For the past five years, I have spent three (summer) months in Slovenia, the country where I was born and raised. Each year, before I come home, I make a plan with my best friend, Nataš(sh)a, regarding when we will take “our day off.” When we have chosen the day, we decide where to go. Most of the time it is my decision; she just agrees. She believes that time spent with me is never boring, and she knows that she won’t be hungry! After 28 years of friendship, she has learned what to expect when we travel together.
This year we went to the Karst Plateau. This part of Slovenia is known for beautiful caves, wind (called “bora”), delicious prosciutto, wine (called “Teran”), and kind people. There are a lot of small villages with houses made of stone, and time has no meaning there.
I found a family who dries prosciutto at home. They are continuing this tradition which was started by their ancestors in 1801. They live in a small village which is quite hard to find. After we found this village, our life was transformed by this timeless locale.
The first thing we saw as we opened the door was a 250 year-old mulberry tree. It is shaped like an umbrella. It is gorgeous. A worker spends one month every year pruning the branches to make this beautiful shape.
The next thing, even more beautiful, was a room full of drying prosciutto. The sight was marvelous. They make around 2,000 pieces per year, and they have no problem selling it.
After the prosciutto room, we came to the most important room: the dining room. We were offered homemade bread, prosciutto, prosciutto made of wild pig, bacon, olives, and goat cheeses – not to mention wine (“Teran”) as well as homemade grape juice, made from the same grapes as the wine.
My tiny Nataša likes to eat, but she loooooves prosciutto. She likes to sample even more than to eat, so there was more than enough for both of us. And she likes a glass of wine; I prefer juice (I must admit that grape juice is my favorite).
Here are pictures from before and after our feast.
After we were done, she had a contented expression, and she said, “You made my day.” It was priceless.