Flavours of Slovenia

Vesna and Dušan ČarmanTraveling for work is much more enjoyable if you can fit in some gastronomic discoveries. This week in Slovenia I took my friends Harry and Vondelle to the Gostilna Pri Danilu, in Reteče near Škofja Loka, close to Ljubljana. I had written a few notes on my last visit there about a year ago on this blog. This time my friend Tomaž Sršen was away in Munich where he was attending a concert, so while enjoying my dinner he sent me an SMS from Munich: “Aerosmith rocks!”.

I am not sure if going to a place twice qualifies one as a “regular”, but that is certainly the way I felt when the Čarman family greeted us at the door. The new sommelier, Gregor, took care of us expertly as we navigated through the excellent gastronomic menu, theoretically a 5 course meal, but in fact three extra smaller dishes complete this generous panorama of traditional Slovenian cooking reinterpreted in a contemporary key. Of course, each dish is accompanied by a glass of Slovenian wine.

duet of rolled zucchini and troutWe began with a red Teran sparkling wine by Jazbec made from Refosco grapes in the Karst area, quite surprising to have a sparkler with cherry aroma, well balanced.

The first appetizer is a duet of rolled zucchini and trout well matched to a 2004 Malvazija by Korenika-Moškon, from the Istrian coast, the wine has a lot of character and rounds of the strong flavours of the delicious trout.

nettle soup in a bread cupNext is nettle soup in a bread cup, and of course you could eat the cup if you wanted to (and had the room for it). No wine is recommended but the Malvazija keeps performing well.

loška meštaAs I already know this dish, the loška mešta (polenta) with black truffles is served to my friends, while I have the asparagus and spinach gnocchi. Gregor suggests we drink a 2003 Chardonnay from the Vipava valley by one of my favourite winemakers, Mlečnik, who likes to make whites the old way, macerated on the skins, almost letting the wine make itself but never letting it get out of control, a tannic white of the kind that I have been calling “noir de blancs” for the last few years, with rich light amber colour and nice apple flavours.spinach and asparagus gnocchi

An elderberry sorbet with lemon zest is served to prepare us for the main dish, a beef slice with a young goat cheese sauce and thyme and vegetable mashed potatoes. I did remark to Gregor that I would have preferred to have the cheese on the side, however that is my own personal dislike of sauces on meats, and most people, especially here in France, would disagree with me. The cheese reminded me of the light fresh “tome” of provence prepared in the ancient way, with rennet as opposed to the industrial lactic method. Very good with a 2003 cabernet sauvignon Selekcija by Marjan Simčič matured in new oak in the Goriška Brda wine area.

chocolate dreamsThe dessert was exceptional, one of those trendy chocolate desserts that do not cook through and through and release their hot melted chocolate interior on first attacking them, yet the whole thing here was covered in toasted pumpkin seeds, and right next to it I discovered a parfait made with pumpkin seed oil, a very strong tasty specialty of the Styrian area of Slovenia. A glass of porto forms the classic match with the chocolate.

As we finish our meal, Gašper Čarman dropped in to say hello. Since he started his online wine business evino two years ago the business has boomed and he can no longer spend as much time managing his parents’ wine cellar, but he does show up regularly.

If your travel brings you to Slovenia you should not miss Vesna and Dušan Čarman’s restaurant, the food and wines are excellent and the service highly competent. Thanks again!

This entry was posted in Food and Wine and tagged carman, pri danilu, skofja loka, Slovenia on by .

About Mike Tommasi

~~~EN I live in Provence, around Bandol AOC, on the shores of the Mediterranean. My profession, which has nothing to do with wine or food, allows me to travel a lot, plus I am a volunteer organizer of Slow Food, so I organize food and wine events and I am lucky to have plenty of occasions to sample all the wonderful terroirs of the world. I created this blog as a community outlet for stories and information about wine and food, with a lot of help from my friends. ~~~FR Je vis sur le littoral de Provence, atour de l'AOC Bandol. Ma profession, qui n'a rien àvoir avec le vin ou l'alimentation, m'oblige à voyager loin et souvent ; en plus, en tant que bénévole de l'association Slow Food. Ainsi, j'organise pas mal d'événements oeno-culinaires, et j'ai la fortune d'avoir pas mal d'occasions pour découvrir toutes les bonnes choses issues des terroirs du monde entier. J'ai créé ce blog comme véhicule pour un groupe d'amis collaborateurs qui aiment raconter des histoires sur le vin et le bon manger. ~~~IT Abito in Provenza mediterranea, vicino alla AOC Bandol. La mia professione, che non ha nulla a che vedere con il vino o il mangiare, mi permette di viaggiare spesso e dappertutto, e in più sono un organizzatore dell'associazione Slow Food, quindi organizzo eventi eno-gastronomici e ho molte occasioni per scoprire gli eccellenti prodotti dei numerosi terroir del mondo. Ho creato questo blog come veicolo per una comunità di amici che amano scrivere sul vino e sul buon mangiare.

1 thought on “Flavours of Slovenia

  1. Vesna Carman

    Dear Mr. Mike.

    Thank you very much for a very nice description of our restaurant wich you have visited recently.

    Every time I read a compliment of our guest gives me happiness and lets me know that myself and my team have chosen the right path which we must follow.

    To get a compliment from you, is rewarding enough for the hard effords that we are putting into our work.

    Once again, Thank You and hope to see you soon.

    With regards,

    Vesna Carman

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