Bled, Slovenia for the weekend
After watching some of the World Rowing Championships on TV this summer I had to add Bled to my list of must see destinations, and now I'm heading there this weekend. I'll also be partaking in my first "Glamping", but that's a different topic on a different board no doubt.
There's only one other recent post for Slovenia which does mention Gostlina Lectar (10 mins from Bled) but I hoped there might be some other suggestions/recommendations. I'm open to pretty much any cuisine as long as it's "Chow worthy" but would lean to Slovenian / local first. I'll have a car and I'm willing to drive for the right meal.
Any wine varietal recommendations that are distinctly Slovenian or particularily well produced in Slovenia, would also be appreciated.
On the drive to Bled we're going to stop in Graz, Austria to spend one night and half a day, I would also appreciate any dinner or lunch recommendations here. The same parameters as above leaning to local cuisine, price is not really an issue.
re: Euro Kevin
I second Gostilna Rupa -- this is a favorite place, though Srednja vas can be a bit hard to find. Once you get there, you can enjoy extraordinary views from across the street from the restaurant. In the summer, the outdoor dining is divine. Highly recommended. The food is deep Alpine/Central European -- lots of meat, sauces made with meat stock and (in season) mushrooms. The ajdovi krapi are a sort of buckwheat dumpling and are a local specialty. Don't leave this place without trying some.
Slovenia produces some extremely fine wines, by any international standards - dry and sweet whites and reds (esp. Pinot Noir) - take a look here, http://www.suestyle.com/articles/2010..., for recommendations. You can visit and taste at any of the domaines mentioned, or just look out for their wines on wine lists. Can't help on Bled (where Tito used to spend his summer hols, apparently), but if you go east to Gorizia you'll find tons of good places, restaurants, hotels and wineries (all in the article)
A couple of weeks ago the roads to Bled were very crowded. It looked like the Russian River Valley on the 4th of July. We ended up at La Subida on the Italian side of the border. The owners are Slovene and many of the dishes were Slovenian in nature, but I am not sure that any place is going to be pure Slovene in the area around the border. The food and wines were excellent.
We had an excellent meal in Sankt Michael just north of Graz at Gasthof Eberhard. Styrian cuisine.
Back from Graz, AT and Bled, SLO, it was a great long weekend although lacking in true culinary adventures.
The only meal we had was breakfast, while touring through the daily market near the Opera house. I must say that is one amazing market, I wasn't sure if it's just because it's autumn and harvest season or if it's that good year round. I was staggered by the cheeses, cured meats, huge selection of fruit and vegetables, fish (fresh and smoked)... I could go on. Surrounding the market are permanent stalls with wine bars, cafes butchers, bakers and other such small establishments, again all with great looking products and produce.
I'd actually have to knock this particular market above the Naschmarkt in Vienna simply becuase of the freshness and variety of produce. I find a fair few of the vendors in the Naschmarkt are opening cans/jars/bottles to lay out products and not producing them themselves.
We stayed at Camping Bled, in one of their "glamping" units, which equaled a queen size bed in an "A" frame cabin, just enough room to turn around and get into bed but brand new and very clean. Most of the units also had a private wood fired hot tub for two which was great on the chilly nights we had there. We did have dinner at the restaurant on site, listed as an added bonus, but in reality not the best food going. My wife had the mushroom soup and traditional cevapcici while I had the goulash and weinerschnitzel with cheese dumplings. Both soups were very good, the mushroom was not creamy but had an excellent broth. The cevapcici were fairly greasy and lacked any spiciness that we thought was inherant in the dish. The schnitzel was quite thick compared to versions in the Czech Republic and Austria and lacked the delicate melt in your mouth quality that better schnitzels have. In addition we were the only diners that night which was a little disconcerting and lonely. I would bet the place is packed during the summer high season.
Breakfast the next day was at the restaurant attached to the rowing centre at the end of the lake opposite from the town of Bled. We were starving by the time we headed out for breakfast and as the rowing club was near the campground and we assumed experienced feeding large quantities of food to rowers, that we'd be well fed. We were not wrong on this point although we missed the breakfast menu and had to settle with the lunch/dinner menu. We both had the mushroom soup to start and then I tried the cevapcici and my wife a picante pizza from the wood fired oven. The cevapcici were again fairly greasy and lacking much flavour other than meat, I had expected something more like a kofte after reading other descriptions online. The pizza as very good and massive, we assumed for 6 Euro it would be a personal pizza but it was a family pizza. In the end it worked well because half the pizza turned into dinner for me later that evening.
Breakfast our final day was at the lakeside Villa Preseren where we had stopped the day before for a glass of wine while walking around the lake. Beautiful views from the patio onto the lake here, although service is very slow and inattentive. For breakfast we both had the "Viennese" which was a soft boiled egg, cheese, ham, bread, juice and coffe... not a bad spread for 10 Euro. The breakfast hit the spot and got us going for our walk down the gorge followed by a longer than required drive home (thank you useless GPS).
I would like to spend more time in Graz as it appears to have a good food culture, Bled would be nice to visit again but it would be the scenery and camping that would draw me back more quickly than the food. Part of the reason we didn't eat out more was nothing really grabbed our attention or palates. We opted not to drive while we were there, even though we had the car, simply because the walking was excellent. If we return I think driving to explore more of the villages around Bled, and their restaurants, would be a major requirement.