No prizes for guessing what I’m writing about this week!! Yes, of course – chocolate AGAIN!!!
The weather didn’t exactly play ball, in fact after a week of beautiful warm sunshine, the rain arrived almost simultaneously with the start of the festival on Friday, and on Saturday it was wet and windy with near freezing temperatures. Sunday, however, was much better with bright, though cold, sunshine and mostly clear skies. But the rain didn’t dent the spirits of the exhibitors or the crowds, and a fun-filled, chocolate-filled weekend was had by all! And besides, chocolate can be eaten come rain or shine, or snow, or hail, or…… in my case anyway!
One of the highlights of the weekend was the 93kg bar of Gorenjka chocolate, seen below left with Radovljica’s Mayor lending a helping hand to break it up before it was shared among visitors. The giant bar was made especially for the show and to celebrate Gorenjka’s 93rd year of production.
The Radovljica Chocolate Festival, now its in 4th year, was held over 3 days this year, as well as being spread over a larger area and with more exhibitors and an extensive entertainment programme. The bulk of the festival takes place in Linhart Square in Radovljica’s old town centre, as well as in the beautiful Radovljica Manor (grascina), which houses the Museum of Apiculture, the Municipal Museum, a music school, and is the main venue for the numerous concerts and festivals which take place in Radovljica throughout the year.
I had a hunch that it was going to get mega-busy so, keen to get a head start on the crowds, I was there immediately when the festival opened on Friday for a browse, and of course, a taste or two! There was chocolate of every size, shape, flavour and form imaginable and something for all kinds of lovers of chocolate, as well as ‘non-chocolate’ food prepared by chefs from the Taste Radol’ca restaurants.
Apart from the pure pleasure of eating it, it’s quite amazing what can be done with chocolate these days. This year there were a number of new takes on chocolate including chocolate beer, chocolate tea, chocolate hamburgers, the new tarragon-flavoured Radol’ca choco-o-bee chocolates, and very colourful and on-trend macaroons. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite, as I love pretty much all kinds of chocolate – except the really dark stuff which I know is supposedly the ‘healthy’ stuff but I don’t eat chocolate to be healthy – but one of my personal favourite stalls was ‘Pravljicne Pite’ (Fairytale Pies) with their ‘to-die-for’ pies and cakes and the Festival certainly provides a good avenue for these kinds of small businesses.
Entertainment included a mini-Planica ski jump – which was definitely a hit with kids even in the pouring rain – a chocolate photo booth, chocolate fortune telling, cookery shows and, this year for the first time, evening entertainment with live music, stand-up comedy and an after-chocolate party.
My weekend was largely spent working, as I have a large translating job on-the-go, so a couple of trips to the festival throughout the weekend to get some brain food(!) just about saved my sanity and I managed to amass quite a large stash of all kinds of chocolate which helped to get me through the weekend.
I also had an unexpected visitor this weekend. On Sunday afternoon my phone rang and the lady on the other end pronounced herself as ‘an old lady from Vienna who is a big fan of my blog and had come to Radovljica after reading about the Chocolate Festival on my blog and because she really wanted to meet me’! Despite not having a mobile phone and not knowing where I live she, Herta, managed to track me down – what a tenacious an amazing lady. It was lovely to meet you Herta, thanks for the chocolate wine, and I hope we meet again some day in Radovljica!
I think everyone that was involved and attended will agree, this event just gets better each year and has now become the main, and most anticipated, event on Radovljica’s event calendar –
There will be plenty more photos of the festival on my Pinterest page coming soon.
Next week, weather and work permitting, I hope to be partaking in some more active physical rather than mental pursuits!