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11 Days Food, Wine, and Traditions Harvest Tour of Slovenia and Croatia

Vipava Valley - Brda - Jeruzalem, Slovenia; Istria - Kvarner, Croatia

Traditional Wine and Food Tour Slovenia and Croatia

This 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. This is a special invitation into peoples’ place of work and passion that focuses on the history, wine making traditions, and culinary magic of these countries.

Highlights

  • 10 wine tastings in six different micro regions
  • Tastings of olive oil, honey, pumpkin oil, and truffles
  • Savor gourmet goat cheeses, olive oils, prosciutto, and handmade pasta
  • Go truffle hunting and enjoy a special truffle-themed lunch in the countryside after
  • Enjoy traditional home-cooked meals and local spirits at rustic, countryside eateries
  • 10 nights accommodation with en-suite bathroom
  • 10 dinners served with wine, and 8 lunches
  • Transport and private guide

Styles


10 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 10 participants
Airport transfer included: Trieste – Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport
Airport transfer available:
Venice Marco Polo Airport (US$75 per person)
Airport transfer included: Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport
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Accommodation

On this tour, you will be accommodated in bed and breakfasts and farmhouses, all with en-suite bathrooms. During your stay in Kvarner region, Croatia, enjoy the secluded view down to the Adriatic Sea from your hotel that holds a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Program

Over the past fifteen years of running small group tours to Slovenia and Croatia, guests routinely told Andrew how undersold the food and wine was. So he decided to create a tour to showcase the best food, wine, and culinary traditions while making sure guests get personally introduced to all this deliciousness by those that create them in their cellars, vineyards, and kitchens.

And there is 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.

Nearly two weeks of stimulating your taste buds can be a bit much. That is why Savor The Experience Tours are 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 their other tours, a maximum group size of ten guests lends itself to a more intimate travel experience served up with a genuine, personal touch.

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Intro to Slovenian wines and a very memorable welcome dinner

  • Overnight: Vipava Valley, Slovenia

Overview of Slovenian history, wine making, and geography, and intro to Vipava Valley’s predominantly white wines (Pinela, Zelen, and Malvazija) at Lepa Vida winery. Extravagant and imaginative welcome dinner at Zemono restaurant, Gault & Millau pick for Slovenia’s top restaurant.

Day 2: Young winemakers of Vipava and Karst regions

  • Overnight: Vipava Valley, Slovenia

Tour and tasting at one of the country’s premiere bio-dynamic winemakers, Guerila. Visit to hill town of Stanjel in the Karst region, a region dominated by air-dried prosciutto, bold red Teran wines, caves and stone houses. Tasting of Teran (fresh, aged, and barrique styles) and Vitovska (indigenous white of the Karst) at CV winery. Four-course dinner at Majerija restaurant / homestead, where you overnight in Vipava.

Day 3: Prosciutto, caves, and macerated wines

  • Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Tour of UNESCO-protected Skocjan caves, an amazing underground world featuring Europe’s deepest underground canyon. Typical Karst lunch at local family’s agriturismo who make virtually everything on the table, including a killer honey ice cream!

Arrive into Brda, Slovenia’s most prestigious wine region and get a great intro to the region’s flagship white, Rebula. Check into lodgings at a villa with patio opening up to rolling hills and olive groves. Five-course dinner paired with orange / macerated wines at Kabaj winery.

Day 4: Cross border tastings Italy and Slovenia

  • Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Optional visit to outdoor First World War museum before exploring the narrow streets of Brda’s most charming hill town, Smartno. Lunch of traditional white polenta in a sauce of prosciutto and peas with a surprise dessert that will prompt you to ask the chef for her recipe. Explore the originator of orange wines on the Italian side of Brda (known as Collio) at Radikon winery. Enjoy a wonderful array of comfort foods at a Slovenian family-run restaurant in Italy.

Day 5: Slovenia’s top sparkling wine and organic cheese

  • Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Start the day with Slovenia’s best sparkling wines and a tour of the region’s oldest cellar at Bjana winery. Mouthwatering cheeses (herbal, aged, and fresh cheeses) at Zoff, a BIO-certified dairy that also makes the regional cheese and potato soufflé called frico.

Explore an Italian city founded by none other than Julius Caesar himself and meet with a local Friulian family that helped save the most typical indigenous red wine of the region called Schioppettino. Arrive back in Brda for a home-cooked dinner and samplings of more wines.

Day 6: A taste of two Istria regions

  • Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

Visit to gorgeous little seaside town of Piran. Tour of olive orchard, followed by beautiful lunch overlooking Venetian salt flats. Cross into Croatia and check in to your hotel in the enchanting artisan hill town of Groznjan. Tuck into some refreshing semi-sweet Momjanski Muskat wine followed by a dinner grilled Istrian sausages, Boškarin (Istrian ox) ragu over melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi plus other regional delights at a rustic taverna.

