Culinary experiences

Wine-growing, basket weaving and distilling at the Kalšek-Podkrajšek farmstead in Žiče

Recommended part of the culinary journey

One and a half hectares of this three-hectare farm is covered with vineyards and orchards. The vineyards have 6,000 vines (Blaufränkisch, Pinot blanc, Yellow Muscat and Welschriesling), which annually produce 8,000-10,000 litres of varietal wine. Some of the Welschriesling is made into a select ice wine. An attempt has also been made at making sparkling wine. For forty years, plum, William pear and the local trnovka pear orchards provide the fruit for distilling brandies. The plum trees form a hedge around the vineyard whilst the 80 William pear trees grow on lower ground.

Because the trnovka pear trees were already old, they were grafted onto wild pear trees in order to preserve the variety. They currently have 12 trees and intend to graft even more.

The vineyards and orchards cover all the arable land.

Due to the long tradition of making wine and fruit brandy at the farm, livestock breeding was abandoned several years ago and more vines and orchards were planted. Farm owner Štefan’s appreciation for grapevines, wine and orchards was passed down to him from his father, who also taught him how to distill fruit brandy. To the present day, all fruit harvested on the farm is kept and processed, not only to make fruit brandy (from dandelion, pears and plums, some of the latter aged in oak barrels) but also jams (plum and peach) and liqueurs, as the demand for beverages with a lower alcohol content is on the rise.

The farm makes blueberry, walnut, wild cherry and herbal liqueurs and a dessert liqueur called Zajčja kri or Rabbit Blood made from Blaufränkisch grapes. They also make a plum brandy called Zajc klošter (Rabbit’s Monastery), named after the Žiče Carthusian Monastery.

The farm has been sending its products for evaluation at the Dobrote slovenskih kmetij competition in Ptuj for 16 years and have received numerous awards and three trophies for quality: two for plum brandy aged in oak barrels and one for plum jam.

Štefan has passed his rich experience on to his daughter Andreja, who is a holder of supplementary activity at the farm.

Basket weaving is a self-taught tradition at the farm. At first, Štefan would weave baskets for use at the farm. Later, he began weaving bottles and making practical objects and souvenirs: small baskets, trays, small gift bottles, saltshakers and other objects. Štefan holds a cottage industry certificate for these products and was awarded the Golden Tendril from the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia (OOZ). In recent years, his wife and daughter have also started basket weaving.

Below the vineyards are willows which provide the material for the basket weaving. The family has held many demonstrations and workshops on basket weaving at numerous events as well as in schools, where children have always been keen to give basket weaving a try.

Programme:

First, there is a brief presentation of the farm. You will be shown the vineyard and orchards and see how to make quality grapes and fruit for processing. You will also be shown the willows that provide the material for basket weaving. Later, you will be shown the press and the pressing procedure will be explained. You will also get to see the still and be shown how fruit brandy is distilled.

Finally, you will get to know the entire basket weaving procedure.

The height of the visit will be sampling three or four different types of fruit brandy or liqueur, depending on the wishes of your group. To alleviate the effect of the alcohol, your hosts will also serve some crackling potica or bread and cheese.

You will be able to buy fruit brandy, liqueur, jam, wine and woven products at the farm as a souvenir of the experience and tastes to share with others or as ‘indulgence’ for your loved ones.

The price for a four-hour visit at the farm, including the tasting of three or four samples of fruit brandy and liqueur, and crackling potica or bread and cheese is EUR 12 per person for groups of more than 20 people.

The hosts will be happy to cater to your needs and prepare other memorable experiences for your group. Your call and visit will be warmly received.

 

Information and reservation:

Farm Kalšek - Podkrajšek

Žiče 62 A

3215 Loče

+386 (0)3 576 34 45, +386 (0)31 399 824

andrejpodkrajsek@gmail.com

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