Duration: 26 Oct 2017 - 06 Nov 2017
Location: Slovenia, Croatia
Price: $3850 USD
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Harvest Tour is a one of a kind opportunity to sit down and talk with the generous and hospitable owners, wine makers and local producers in their cellars, houses, restaurants, shops and mills. A special invitation into peoples’ place of work & passion that focuses on the history, wine making traditions and culinary magic of these countries.

Over the past nine years running small group tours to Slovenia and Croatia, guests routinely told us how undersold the food and wine was. So we decided to create a new tour that is designed to showcase the best food, wine and culinary traditions that these diverse regions have to offer. And there’s no better time of year to immerse in this culinary utopia than the harvest season. Most of the tourists have gone home, the leaves are turning color, vineyards are being harvested and the smell of wood stoves and heavenly aromas float through the cool air. This unique tour features a variety of home-cooked dinners, a few very special five-course meals, strolls in the beautiful wine country, ten wine tastings and an array of other tastings including honey, olive oil, jams, fruits and truffles.

Eleven days of stimulating one’s taste buds can be a bit much. That’s why we’re leaving time for curious guests to back away from the kitchen table and go explore castles, stroll through old Venetian towns, discover colorful frescoes in tiny churches and make a personal connection between the food, the land and its people. Like with other Roads Less Traveled tours, a maximum group size of ten guests lends itself to a more intimate travel experience served up with a genuine, personal touch.

 

    • • Celebrate the start of your gastro experience with a five-course lunch in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region

      • Soak in the atmosphere at a converted 13th century chateau with sparkling wine tastings and dinner

      • Indulge your sweet tooth with local cream cakes, honey ice cream and hand made chocolate truffles

      • Enjoy traditional home-cooked meals, prosciutto tasting and local spirits at rustic farmhouse in the Karst region

      • Savor  gourmet goat cheeses, olive oils, baked quince and more treats in Croatia’s Istria region

      • Discover delicious pumpkin seed oil, micro brews, smoked meats in eastern Slovenia’s bucolic villages

      • Learn all about the traditions of wine making with local vintners in diverse regions of Brda, Karst, Vipava, Istria and Prekmurje

  • October 26th – November 6th, 2017

    For a different preferred start date or request for a private tour (4-10 people), please contact us for scheduling and price quote.

  • $3850

    11 dinners (wine included), 11 lunches, 11 nights lodging at B&B and farmhouses (en-suite), 10 wine tastings, tastings of olive oil, honey, pumpkin oil and truffles, transport, private guide, transfers to/from airport.

  • Slovenian farmhouses from NY Times

    Kabaj Morel Wines ranked in Top 100 Wineries in the world.

    Kumparicka goat cheese farm in Istria

    History of  Draga di Lovrana Hotel situated near Kvarner Bay, Croatia 

 

Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Slovenia! Five course lunch paired with wines in the country’s premier wine making region of Brda.

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

Departure from your hotel in Ljubljana at 9AM. On the way to our destination we’ll pay a visit to the castle of Predjama, tucked away in a honeycomb of limestone caves. Then it is off to the vineyards, orchards and winding country roads of Brda. A very special 5-course ‘slow-food’ lunch at our guesthouse – includes wine tasting and lasts about three hours. 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. After the meal we will tour the family’s wine cellar and learn about wine making traditions and methods including the use of amphoras (known as qveri in their native Georgia). A unique amber wine is produced after the juice spends 11 months next to the skins inside the amphore. Their winery was recently put on the list of 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits Magazine.

Day 2: Local specialties: olive oils, ricotta cheeses, white polenta and sparkling wines.

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

Awake to a breakfast out on the patio overlooking vineyard and hill towns. Then we’ll start on our tasting of Brda specialties in many of the various towns and villages. First a trip to cellars located in Visnajvic, the birthplace of Rebula wine, the quintessential wine of this region. Of the 2000 hectares of vineyards here in Brda, 25% are Rebula.  Erzetič winery works with amphora to produce a line of orange wines. We’ll taste these unique wines as well as wines made in a more traditional manner. Brda is the northern most point in Europe where olive trees grow and we’ll visit a local olive oil producer for tasting of oils. Lunch in the walled medieval hill town of Smartno.