Day 7: Goat cheese feast

  • Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

Get your taste buds ready for a wholly unique pairings of honey and wine - served as one spoonful together - from a great central Istrian winemaker who also keeps bees. Epic goat cheese feast at Kumparicka farm that is far off the tourist grid with home cooked stews, soups and tasty surprises, not to mention about a dozen types of soft and semi-hard goat cheeses to go with hot-out-of-the-oven bread. Consistently one of Savor The Experience Tours' guests’ favorite experiences on any of tours! Later afternoon, visit to historic Venetian town of Rovinj, Croatia’s most beautiful seaside town. Dinner on your own.

Day 8: Truffle food coma and chill out with a view

  • Overnight: Kvarner region, Croatia

Morning to browse the charming hill town of Motovun with glorious views all around. Then, you will head to the forests with a local woman and her dogs to sniff out and dig up truffles. Hopefully, you will find some truffles, but regardless, there will be a special truffle-themed lunch in the countryside.

Chill out with fantastic views down to the sea at our secluded hotel perched up on Mount Ucka near the Bay of Kvarner. Relax with your favorite wine and watch the sun go down over the Adriatic or take an easy walk to waterfalls through a quiet chestnut grove. Four-course seafood dinner in an elegant one-star Michelin restaurant, Draga di Lovrana.

Day 9: Štajerska wines and charms of Jeruzalem

  • Overnight: Jeruzalem village, Slovenia

Cross back into Slovenia to discover the oldest still-producing vine in Europe (400 years old) before an introductory tasting of wines from Slovenia’s Štajerska region and lunch at Joannes winery. Visit to Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest town situated on the Drava river.

Arrive into perhaps the most beautiful of all Slovenia’s micro wine regions - Jeruzalem. Meet with owner of Kupljen winery and taste his macerated and experimental twists on many of the classic wines of eastern Slovenia, not to mention his love of Star Wars that has made a mark on the wines. Dinner at his restaurant, surrounded by terraced vineyards.

Day 10: Farewell at Slovenia’s Chicken Head

  • Overnight: Jeruzalem village, Slovenia

Learn how Slovenes make the delicious nutty and smokey taste of pumpkin seed oil, the ubiquitous specialty of the region, a mill in. Chocolate tastings featuring local products in innovative and unusual combinations at a young couple’s shop. Tuck into regional specialties of what is affectionately known as the ‘chicken head’ of the country, Prekmurje. Taste dishes such as bograc, a spicier, thicker cousin to goulash, and gibanica, a multi-layered cake which seemingly has every ingredient packed into it, at the much heralded Gostilna Rajh.

Day 11: Departure

This is the end of the tour, it is time for you to catch your flight home or continue your journey.

Included excursions

  • Prosciutto and cheese tasting in Collio
  • Tour around Istria region (Groznjan, Motovun, Rovinj)
  • Tours in Slovenia (Prekmurje, Ptuj, Prlekija)
  • Tour of UNESCO-protected Skocjan Caves in Slovenia
  • Trip around Karst region (wineries, prosciutto factory)
  • Visit to Pula in Kvarner region
  • Visit to wineries and hill town of Smartno in the Brda region
  • Wine tastings in Vipava Valley

Location

This culinary tour will take place in Slovenia and Croatia.

Food

On this tour, you will be served ten dinners accompanied by local wines and eight lunches. Select group dinners are all handpicked by Savor the Experience Tours and are of good value and quality.

Cuisine from Brda

The cuisine you will experience in the region of Brda is influenced by a variety of culinary traditions (Slovene, Friulian, Habsburg) that have intertwined in this region, giving Brda cuisine a very special touch.

Draga di Lovrana hotel and restaurant in Croatia

The property stands at a surreal location on the very top of a mountain crest, with a magnificent view of the Kvarner Bay. The regular menu consists of 20 dishes, with extra 15 dishes dictated by the local market offer. Try the marinated shrimps with crud cheese, the frog fish fillet with olive oil and white wine emulsion, or the smoked gilthead sea bream fillet.

Groznjans fritule

Besides being a bohemian vibrant area, Groznjan is also a good place to find some fresh hot fritule which are Istria's delicious version of a doughnut.

Vipava Valley wines

The native varietals of this small region include Zelen and Pinela along with other whites and a few reds including Barbera and Merlot.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 10 wine tastings to local wine makers in six different micro regions
  • 9 breakfasts
  • 9 dinners accompanied by wine
  • 9 lunches
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • Ground transportation
  • Private guide
  • Tastings of olive oil, honey, pumpkin oil, and chocolate truffles
  • Go truffle hunting following truffle-hunting dogs for your next meal
  • Transfer from Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU) or Trieste - Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport (TRS)

What's not included

  • International airfare
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Additional drinks or courses not covered in the included meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at either of the following airports:

  • Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU): included in the price
  • Trieste - Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport (TRS): included in the price
  • Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE): 75 USD

Please send your inquiry if you are interested of further information.

It is suggested that you arrive a day before the tour starts as some flights or connections from the airport you fly into will get you in too late on day 1. The tour starts around noon.

Airport: Trieste – Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport Airport transfer included: Trieste – Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Venice Marco Polo Airport Airport transfer available: Venice Marco Polo Airport (US$75 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport Airport transfer included: Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 15% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
11 days / 10 nights
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Availability

Arrival: Thursday October 7, 2021
Departure: Sunday October 17, 2021

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