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April 2018

Despite it being Friday 13th, we set out for Count Blagaj’s Land in anticipation of an interesting day and we were not disappointed.

Thanks to sat-nav we arrived on time at Sirarstvo Orešnik and the assembled group of visitors were given a tour of the farm. We were treated to the sight of a minutes old kid being cleaned by its mother and taking shakily to it’s feet for the very first time. A huge ‘ahhh’ moment for all concerned.

The farm was started from scratch more than 20 years ago and has been making goat’s and sheep’s milk products for this time. We were presented with a table of home produced cheeses, fresh from the oven bread and herb tea. The dedication to the production is clear in the quality of the tasty dishes set before us. These included Caramelised Pear with Goats Cheese en papillote to a home recipe which was delicious. All too soon it was time to move on.

While in Šentjošt we stopped to look at one of the oldest buildings in the village. It has undergone major renovation to a high standard and is now tourist apartments. A blend of old and new has been skilfully done.

Our next stop was not far away at all.A few minutes and we were arriving at the attractive Gostišče Grič. Inside we were shown to the upstairs restaurant and served an excellent lunch. The ingredients are almost all locally grown on their own farm and foraged from the local countryside.

The quality of the dishes was exceeding high. The flavours, textures and appearance showed that the kitchen includes some special ingredients so often missing – love and respect for the ingredients and the way they are grown and produced. Chef Luka Košir came and talked about the food, restaurant and ethos of Grič. Clearly a chef with a passion for food and giving his guests the very best. We left feeling full and satisfied.

On to The House of Honey Božnar which is in sight of our final destination of the day, Polhov Gradec. An interesting talk about honey production in Slovenia, the Slovenian Grey Bee and the upcoming 26th Days of Honey in May and World Bee Day which happens on the birthday of Anton Janša, May 20. To know more check out go www.boznar.si .

There then followed a tasting of various honeys, a chance to try our hands at candle making and also some cosmetic products based on honey. Even though we thought we were full of food, there was a small corner to put honey! So many flavours and textures to try!

Our last port of call was Polhov Grad and our hosts were none other than Count Blagaj and the Countess! They welcomed us and we were treated to a musical interlude at the spectacularly Baroque chapel in the castle. Then, tea! Fresh herb tea and cake and a presentation about the very special Daphne flower found on the hillside opposite. The Count presented a delightful recording by the children of the local school which explained about the Daphne and some other history.

To sum up. We had a highly calorific time in Count Blagaj’s Land and would recommend it to visitors. The rolling hills of the area make for a romantic backdrop and the welcome we experienced was warm. Would we recommend a visit to Count Blagaj’s Land? Most certainly, we will be going back, for sure.

Diane and Colin Hayes

Photos: Diane & Colin