(Option: Customized Itineraries)
Slovenia/Croatia - 7 nights
Available year round
Enjoy a night out in the capital as you eat where the locals do during a comprehensive ‘foodie’ walk of Ljubljana. Savour five courses of regional specialties paired with award-winning wines in beautiful Goriska Brda. Check out a 1000 year-old castle and taste traditional cakes by gorgeous Lake Bled. Sniff around for truffles in the forests of Croatia with specially trained dogs. Roll out traditional fresh pastas and create dishes with herbs, locally-sourced foods and olive oils and top it all off with some terrific wines that you’ve never tasted before.
Slovenia is often dubbed ‘Europe In Miniature’ for its small but diverse offerings such as ancient historic castles, tiny Venetian-esque seaside towns, rolling hills covered in vineyards, shimmering glacial lakes and majestic alps. There’s a certain air of authenticity here that sometimes goes missing from such larger European destinations. The country’s culinary delights and wines reflect this too. And when it comes to food, Slovenia is fresh, seasonal, delicious and production is on a small-scale.
Slovenia has been re-discovering its cuisine, while absorbing trends and innovations from Europe and around the world. Here you can find winemaking regions dating back to Roman times where now young wine makers experiment with new techniques on indigenous varietals with amazing results.
The country offers very traditional, simple dishes with innovative twists like honey or taragon cakes, white polenta topped with wild boar goulash, beefsteak cooked with prosciutto and local ruby red Teran wine or their version of an omelette lovingly made with fresh herbs and wild asparagus.
Take time to come sit down and talk with Slovenian wine makers, chefs and local producers in their cellars, farms and kitchens and taste a multitude of homemade creations.
Airport transfer to your charming pension, just a five minute walk to the lovely Lake Bled.
You will welcomed with a special home made lunch at a farmhouse with a local who makes her own bread, traditional cakes, herbal liqueurs and beer and serves them up with local cheeses and a variety of dried meats.
Today you will learn the importance of beekeeping in Slovenia and get an insider’s knowledge on the history, secrets and science with a local beekeeper followed by a tasting of various Slovenian honeys and honey brandy.
Visit the medieval town of Radovljica to see the beekeeping museum with unique folk art. You will have a short tour to learn about the traditions of decorative gingerbread making followed by a hearty welcome dinner at rustic Slovenian eatery.
Overnight at pension.
Welcome to Slovenia!
Today you will have a visit to Bled Castle overlooking Lake Bled. Enjoy gorgeous views down to the lake and Julian Alps that surround it. At over one thousand years old, it is Slovenia’s oldest castle.
Food tells stories and food is made by people. Explore the charming old town core of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, and at the same time get introduced to its varied culinary delights. This special foodie walking tour by a life-long local will let you stop and taste at independent, locally owned and non-touristy eateries of Ljubljana downtown and converse with owners, baristas and chefs about what makes them do what they do. From lip-smacking comfort food to high-end hidden gems, Ljubljana has it all, and it’s yours to discover.
Following this you will have a 2 hour baking class at a shop in Ljubljana’s old town to learn the art of Potica. Potica is baked in special baking dishes which reflect the local folk’s genuine creativity and comes in the shape of a ring or circular loaf. There are at least fifty recognized variants, which differ according to the filling (walnuts, hazelnuts, honey, poppyseeds, tarragon just to name a few).
Option to enjoy dinner in Ljubljana or have dinner back at Bled. Your tour guide will give you recommendations for eateries in either place you choose.
Depart Bled and drive down to western Slovenia’s Karst region, famous for its stone hill towns, caves, air-dried prosciutto and bold red wine called Teran. Tour around beautiful little Karst hill town of Stanjel and visit with a local family who will show you the technique of proper prosciutto and mortedelo slicing with a classic 70 year-old meat slicer. You will have tastings of meats served with locally produced Teran wine.
With your guide, you will continue on toward the Croatian border but will stop at a private house that is home to the Slow Food guru of Slovenia’s Istria region. Discover new culinary ideas from this family at their Mediterranean herbal garden.
Then enjoy tastings and a lunch of local cheeses, vegetables and specially-made jellies and salts infused with herbs and wine. Head to the garden to pick seasonal ingredients and incorporate Istrian flavors and new culinary ideas at a private cooking class to create tonight’s dinner.
Cross over into Croatia with an overnight at your second accommodation, a B&B, in a small town renowned for its Muscat and Malvasija white wines.
