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August 2008

Prekmurje Slovenia: A cultural experience for your tastebuds

Grace, a good friend of mine, recently returned from a trip to Prekmurje, Slovenia. When Grace's grandmother passed away, her mother began tracing their family genealogy. They discovered their roots were in the outermost region of Slovenia known as 'The Island of Love'. Since her 10th wedding anniversary was coming up, she decided to book a trip and surprise her husband with an amazing trip.

Come to find out, Prekmurje is the largest agricultural region in Slovenia. It's located in the uppermost eastern area along the Mura River and boasts an abundance of seafood, including shellfish and Adriatic bluefish. Farmers grow a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and wild mushrooms or raise goats, sheep or cattle. They offer an amazing selection of dairy products and perfectly-aged cheeses. Slovenia also offers some of the world's best wines, with more than 30 varietals grown in 14 wine districts.

During their visit in Prekmurje, Grace and her husband participated in an eating trend known as the 'slow food movement'. They went to a restaurant where all guests arrive at a specific time and are served an eight-course meal. The entire meal consisted of traditional recipes and used locally-grown produce and meats.

Grace said this meal was fit for a Queen and consisted of a variety of culinary delights including Mediterranean, Italian, Croatian, Hungarian, Austrian and European dishes. There were salads, soups, breads, casseroles, stews and Prekmurska gibanica; a pastry filled with cottage cheese, apples, walnuts and poppy seeds.

In addition to the scrumptious food, Grace says Prekmurje is perhaps one of the best-kept travel secrets on the planet. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, it's also affordable. Grace chose to stay in one of Prekmurje luxury apartments. I discovered you can rent holiday villas, cottages and farmhouses as well. Personally, I think renting a cottage or farmhouse in Prekmurje would be wonderfully peaceful and relaxing.

Grace took her husband, Bob, on a day trip to Styria, a beautiful province in Austria. Bob is a huge fan of snow skiing and his great-great grandmother is of Austrian descent. Although Bob couldn't take advantage of the multitude of ski chalets in Stryia, he has vowed to take Grace back for a winter holiday. Somehow I think Grace may have had this thought in the back of her mind when took Bob to the chalet ;-)

If Grace and I have piqued your interest, check out the Prekmurje travel guide and learn more about this hidden gem.