Portorož hosts the first International Grand Chapitre

Gala dinner. Photo: Tomaž Dular

November 2010

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society, has its roots in the medieval French guild of goose roasters founded in the 13th century. Today the Chaîne is a modern international organisation with members in over 70 countries. Slovenia is also part of the Chaîne, with its own national chapter or Bailliage founded in Ljubljana in 2005. The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is dedicated to the preservation and development of the culinary arts and gastronomy, fine dining and wine culture, and cultivates hospitality and good fellowship in many forms. The Chaîne brings together non-professional members with an interest in cuisine and professional members such as chefs and hotel and restaurant owners. The Chaîne logo displayed outside a restaurant is of course a guarantee of quality.

There are already 13 such restaurants in Slovenia.

'Rôtisseurs' in Slovenia

Photo: Tomaž Dular

The Slovenian chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs successfully held its first international event Grand Chapitre in Portorož from 23 to 26 September 2010. Participants from Slovenia were joined at the event by distinguished Chaîne members from 10 European countries.

On the first day the participants gathered at the Santomas winery in the village of Šmarje near Koper, where there was a dinner and a tasting of wines from the Santomas cellar. The dinner was prepared by Robert Gregorčič of the Otočec Hotels group and Anita and Miha Potočnik of Gostilna Čubr in Križ near Komenda.

Lessons in supreme gastronomy

Photo: Tomaž Dular

The next day began with a visit to Ljubljana for the foreign participants. Ljubljana was a great discovery for all of them, and their praise for the city's orderliness and cleanliness had hardly abated before it was time to ride the funicular up to the Castle for a typical Ljubljana lunch in the castle restaurant. A perfect experience of Slovenia's capital city. After lunch the visitors set off to Postojna Cave. Following an exhaustive visit to the cave, the guests were treated to exquisitely prepared dishes characteristic of the Notranjska-Karst region and a presentation of the original wines of the Primorska wine region in the Jamski Dvorec mansion. The second day ended with dinner at the Gostilna Apolonia in Šmarje pri Sežani, another Chaîne establishment. Dinner was a lesson in supreme gastronomy, featuring the entire palette of flavours of the Karst region, complemented by local wines. The morning of the third day had an educational and social character, with participants taking a boat trip off the Slovenian coast aboard the Burja. The experience was made even more interesting by a visit to the fish farm where the Fonda family farm Piran sea bass.

Back on dry land, there was a break before the main evening event and the gala dinner at the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Portorož. New members from Slovenia and Italy were inducted into the Chaîne according to the established protocol, which includes an oath and a tap on the shoulder with a sword. The ceremony was conducted by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs vice-president Günter Albert, from Monaco. The formal reception was followed by a gala dinner in the Crystal Hall of the Kempinski Palace Hotel. The dinner was prepared by Slovenian Chaîne members Janez Bratovž, Maruška Gašparin, Tomaž Kavčič, Matevž Kmet, Tanja Pintarič and Ana Roš with Daniel Scheffler, the chef of the Kempinski Palace Hotel.

The foreign visitors unanimous in insisting to return to Slovenia on holiday

The dinner, in this remarkable historical setting, was without question a fine dining experience featuring first-class cuisine. The various courses were accompanied by the finest Slovenian wines, making the dinner truly exceptional. The guests could not speak highly enough of their experience of Slovenia, its natural beauties, its extraordinary regional gastronomic diversity, its excellent wines, and so on.

Text by Janez Bogataj, Sinfo, November 2010