Discover the History and Gastronomy of Krško, Slovenia

Total Croatia News


Along with the esteemed Croatian Tourists Journalist Association, TCN headed to Krško Slovenia, for a two-day history and gastronomy tour on the 6th February 2017, organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Tourism (CPT) of Krško and associated Tourism and Muncipality Boards.

TCN has been fortunate enough to be invited on various gastronomy adventures throughout Croatia and surrounding region; they are always a highlight, so we of course jumped at the opportunity when a two-day tour through Krsko, Slovenia was presented. The tour was organised as a press opportunity for the Croatian Tourist Journalist Association and came with an esteemed group from various media outlets – Croatia Radio, Gastronaut President and members, BusinessIn, Taste Adriatic, just to name a few.


We hit the road from Zagreb at 10am and arrived less than an hour later (so it makes for a perfect day trip). Our first stop was the Rajhenburg Castle, where we were greeted with coffee, pastries and a very impressive assemblage of local officials including Representatives of the Municipality of Krško, Director of Regional Chamber, Economic Advisor to the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia and Representatives for Tourism in Krško and Slovenia. Ksenja Kragl for CPT proceeded to give us a presentation on the local tourism for Krško and surrounding areas.



Following this, Helena Rožman, the Director of Rajhenburg Castle gave us an in-depth guided tour of the Castle and its history. Helena’s passion and knowledge was evident throughout her presentation, describing the Castle as the “Pearl of Slovenia”, saying it is impressive not only because of its history, but also because after years of turbulence in the region, it still remains. The original structure of the Rajhenburg Castle is mentioned as early as the 9th Century, but it is from the 12th Century when Bishop Konrad of Salzburg had it renovated that its history truly flourishes.

The Castle was newly renovated in 2011, thanks to EU grants and it is a beautiful balance of tradition and history with exhibitions such as the Trapists monks who were famous for their chocolate and liqueurs, preserved renaissance frescoes, original interior woodwork in the ceiling and floors and various presentations of cultural significance, including Vinko Bavec – a professional photographer who was awarded a distinction for his photos from the Royal Yugoslav Family.





The Castle also has a touch of the modern, with brilliant spaces for a conference room (also used for weddings), modern and contemporary art and during summer it hosts a full program of activities from festivals to cinema under the stars.



Following our tour of the Rajhenburg castle, we were treated to a unique experience – a tasting of chocolate wine by the Kunej house of wine and chocolate. Yes, you read that correct – ‘chocolate wine’. Kunej has revived the chocolate traditions of the Trapist monks and during this revival created a completely new product by infusing wine with chocolate – Chocolat Impérial. In this unique process they have married two completely different professions, traditions and skillsets. The results (and awards) speak for themselves. The red wine is infused with dark chocolate and the white, of course, infused with white chocolate. Considering red wine and dark chocolate are two of my favourite things, I was curious to try and wasn’t disappointed, the dark chocolate could be felt on the final note of the rich, red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon with local Frankinje), my kind of desert!

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Since we had already had coffee, pastries, wine and a chocolate tasting, it was of course time for lunch! Unfortunately, the weather was a little grey and wet, so we couldn’t take in the beautiful setting, but this was short-lived; the second we walked inside ‘Gostilna Ribnik’ Restaurant, we were greeted by the warmth of a fire and wonderful hospitality of the owner and his team.


The family Dular has been working in the hospitality industry since 1986, what began as a small buffet has grown in popularity over the years to a guesthouse which has both a la carte menu and does events and weddings. Bogdan Dular was our host and presented a wonderful 4-course menu with matching wines from the Dular winery.


The lovely Metka Bradetić, from the Croatian National Tourist Board (Rep Office Slovenia) and Jacob Štunf, the Economic Adviser for the Embassy of Slovenia also joined us for lunch and made for great company. First course was a simple “farmer’s plate” of domestic smoked ham, horseradish cream, fresh shaved horseradish and slow-cooked eggs – matched with the Vina Dular, Sauvignon 2016. Followed by a choice of beef broth or mushroom soup, accompanied with Vina Dular, local grape Modra Frankinje, 2015. Main course was a filet of Smuča (perch) with creamed blitva (swiss chard) with pine nuts, resting on a bed of polenta, drizzled with local olive oil. Another simple, traditional dish, executed perfectly. Desert was a light and fluffy cheesecake, that was somewhere in between a cheesecake and tart, with mandarin cream and matched beautifully with the Vina Dular, Laški Rizling (Riesling), 2015. The whole menu, was executed equisitely, a fine balance of local cuisine with a modern, yet simplistic touch.

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You know it has been a good lunch when it finishes at 6pm! But there was no time to rest on our laurels, as our very ‘difficult’ day was not over yet, we still needed to have dinner!


Next, we took a slight tour into the selo (village) of Raka, resting further in the hills from Krško, where the hosts of Cvičkov Hram were awaiting. Cviček is a local wine and the house has been very playfully named ‘The Embassy of Cviček’ – as it promotes the wine Cviček, tourism, education and social events of the local winegrowers. The upper floor is now a museum made of oak logs, it has been made to represent a former house from the 18th Century, furnished according to traditions of winegrowers at the time.

raka wine


Following the theme of the day, we were of course greeted with more wine and food.

