Taste Radol'ca is a special culinary union. Excellent cooperation between partners is the number one reason for the 10+ years of local integration. Four of Radol’ca’s chefs tell us how and why they are so successful at what they do.
Taste Radol'ca restaurants have been working together since the year 2013. Their cooperation is most visible and distinct every November, when they offer set price menus, although they also work together at various events throughout the year. In ten years of the union under the brand name Taste Radol’ca, special business as well as personal ties have been forged. We chatted about this, and others things, to chef Uros Stefelin from Hisa Linhart (one Michelin Star), Aleš Tavčar from Gostišče Draga, Aleš Potočnik from Restavracija Šobec and Davor Krajnc, who together with Simon Koštomaj runs Picerija Baffi.
What is the essence of Taste Radol’ca?
Uroš Štefelin (Hiša Linhart): “Connecting. Restaurants cooperate with local farms, while we mainly cooperate with local organic farms. The ingredients produced on their farms pair wonderfully with our dishes, and ultimately, we fellow chefs connect too. We all do our best to ensure that Radovljica is a place of genuine and ‘clean’ cuisine, where there's no room for 'bluffing'.”
Photo: Uroš Štefelin from Hiša Linhart, local and organic ingredients are the number one priority. In the years 2022 and 2023, in addition to a Michelin Star, the restaurant was awarded a Green Star for sustainability due to its sustainable operation.
Aleš Tavčar (Gostišče Draga): “We cooperate with local suppliers by telling them what we need in our kitchens. We have a big advantage in this regard in our restaurant, because we produce the majority of vegetables at our family farm in Gorenjska – the Lizokar Farm – which is run by my wife’s family.”
Aleš Potočnik (Restavracija Šobec): “Our restaurant only joined Taste Radol’ca a short while ago, but it is here that we also see the huge advantage of connecting and cooperating, as well as an exceptional opportunity to improve.”
Davor Krajnc (Picerija Baffi): “I admit that at the beginning we had a few doubts about how we could be part of local stories – after all, we are a pizzeria, therefore we don’t offer typical Slovenian food. However, because it’s also important to us to include locally produced Slovenian ingredients in our menu, we really enjoy being part of Taste Radol’ca.”
Your cooperation with Radolca’s chefs is so successful that you started to make high-profile pizzas, known as specialka (specials). When did you create the first one?
Aleš Tavčar (Gostišče Draga): “That’s true. It’ll soon be time for me to create a ’special’ too!”
Davor Krajnc (Picerija Baffi): “Absolutely, we’re already waiting for you (friendly smile). Our cooperation with chefs from the surrounding areas began completely spontaneously in the year 2022, when chef Uroš Štefelin created the first 'specialka' pizza. Then, we joined forces with Gostišče Tulipan to create a pizza with wild garlic pesto, and from Gostilna Tabor, which is known for its fish dishes, emerged a new, wonderful flavour combination. Our ‘special’ pizzas are only available for a limited time, as they reflect the seasons as well as local flavours.”
Photo: Thanks to its ‘specials’, as well as its regular range of pizzas, Picerija Baffi is proof that pizzerias can also use local ingredients and operate sustainably.
So, what tastes and flavours can we expect to find at the other three restaurants?
Uroš Štefelin (Hiša Linhart): “In our restaurant, we preserve traditional dishes and ingredients for the future.”
Aleš Tavčar (Gostišče Draga): “Traditional dishes, which I create in my own way, are my inspiration. They include: fish from local fish farms, wild game and Slovenian beef. We also have vegetable dishes, and I'd say that our menu unites authentic tastes and flavours.”
FOTO: Vrhunec sodelovanja chefov je priprava skupnega kosila ali večerje v sklopu kulinarične jeseni v Radol'c. Na fotografiji Aleš Tavčar in Uroš Štefelin pri pripravi krožnika na dogodku Kmetova miza.
Aleš Potočnik (Restavracija Šobec): “Our restaurant is part of the Sobec Camp, therefore we tailor our menu to our guests, however, when choosing the ingredients, of course we also include local suppliers. In summer, when the camp is full, we have a lot more guests from all over the world, so at that time the menu is really varied. Then, at the end of October, we change our menu and somewhat adapt it to local guests. At that time there is also more room and inspiration for culinary creativity. Our location is very popular for walks and family outings, therefore our menu includes delicious family lunches and a wide range of desserts that are inspired by the local environment.
How do you see the future of Taste Radol'ca?
Aleš Tavčar (Gostišče Draga): “If we hadn’t joined Taste Radol'ca some years ago, our restaurant would no longer exist. Why? A decade ago our menu was totally different and we rarely used local ingredients. Then the assessors, who every three years check the quality of the food at Taste Radol'ca restaurants, made us take a close look at ourselves and forced us to think about the future. We have learnt a lot during this time, therefore I hope that the future will continue to bring us a lot of new knowledge and connections.”
Davor Krajnc (Picerija Baffi): “I agree – a huge amount of knowledge is hidden within Taste Radol’ca. Above all, what I like is that, as a newbie in this story, I can call any of the participating chefs at any time and I know they will help me. And this is exactly what counts – that we can rely on each other.”
Aleš Potočnik (Restavracija Šobec): “Above all, I hope that our knowledge will continue to be well connected and further improved in the future.”
Uroš Štefelin (Hiša Linhart): “We need to realise that working together in the future is key to tackling bigger projects, connections and events.”
Photo: Restavracija Šobec is the latest restaurant to join Taste Radol’ca. Guests were impressed by chef Aleš Potočnik's food at the first group event.
This guide was created as part of the ‘EKO Tastes of Slovenia’ project, run in cooperation with LAS, which is co-financed with the help of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Invests in Rural Areas. The Radovljica Public Institute of Tourism and Culture is responsible for the content. The governing body appointed to implement the Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Slovenia for the period 2014-2020 is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Source of funding: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Local ingredients, the finest preparation and an unforgettable experience. Visit Radol'ca this October, where you can visit open days at local farms and take part in a guided culinary experience, while in November the best of Radol'ca's restaurants invite you to enjoy selected menus made using local ingredients.