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Northern Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia Food Adventure

With Ben Sukle


Departing: September 24, 2024

Three countries and countless culinary delights await you on this nine-day journey across Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. You’ll wind your way from Slovenia’s charming capital, Ljubljana, with its European flare, to Trieste, Italy – a rich mix of the surrounding cultural influences – before finishing in Croatia, with its preserved medieval towns and breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park. From local eateries to a goat farm, street vendors to cake-filled corner shops and cafes smelling of coffee, you’ll sample local delicacies like strudel, kremna rezina, fritaja. Let the food serve as your storyteller as it relays to you the rich history and traditions of the Adriatic coastal towns and the cobblestoned alleys of the places you visit.

8 days, from

$4,999

Price is in USD per person.

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
11 spots left or call 1-844-565-0453
Trip code: 16531
In partnership with Oberlin

This is an exclusive departure and bound to sell out – book your adventure now!

About Your Host

Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, Benjamin Sukle got his start in the industry as a dishwasher and bun loader at Red Robin. After attending Johnson & Wales University for culinary school, Sukle made his way to Noma in Copenhagen, staging at the acclaimed restaurant, but he knew that Rhode Island was where he wanted to settle. He returned to the Ocean State and after opening three of his own restaurants (Birch, Oberlin, and Gift Horse) has become a five-time finalist for James Beard awards and one of the most highly-regarded chefs in Coastal New England.

Trip Details

Transportation: Private vehicle

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana; The Modernist Hotel, Trieste; Maistra Island Hotel Katarina, Rovinj; Hotel Lyra, Rakovica; Hotel Westin, Zagreb

Meals:

  • Breakfasts: 8
  • Lunches: 2
  • Dinners: 5

This culinary adventure produced in partnership with Oberlin

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Ljubljana

Arrive today into Zagreb and transfer to Ljubljana*. Slovenia, often referred to as ‘Europe in Miniature’ is a charming country that boasts a rich tapestry of diversity and warm hospitality. While renowned for hearty alpine stews, goulash, and sauerkraut, Slovenia also surprises with delectable cakes, strudels, and a plethora of culinary treasures from the coastal Karst region, including teran (wine), prsut (air-dried ham), and exceptional olive oils. The picturesque capital, Ljubljana, serves as the perfect starting point for your gastronomic adventure. Here, you'll encounter a surprisingly diverse food scene featuring excellent local eateries, modern restaurants, street food vendors, cozy cafes, and delightful cake shops. Your culinary journey officially commences with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Following this, head to a fantastic spot in the heart of the city to indulge in some delicious traditional dishes. Get ready for a flavorful exploration of Slovenian cuisine! (d)
*Note: there will be two group transfers provided on arrival day from Zagreb to Ljubljana. Private transfers will be available for purchase if arriving outside of transfer times.

Day 2: Ljubljana > Bled > Ljubljana

Start your morning by hopping in your private transport and making your way to the charming city of Bled, nestled in the foothills of the Julian Alps. This resort town is renowned for its stunning glacial Lake Bled, surrounded by a postcard-worthy landscape. Upon arrival, embark on a hike up to the 11th-century Bled Castle, perched dramatically on a cliff's edge. Take in the breathtaking views and visit the 17th-century Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, situated on the island in the center of the lake. Beyond its natural beauty, Bled is famous for a sweet treat that draws visitors from around the globe – kremna rezina, or kremsnita to the locals. Believed to have originated in Bled's Hotel Park in 1953, courtesy of Istvan Lukacevic, the in-house pastry chef, this dessert is a regional delicacy. Comprising two-thirds vanilla cream and one-third chantilly cream between layers of filo pastry, this confection is traditionally presented in a perfect cube. Taste this delightful treat and discover why it has become an integral part of Bled's culinary identity. Return to Ljubljana where you'll have the evening free to explore at your leisure. (b)

Day 3: Ljubljana > Smartno > Trieste, Italy

This morning, set out on a scenic route to Smartno, located on the Slovenian-Italian border. This western Slovenian spot is an ideal setting for a wine tasting. After savoring some local wines with the group continue on over to Italy, and your home for the next two nights. As you transition from Slovenia to Italy, the landscapes transform, offering picturesque views along the way. Upon reaching Trieste, settle into your hotel and head out to explore the area. (b)

