French culinary photojournalist Anne-Claire Héraud leads us through the picturesque Slovenian countryside on her quest to find influential figures in sustainable cuisine. Tucked in the upper reaches of the town of Idrija, Kendov Dvorec is a welcoming hotel that captures local culture, craftsmanship.
In its 2020 Travel Guide published earlier this year, The New York Times called Slovenia “arguably the world’s most environmentally conscious nation” *. Its capital, Ljubljana, received the European Green Capital Award in 2016, an annual honor bestowed by the European Commission. The following year, it became the first country to be officially certified as a Green Destination.
Idrija, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the planet’s second-largest mercury mine. It is also the birthplace of Slovenian lacemaking and culinary arts. Though the destination can boast of its technical sophistication, the Kendov Dvorec Hotel, built in 1377, gives local know-how pride of place. This typical Slovenian residence, cradled between alpine peaks, crystal-clear rivers, and the Karst Plateau, offers a warm, welcoming, harmonious family ambiance.
The restaurant serves comforting cuisine with ingredients sourced from the surroundings. The dishes are paired with the best wines from the country’s neighboring winegrowing regions. The smell of baking bread and potica – the traditional Slovenian delight cooked by Chef Franci Pivk – pervades every corner of the house. Fly fishermen angle for marble trout on the lovely Idrijca River that flows through the 800-year-old village. The hive buzzes busily to produce the delicious honey that will flavor the sheep-milk breakfast yoghurt, courtesy of the farm’s sheep. Kendov Dvorec is the promise of a rejuvenating getaway, a place so peaceful it seems that, here on these grounds, time has come to a standstill.