After lunch, take a stroll through the oldest olive tree plantation and then up to a viewpoint tower to take in picturesque panoramas of Brda. Later in the afternoon we will hop over the border into Italy, where the region is known as ‘Collio’. We will taste prosciutto crudo, smoked in cherry wood and laurel before visiting a farm to sample freshly made ricotta and caciotta cheese flavored with wild herbs and flowers. This evening’s dinner together will be at a chateau built by the counts of Gorizia in the 13th century. It’s now the home to Bjana Winery, one of the finest sparkling wine producers in Slovenia. We’ll tour the wine maker’s cellar, learn about the traditional method of sparkling wine (where secondary fermentation takes place in bottles) and enjoy his wife’s delicious home cooked meal.

Day 3: Treasures of the Karst: Teran wines, air-dried prosciutto and medieval stone  hill towns.

Overnight: Karst, Slovenia

Depart Brda and travel to the Karst region known for its limestone caves and iron-rich teran wines. Tour of medieval hill town Stanjel to see its art gallery and pretty Ferrari gardens. Tasting and tour at Karst prosciutto factory followed by lunch at rustic countryside stone house. Afterwards, a visit to Rencel winery which has been making amber/orange and macerated wines before they were so fashionable. Tasting of local goat cheeses with Rencel’s own balsamic vinegar. Dinner at rustic farmhouse owned by the Skerlj family. Their house specialty is a beefsteak with prosciutto (Kraški pršut) in local teran wine sauce. Just make sure to save room for the family’s impossible-to-say-no-to homemade honey ice-cream!

Day 4: Wine maker’s tour of Vipava Valley.

Overnight: Karst, Slovenia

Enjoy a one of a kind opportunity to sit down and talk shop, technique and business with Matjaz, our local winemaker. The native varietals of this small region include Zelen and Pinela along with other whites and a few reds including Barbera and Merlot. Lunch will be at Gostilna pri Lojzetu – which features Tomaž Kavcic, arguably Slovenia’s top chef, a spectacular setting and quite imaginative presentations. We’ll also learn the history of Vipava at the small village of Goce and then taste some superb bio-dynamic wines at nearby Guerila winery. Dinner back at the Skerlj farmhouse. Afterwards, our hosts will tell the story of their 400 year old property and let us sample grappa and liquors in their prosciutto-drying cellar.

Day 5: Istrian hill towns, Mediterranean herbs and a specially prepared lamb dinner.

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

As we enter into Croatia’s Istria region we’ll visit charming hill-town of Groznjan. 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. Visit to an Istrian arboretum with indigenous, healing and aromatic Mediterranean herbs. A special place for an organic lunch with arguably the most gorgeous views of the Adriatic. Check into our hotel in the small medieval town of Bale. Then cap off the day with a traditional dinner of lamb and veal cooked under a metal bell (known as ispod peka in Croatia).

Day 6: Truffle hunting in the forests of Istria.

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

Enjoy exploring Istria’s most famous and picturesque town of Motovun. Then meet up with a local for a unique experience — hunting for truffles in the forests with truffle-sniffing dogs. Hopefully we will find some truffles but regardless there will be a special truffle-themed lunch at the local’s home. Afternoon to meet a young Frenchmen whose Croatian heritage brought him to start Piquentum Winery. Tasting of his Istrian Teran and classic white Malvasia. Walking tour of Rovinj. This seaside town carries a Venetian past and is hands down the region’s most charming place. Leisure time to explore art shops & galleries and browse the outdoor market or get lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Dinner in Rovinj.

Day 7:  Roman ruins and goat cheese heaven.