Day 4: Trieste

This morning an exclusive visit to a local bakery is in store! Visit with Pedja Kostic, personal friend of Ben Sukle and owner of Pagna Panificio Artigianale while enjoying some delicious baked goods made with local ingredients. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering together this evening to dive into the culinary delights of this diverse city through a delectable food tour. Led by a knowledgeable guide, explore the vibrant markets and charming streets, discovering the rich gastronomic heritage that Trieste has to offer. Taste a variety of local specialties, from fresh seafood to traditional pastries, allowing your senses to be immersed in the unique flavors of the region. Trieste, with its blend of Italian, Slovenian, and Austro-Hungarian influences, provides a culinary mosaic that reflects its rich history. Engage with local vendors, learn about traditional food preparation methods, and savor the distinct tastes that define Trieste's gastronomic identity. (b, d)

Day 5: Trieste > Motovun > Rovinj

It’s back to Croatia today and truffle hunting awaits! En route stop in Motovun, one of the most well-preserved medieval Istrian towns in Croatia, as the houses are scattered across the hill, offering a stunning panorama of the Mirna River Valley. Begin your morning with a stroll along the city walls, reveling in the expansive countryside views. The renowned Motovun Forest serves as the prime location for hunting the coveted Istrian truffle, and nearby Livade village is hailed as the truffle capital of Istria. Join an experienced truffle hunter for a walk through the woods, delving into the intricacies of this fascinating profession. Perhaps, even try your hand at sniffing out a truffle! Following the truffle adventure, your host will craft a lunch featuring fritaja, a traditional dish comprising eggs and truffles. Indulge in this local favorite, complemented by local sausages, cheeses, spreads, and a delectable honey topped cake. Once satiated, journey to the romantic Croatian town of Rovinj on the Adriatic Coast. Upon arrival, participate in a leader-led orientation walk, gaining a sense of direction while exploring Rovinj's beautifully preserved Old Town. Over the centuries, Rovinj has captivated numerous artists and writers, including the likes of Jules Verne. Tonight, enjoy a fish dinner at a local restaurant. (b, l, d)

Day 6: Rovinj

Enjoy a morning at leisure before heading out to the idyllic Kumparička Organic Goat Farm. This organic goat farm makes cheese that can be found in Michelin-starred restaurants and is a member of Slow Food International, an organization that promotes locally produced food and traditional cooking. Spend time touring the property and meeting the goats before sitting down for a delicious meal featuring the delicious cheese made on property. (b, l)

Day 7: Rovinj > Plitvice Lakes > Rakovica

Embark on a private transfer to the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest national park in Croatia, renowned as one of the oldest in southeast Europe, characterized by waterfalls and azure lakes. Witness the majestic waters cascading from a lofty, tree-lined ridge through the valley, meandering around dense beech, spruce, and pine forests. The Upper Lakes, nestled in dolomite cliffs, showcase the intertwining of rushing water within the karst landscape before dramatically descending to the Lower Lakes, surrounded by lush grottoes, steep cliffs, and dense forests. Explore this verdant oasis through a walk and boat trip within the park, immersing yourself in the natural beauty. Continue your journey to Rakovica village, where you'll spend the night. Your hosts will treat you to a delightful home-cooked dinner featuring the traditional Croatian dish, kotlovina. This hearty mixed meat meal, predominantly comprising pork schnitzels and sausages, is traditionally prepared in a cauldron (kotlovina) for large gatherings and celebrations. Witness the preparation of your meal by your hosts before indulging in the robust flavors and subtle hints of spice. (b, d)

Day 8: Rakovica > Zagreb

Continue to Croatia’s capital and largest city – Zagreb. Full of parks and squares, Zagreb is a laid-back place, proud of its coffee culture and the perfect spot to simply wander. Follow your leader on an orientation walk when you arrive and then enjoy some free time for the rest of your day here. Maybe join in one of the many free walking tours in the city and engage with a local here to learn about their daily life or browse the city’s stunning architecture from neo-baroque to gothic and more. You could check out Tkalciceva Street’s lively social scene or head up Medvednica Mountain where the views stretch as far as neighboring Slovenia on a clear day. To live like a local, maybe head to Zagreb’s open-air markets where you’ll find all kinds of fresh vegetables, nuts, honey and liqueurs. Tonight, gather together one last time for dinner at a local restaurant. (b, d)

Day 9: Zagreb

Your adventure ends with an included group transfer to the airport. (b)

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