Today we got our first look at the inside of the TV studio we’ll be working with: POP-TV. This is the country’s largest independent television station. The staff here is incredibly nice and greeted us warmly. Cassie did two interviews: one for the TV camera, and one for the weekend insert of the LJ newspaper. There was a photo shoot too, and then we were wisked off to meet Gaspar, Slovenia’s premier sommelier.
He will be guiding us along the wine landscape during the filming of the TV show. Gaspar just returned from a trip to Japan where he participated in an international sommelier’s competition. He finished in the top twelve, which is remarkable for such a young man from this small country. We are indeed fortunate to learn alongside him. Gaspar is the CEO of a wine distribution company/wine bar. His family also owns another restaurant here in LJ, where his mother is the head chef. We are hoping to get there Wednesday for a meal.
Meantime, it is off to do laundry and study up on the next leg of our journey. We head to the Prekmurje region of the country on Thursday, near the Hungarian border.
The days here have been so full they are starting to run together. Thank goodness I have my trusty notepad to jot reminders in. Our day started early with a visit from Vesna, who is the stylist for Felina Films, the production company that is filming the TV show. Vesna came to our hotel room and went through our closets, making wardrobe recommendations for the show. I’m pretty sure she was horrified but was very polite about it. She made a couple of shopping suggestions and let us get on with our morning.
Today, we visited the LJ market (again), but this time with a journalist, Stane Mazgon, who writes for Jana Magazine. Jana is a well-regarded “family” oriented publication that has been circulated here in Slovenia for 40 years. Stane and his photographer, Istok, visited with us over coffee for a bit at a cafe` called Lolita (which you will be hearing more about later), and then we took off for the market.
Stane clearly loves his city and this market, and is incredibly familiar with both. Even though we have been to the market every day of our visit so far, it was fun to see it along with Stane. He knows the vendors and the products very well and shared some of his favorite recipes of the many beautiful products we tried. We met several long-time vendors and filled our bags with lots of fresh goodies.
One farmer we met, Rezna, has been selling produce at the LJ market for 50 years! We got some raddichio from her that was perky and delicious. Many of the varieties of fruits and vegetables they grow and sell here are familiar to us, but there are some that we don’t see often in the Southeastern US. Examples are artichoke and some varieties of apples. One can also buy whole grains or freshly-milled flour, dried beans, honey, mushrooms, herbs, nuts, dried fruits, a huge variety of smoked and cured meats, fermented foods, cheeses, yogurt, milk, fish, olive oil, and more baked goods than I have ever seen in one place.
Non-food items include clothing, fur pelts, shoes, souveniers, and natural medicines. I am not sure how many vendors are here but I will venture to guess it is more than 100 on a given Saturday. Weekdays the vending crowd is lighter, but there is always a huge variety. There are other smaller markets all througout LJ that we have yet to visit, but look forward to scouting them out as time allows.
Our shooting schedule for the TV show is starting to coalesce. We head off to the Prekmurje region Thursday and Friday, will explore some towns near the Mura river and eventually get up near the Hungarian border for some fun stuff before heading back to LJ late Friday night. Stay tuned!