Overnight: Kvarner region, Croatia

Morning tour of Pula, Istria’s largest city that is loaded with rich history spanning over two millennia. Sights include a visit to Pula Arena, the largest Roman amphitheatre outside of Italy, and temples dating from second century AD. Very special lunch awaits us in a small hamlet hidden from the tourist roads. This goat farm makes gourmet cheeses – both semihard cheeses and fresh cheeses and serves up a feast that includes home cooked soup, specialty sausages and fish. And there is the smorgasbord of cheeses – nearly 20 different kinds! By late afternoon we arrive in Croatia’s Kvarner region. Our hotel is situated seemingly half way up a mountain with magnificent views down on Kvarner Bay and up to Mt. Ucka. Built when this land was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, it has been beautifully restored after being closed for some 80 years. Dinner at hotel.

Day 8: Day to rest, relax, recharg and detox.

Overnight: Kvarner region, Croatia

Guests can choose to lounge around the hotel, taking beautiful views of Cres Island and Kvarner Bay on the Adriatic. Or they can do easy walks to waterfalls or longer hikes for 2-3 hrs around Mt. Ucka. There are also the historic Habsburg spa towns of Lovran and Opatija to explore and enjoy a grand old coffee house or walk along the boardwalk. Back at the hotel we will organize our own ‘souvenir’ happy hour. This will be a good opportunity to open up and taste our wines, liquors, snacks and other food items that we’ve have purchased along the tour. After our popouri tasting, guests can enjoy A la carte dining with a view from the hotel balcony.

Day 9: Bucolic charms, chocolate truffles and pumpkin seed oil in Slovenia’s eastern most region.

Overnight: Eastern Slovenia

We drive back to Slovenia and head east, close to the Hungarian border to the land of Prekmurje where we will have a traditonal lunch of cold cuts, veggies, hearty breads, local white wines and to top it off – innovative and amazingly delicious chocolate truffles. Visit to a small family run mill that produces the region’s ubiquitous pumpkin seed oil (tasting at mill). We’ll try a variety of distilled drinks and enjoy a 3-course dinner at our hotel in a small countryside village.

Day 10: Micro brews, Slovenia’s oldest town and Prlekija’s best wines.

Overnight: Eastern Slovenia

Morning detour  into Austria to visit a fantastic micro-brewery, owned by a Slovenian. Enjoy a tour of the facilities while sampling five of their award-winning craft beers. Lunch and guided tour of  the country’s oldest town, the charming  Ptuj. Tastings of great sparklings and whites at Kogl Winery. Then we’ll make our way to the region of Prlekija, tucked away in rolling vineyards of southeastern Slovenia near the Croatian border. This small region might just be Slovenia’s most scenic wine growing region with its bucolic charm, terraced vineyards and small churches dotting the hillsides. Delicious five-course dinner at a nearby village should leave everyone happy and certainly no one hungry.

Day 11: Lake Bled, cream cakes and gingerbread hearts.

Overnight: Radovljica, Slovenia

After breakfast we head to our final destination, Slovenia’s mountainous Gorenjska region. This is home to the fairy-tale setting of Lake Bled which is surrounded by the Julian Alps and a cliffside castle (perfect for the postcard photos) . A very special home made lunch with Monika, a Bled local who makes her own cheeses, dried meats, Slovenian’s breads and cakes, herbal & fruit liqueurs and beer!! Plus a visit to Monika’s family museum filled with lace works and historic items from this region of Slovenia. Learn the history and secrets of a local Slovenian beekeeper followed by a tasting of various honeys. We’ll try to squeeze in a slice of the famous cream cake (Kremšnita) before we enjoy a ride on a wooden boat takes us out to tiny Bled island. Late afternoon arrival in the small medieval town of Radovljica where a family tradition of gingerbread making still exists. A farewell dinner of hearty Gorenjska fare (pumpkin soup, stuffed sausages, roast potatoes) with plenty of strong drinks to wash it all down.

Day 12: Transfer to airport / End of Harvest Tour