You will visit the charming hill-town of Groznjan this morning. Once nearly abandoned, this town has now been transformed into an artists colony. It’s now bustling with artists galleries, handmade jewelry shops and gourmet food shops. It’s also a good place to find some fresh hot Fritule which are Istria’s delicious version of a doughnut.
Head to the Istrian forests with a family that has a truffle cottage and a group of dogs to sniff out and dig up truffles. Hopefully we will find some truffles but regardless there will be a special truffle-themed lunch in the countryside cottage with fresh truffles on pasta, plus the family’s delicious olive oil and wines.
Then browse the iconic hill town of Motovun which offers glorious views of nearby vineyards, forests and tiny hill towns. Tuck into grilled Istrian sausages, ragu (made from a local ox called Boškarin) over melt-in-your-mouth hand-made pastas and gnocchi (or other regional delights) at a rustic taverna next to your B&B.
Overnight at your B&B.
Morning visit to the historic port town of Pula on the coast. The city has Roman temples dating back to 2nd century BC and the largest colosseum outside of Italy.
All the ingredients will be sourced on Pula’s local green and fish market. Lesson includes the meal that you cook and a bottle of wine. What we will make: juha, traditional chicken soup, Žgvacet, a traditional Istrian gulasch made with beef, chicken, tomatoes and wine and prepare several types of traditional Istrian fresh pastas such as fuži and pljukanci.
In between all the hard work enjoy a walk through an olive grove and try local sheep and goat cheeses along with several varieties of olive oils.
In the late afternoon you will have a tour of Rovinj, Istria’s most charming seaside town that proudly displays its Venetian influences. Time to explore art shops and galleries and a labyrinth of cobblestone streets. Dinner at your own in Rovinj.
Third overnight at your B&B.
Today you will travel back to Slovenia and into the Vipava Valley where strong burja winds can blow up to 175 km/hr, adding an additional challenge to wine making here. Learn the history of wine making in this valley and the nitty-gritty of the wine business as we hang out with an expert winemaker and try his line of Pinto Noir and Pinot Gris.
Head off to the vineyards, orchards and winding country roads of Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premiere culinary and wine region. Indulge in a five-course ‘slow-food’ lunch paired with wines at a winery which continually ranks on the list of 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits Magazine. Our hosts serve each dish with one of their wines. The variety of culinary traditions (Slovene, Friulian, Habsburg) have intertwined on this strip of land, giving Brda cuisine its special touch.
Arrival at a family home (a converted 13th century chateau) of local sparking wine makers, the best in Brda. Tour the wine maker’s cellar (at over 700 years old, it is the oldest in this region), learn about the traditional method of sparkling wine (where secondary fermentation takes place in bottles) and tastings of 4 different sparkling wines with light finger food.
Overnight at chateau.
Take a stroll through the oldest olive tree plantation (Brda is the northern most point in Europe where olive trees grow.) and then up to a viewpoint tower to take in picturesque panoramas of Brda. In the walled medieval hill town of Smartno (which has the border between Venetian and Habsburg empires in the past), enjoy a tasting and discussion of various olive oils followed by lunch of white polenta with a sauce of prosciutto and peas and for a dessert a chocolate cake with orange and olive oil.
Introduction to orange wines (longer maceration or white wine varietals made in red styles) and learn about ancient wine making methods using clay amphorae (or qvari as they are called in their native Georgia) at a family winery in a village recognized for their white Rebula varietal. You can do a side by side comparison of Rebula made in a traditional way vs. Rebula done in orange-style.
Afternoon we hop over the border into Italy, where the region is known as Collio. We will tour a BIO dairy farm and sample freshly made ricotta and mozzarellas plus their specialty called caciotta flavored with different wild herbs. Coffee and walk through the cute Italian town of Cividale d’Friuli, which has interesting architecture and history but without the tourists like so many other places in Italy.
Farewell dinner back in Goriska Brda at local wine maker’s house and overnight.
Breakfast and transfer to airport or train station.
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc.
*Menus are samples and may vary according to the season
A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 6 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airports/Train Stations:
Airport: Ljubljana - 22 miles/30 minutes to first accommodation
Train Station: Ljubljana - 35 miles/45 minutes to first accommodation
*Please inquire about lower pricing based on 4 or more persons
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a 30% deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.
*All breakfasts and lunches
*Five (5) dinners (with wine)
*Two (2) hands on cooking classes
*One (1) baking class
*Transport during the entire tour
*Tranfers from/to Ljubljana Airport or Ljubljana Train Station
Airfare and personal expenses are not included.
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Furnished upon request