Shortly after our arrival in Slovenia, our team met with local friends in the capital city of Ljubljana for a traditional dinner of goulash. As we talked over our plans for the week, one of our Slovene friends recommended we stop by her brother-in-law’s winery in the Kras region of Slovenia. After a brief description of what we could expect at Jordan’s home, we were excited to add this opportunity to our plans. This kind of local lead is exactly what we look for when planning a Niteo Tour.
We arrived at Jordan’s home in a small village around lunchtime and after warm introductions, he quickly slipped into the kitchen and returned with plates and bowls of “simple” traditional Slovene food. Among the delicious samplings was a flavorful bean and sauerkraut soup called Jota, a regional alpine cheese called Tolmin, locally dried meats of prosciutto and pancetta, boiled eggs soaked in red wine, and the onion and sausage bread his mother made (our favorite). After the feast was laid out on the tables (a couple of wine barrels turned on end) our host provided a great summary of what would be our experience: “Kras is always portrayed in simplicity – good food and good wine.”
Simplicity never tasted so good!
The Kras region, where Jordan lives, is a small area of land that extends across the border of southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy (only 40 km long and 20 km wide). Its proximity to the Adriatic coastal winds, along with the plateau Kras occupies, creates a unique microclimate that is very suitable to producing undeniably good vegetables, dried meats, and wine.
Jordan is perhaps most proud of the Teran wine his family has produced on this land over many generations. It is known for its robust and fruity flavor and deep red (almost purple) color. Because of the minerals present in the soils of Kras (including high levels of iron), Teran is believed to have healing properties as well. Jordan shares a few anecdotes from antiquity and recent research that supports his claims that consuming this wine leads to longer life, lower cholesterol, and younger skin.
While Teran is produced in small quantities and is thereby limited in its distribution, it has its dedicated international followers who travel to this small village from places as far away as Russia and New Zealand, and as near as Italy, to purchase Jordan’s wine. As if on cue, a trio from Italy arrive just as we are finishing up our meal. They join us at the table and are eager to rediscover Teran and catch up with our host on a return trip to Slovenia.
After two hours of sampling what this region has to offer through the passion and hospitality of our host, we are certain that this is exactly the kind of local experience we want Niteo travelers to encounter on their tour… and a local connection made it possible.
What does our team look for when we sample tour venues and chase down leads?
We do the work of sampling everything we offer our clients and only some venues and experiences make the cut. Here are a few criterion we use for evaluating the opportunities:
- Is the host warm, engaging and knowledgeable?
- Is the experience local, unique to that region, and culturally relevant?
- Is the venue removed from high tourist traffic?
- Is there something “hands on” that our clients can experience?
- Does the client walk away feeling like they have spent their limited time wisely?
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