 types of sparkling wine. Next we will be driving to Prekmurje, the mysterious plane in the eastern part of Slovenia with fertile soil. We will have a tasting of boutique chocolate with the local Prekmurje flavour (examples: pumpkin seed oil chocolate pralines, Traminer chocolate pralines, Elderflower chocolate pralines, and more). Lunch will be organised at a great local restaurant with tradition. The 4-course menu will be based on specialities from Prekmurje: Dödöli, bujta repa and many more. Next is the drive to Jeruzalem. Its holly name promises a lot, and does not disappoint with its wine road with top white wines, exquisite viewpoints and pilgrimage church and has every right to be named a place of heaven. It is a part of Prlekija which is situated in north eastern Slovenia. It is a country of rich cuisine, top wines, curvy terraced hills and melodious rattles (klopotec). Organised is a 4-course dinner based on traditional Prlekija cuisine. Overnight stay in Maribor.
Day 06: MARIBOR-KARST-GORISKA BRDA-LJUBLJANA (Kras specialities, wine tasting, kraski prsut (famous Slovenian prosciutto) Breakfast. We will be driving to Karst and Goriska Brda. This region is Slovenia’s answer to Tuscany and offers a wealth of attractions with easy access to both coast and mountains. The Karst is a geographical term for describing a rocky limestone plateau that occupies the area of Slovenia just inland from the Adriatic. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty with world-class cave complexes at Postojna and Skocjan. The first stop is the visit of the medieval Predjama castle with its dramatic setting in the gaping mouth of a mountain. The tour continues to the Skocjan caves, one of the largest and most beautiful Karst caves in Europe. A 4-course lunch will follow, based on the exquisite cooking tradition of Karst and Brda. There will be a wine tasting in Goriska Brda with the famous prosciutto from that region. Driving back to Ljubljana. Accomodation in hotel and free time for exploring one of the excellent restaurants in the Slovenian capital. Overnight stay.