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An Epicurean Food Tour in Slovenia and Croatia: An Interview with Savor The Experience Tours

by Chung Jia Chyi

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If you’re planning to go on a holiday in Europe, we highly suggest for you to consider heading to these two European hidden gems: Slovenia and Croatia! These two wonderful destinations are famous for their breathtaking landscapes, fine wines and delicious world-class cuisines. The great news is you can enjoy them all in just 11 days!

Lucky for all of us, Andrew Villone from Savor The Experience Tours has recently curated an 11-day gastronomic tour of Slovenia and Croatia where we get to enjoy and discover the beauty of these two countries. This special culinary travel package offers us the opportunity to immerse in the culinary utopias at the very best time of the year - the harvest season. As an added bonus, we’ll also be given the chance to make a personal connection with the locals and learn about their culture through interesting insights and stories on their long established traditions.

Have we peaked your curiosity? Read on and find out more on what Andrew has to say about this truly unique epicurean holiday!


Image Credit: Luka Esenko


What makes this 11- day gastronomic tours in Slovenia and Croatia so distinctive? Why should one not pass up an opportunity to go on this particular holiday?

This tour is a special invitation into the local peoples’ place of work and passion that focuses on the history, winemaking traditions and culinary magic of both countries. Our guests will be given a lot more one-on-one time than with many other tours because we are working with small groups and generous hosts. They will visit local small-scale producers of wine, olive oil, prosciutto, cheese, honey and more. These producers will take them into their homes, show our guests how they do what they do, share their stories and then feed our guests with amazing meals, wines and other delicacies. In other words, this getaway, will give travelers a rare first-hand look into how the locals live their lives on a daily basis!


Image Credit: Luka Esenko


If one were to visit Slovenia and Croatia, what are the recommended, must-try authentic dishes and beverages?

I would say you must definitely try homemade gnocchi topped with goulash, lamb and potatoes slow-cooked under a metal dish sitting in the fireplace covered in embers, layered cake with walnuts, poppy-seeds and cottage cheese, a good bowl of soup, made from whatever vegetables are in-season, then drizzled with fresh olive oil or perhaps the distinct nutty flavor of pumpkin-seed oil.


A delicious plate of lamb cooked in ‘peka’ style in Croatia. Image Credit: Luka Esenko


When it comes to special beverages , there are many liqueurs and schnapps made from honey, fruits and herbs. The wine culture here is immense and there are autochthonous (indigenous) varietals to try such as the peppery Teran red wine of Slovenia’s Karst region, the crisp Malvazija of Istria and many variations of Slovenia’s Rebula, sometimes made as a macerated or ‘orange’ wine.


Could share with us about the interesting activities you have put together for this trip?


Image Credit: Luka Esenko


There’s many activities we have in store. For starters, we will be hunting for truffles with dogs trained to sniff them out. After spending some time in the forests of Istria (Croatia), our hosts will cook us a simple lunch using the truffles we found as well as their homemade olive oil. Then, there’s the very special lunch at a private goat farm we arrange which offers guests a private dining experience with more than a dozen amazing goat cheeses plus an ever-changing array of cooked dishes (Istrian sausages, seasonal stews, fresh fish). It’s a one of a kind experience that is simply not available for ordinary travelers to enjoy.


Image Credit: Luka Esenko


Another unique activity we have included in the itinerary is an entire day where we would spend with a local winemaker. Guests will have time to chat about the wine business, the history, philosophy as well as the challenges of producing quality wine in a valley where wind speed can reachover 175 km! In addition to tasting various delicious wines, we will also be having lunch at his home and meet with 2-3 local wine making neighbors to hear their stories and sample their products too!


Image Credit: Luka Esenko


Are there any particular reasons why the holiday has been arranged in late September and not on the rest of the year? Are Slovenia and Croatia much more beautiful during this time?

Autumn is indeed the best time of year to delve into food and wine in Slovenia and Croatia. Cooler temperatures whet the appetite, the fall colors are coming in to make those rolling hills and vineyards even that more inviting and picturesque. Plus, this is the time of the year when grape harvest has either just happened or is ramping up. Autumn is also perfect timing since most of what’s on the menu here is fresh and seasonal and this time of the year offers so much. Late spring is also a great time for these areas but as locals, we believe that late September or October is really the best time to visit!


Beautiful landscape view of the vineyards during Autumn in Istria, Croatia. Image Credit: Luka Esenko


What do you hope for those who have been a part of this Savor The Experience Tours holiday to take back home and remember most fondly?

We want all of our guests to come away from the tour with the feeling that every day brings something new and exciting, whether it’s a story from one of the wine producers or chefs we spent time with, a wine maker who opened his cellar and his soul to guests, a delicious new taste or a memorable culinary experience. We like to emphasize the ‘experience’ part of our name. Our focus is to offer people memorable experiences each and every day of the tour. At the end of a tour, we hope that our guests will bring homefond memories of all the little pieces put together – the people, the places, the atmosphere, and all the delicious flavors and tastes they enjoyed throughout their vacation with us.


Come and enjoy an incredible experience with Savor The Experience Tours. Image Credit: Luka Esenko


Thank you for taking the time to check out this article! To read more great content on food, wine and travel, please visit our blog section. If you’d like to take a peek at the variety of culinary holidays, vacations and getaways we have on offer in Europe, feel free to peruse through the scrumptious choices here!

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