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The Cviček wine itself has a long history and is very interesting for a number of reasons. It is one of the few wines where mixing white and red grape varieties is allowed; the main ingredient is Žametna Črnina, which is a red grape variety and the oldest vine in Europe at a staggering 400 years old! This wine also has no specified mix, it is dependent on the town and winemaker. There are local songs and poems dedicated to the wine and it is so steeped in history and tradition that they even have Cviček ambassadors – this flattering title is awarded to those recognised for their work in viticulture and who promote the product, or, as my hosts explained – who can drink the most!

Our hosts were so extremely passionate and beyond excited to show us photos of the vine, medals, awards and share stories of the town and history. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the place. After trying a spread of fresh baked bread, the famous ‘Raka onion’ and onion soup, in walked a group of very well dressed men – “Lavrencij” – who performed local acapella songs (similar to Dalmatia Klapa). So, as the harmonies rose and the bubbles flowed, it was the perfect end to a wonderful first day.


Half of us finished the night at the City Hotel in Krško, the other half carried on to the Kunst Hotel, for a late night snack of local roasted pork and a night cap.

Day 2

After breakfast at our Hotel, we had a guided walking tour through the old town of Krško, where we visited the City Park with the Hočevar Mausoleum, the Mencinger House and City Museum. The Mencinger House and City Museum host impressive displays and collections through the centuries; including 16th Century frescoes, original furniture and architecture, to Mencinger, Valvasor, and displays from local sculptor Vladimir Stoviček, there is also a display dedicated to the youths from the region who lost their lives during WWI. Once again, I was impressed by just how much history this seemingly inconspicuous town boasts.

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Next stop was the Hiša Frankinje Kerin vineyards and wine cellar, which would prove to be one of my personal highlights. Once again, we were greeted with a burst of enthusiasm and contagious passion from the owner Lojze Kerin. After a small tour of the cellar, we enjoyed a tasting of their white, rose, Frankinje and vignac (brandy) straight from the barrels. The Vignac is not for the light-hearted, coming in at a less-than-modest 54% alc.

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It was a full family affair, as Lojze’s children were on hand helping out their father, bringing us fresh baked baskets of bread, while he regaled us with stories of the region and its history. His entertaining and cheeky sense of humour can easily be seen in their newest product – “First Lady”, in collaboration with local growers they have created a wine dedicated to First Lady Melania Trump who was born in the region. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try it, but I am sure it is all class…

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As we waved goodbye, we were on to our next and final stop for the trip – “Tri Lucke” (three lights) restaurant for another long lunch. Sitting high above the Sava river and nestled in amongst vineyards, Tri Lucke was about to be a sublime end to the two-day tour.

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We were welcomed by owners Igor and Andrea Zork and warmed with a tray of Kuhano Vino (mulled wine). After a tour of the venue, we went downstairs to the cellar where we were met with a glass of bubbles and canapés (I know, tough gig right?)The details of the room, décor and presentation of the food were delivered with style and elegance – a consistent theme throughout the whole dining experience.

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Lunch was served in a stunning room with a unique history; eyes couldn’t help but go immediately to the large, oak wooden beams – there is no way they were just placed there, so we knew there was a great story coming. The beams are the original remains from a wine press from 1874, it could produce 5,000 litres of wine in one go and is the largest of its kind in Europe. The building operated as a winepress for more than 100 years, then was transformed into a guesthouse from 1985. Igor and Andrea bought and renovated the premise in 2008, their passion, experience and style evident throughout.

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Our lunch was created and presented by Head Chef Dejan Mastinak who joined the team in 2016. First course was local red trout, with potato puree, trout caviar & parsley oil, accompanied with a selection of house-made breads: potato, barley and corn bread. Silvanec Zeleni, was the matched local wine. Second course was a beef tongue and apple salad amidst a cream of parsley soup with pumpkin oil. Main course was a slow-cooked pork belly (sous vide at 74° for 18 hours to be precise), ‘sarma’ (rice wrapped in cabbage), bean puree and slow cooked vegetables. Matched to this course was Zaren, Modra Frankinje Prestige 2011 – an incredibly rich, complex red, with heavy hints of oak, winner of a Silver medal in Slovenia and by far my favourite wine over the two days. Finally, desert was an apple tasting: apple ‘strudel’ with apple sorbet, soup and caramelized apple ‘chips’, this was paired with a Sremič Prestige, Laški Rizling.

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Lunch was exceptional, all locally sourced ingredients, each course a modern-take on traditional Slovenian food; the whole experince was a true credit to Igor, Andrea, Head Chef Dejan and their team.


After final speeches and presentations from our hosts and members of the Journalist Assoc, our two-day Slovenian history and gastronomy extravaganza came to an end. This article has been long enough, but in all honesty, this only captures a fraction of the experience, history and hospitality of our time in Krsko, Slovenia.

Huge thanks and recognition needs to go to the organisers of the tour, Frank Cesnovar and his team – Ksenje Kragl and Tanja Levstik Levičar from the CPT (Centre for Entrepreneurship & Tourism) for their incredible organisation of the entire affair. Also, a special mention to all of the journalists who came along – a wealth of professionalism and experience, it was a pleasure to meet you all and I am extremeley gratful for the warm welcome (especially being that I am the newest TCN member and my Croatian language skills are average at best).

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As for Krsko, I came knowing only that it has a nuclear power plant (which of course could easily put people off), but I left with a true sense of the town. After all my years in hospitality and globe-trotting, it is my belief, that to truly understand a country and its people, you need to sit around the dinner table with them; and as Tina Cubrilo said in her thankyou speech – “these tours are more than just what we see, it is about what we feel” and there is no doubt in my mind that everyone left with fond memories and a sense of the spirit of Krško and Slovenia.


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