ON THE PANONIAN SEA
The approach to Prekmurje is in itself something special; a whole new world, one full of both history and the present day, opens up before you in one of the most picturesque and pristine Slovenian landscapes. This is a region full of small congress stories waiting to be shared. And the story doesn’t end here…
…the people of Prekmurje are people who are full of kindness and always willing to help, explained Špela Horvat, the energetic MICE specialist from Terme 3000. Her word can be taken as gospel, as she herself is a complete truly epitomisation of the Prekmurje character.
So, where to start?
The most important congress story is based in the Sava Hotels of Moravci and Radenci. The hotel complex in Moravci houses a total of 6 conference halls covering 597 m2, while the 290 rooms available in three hotels allow on-site accommodation for conference guests. Zdravilišče Radenci boasts an easily accessible hotel conference centre comprising 8 multipurpose conference halls and rooms with top of the range technical equipment. Under one roof, you will find conference facilities, 419 comfortable hotel rooms and a range of health and wellness services that will enhance your business meeting with leisure activities.
What makes Prekmurje so special?
For a long time Prekmurje has had its ‘gastro charm’ built on the core ingredients of pumpkin seed oil, Prekmurje ham, authentic vegetables with the Slovenian Lušt tomato, alongside many other local and seasonal treats. Gastronomy is an core element of their tourist attraction that in the past decade has really got itself into full swing. Ask the question: “What would you bring your congress guest to the table?”, and you will get to hear of the Over Mura moving cake, the Prekmurje ham, ‘tunka’, ‘dodoli’ and a litany of other savoury goodies. And there are very many special venues for those who want to taste these treats and explore the gastronomical part of Prekmurje: with its most famous cellar open for tastings, the Marof Wine Cellar in Mačkovci, having a tasting room on the ground floor with an excellent view of its sprawling vineyards and natural beauty. The perfectly designed wine cellar is one of the most exciting special venues, but for the classic ambience the Marof mansion is another fine option.
In nearby Prlekija there is Dom Penine, another special venue that is home of the renowned Radgonska sparkling wine. The traditional tasting hall offers you a basic champagne tasting or a more complex guided or blind tasting experience. A true gastronomical institution is the Rajh restaurant in Bakovci. Passionately crafted culinary masterpieces set the restaurant apart as one of the most innovative in all of Slovenia. A culinary journey through this region isn’t complete without a visit to Šunkarna Kodila, where you can taste the legendary Prekmurje ham in it’s authentic environment. Another spot not to be missed is the Mencinger restaurant, offering traditional Panonian gastronomy with local and seasonal ingredients in a nice, cultural ambience from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy epoch. In the many venues there is no lack of traditional produce with which you can spoil and delight guests before they have to leave, with the fragrant Kocbek pumpkinseed oil the passion and inspiration for much of the local gastronomy, but it is just one small piece of a huge culinary story that would need much more space to list the whole gamut of providers. Simply sit back, relax and let time stand still for congress participants or a tourist fam as they enjoy one of the many restaurants serving excellent food accompanied by excellent wine.
By the river and on the waves of Mura
The Prekmurje ensemble is rounded off with its many incentive providers who offer various adventures in a broad but top quality offer. The Mura river might at first sight seem like a calm waterway, but taking a raft on it can offer a very different perspective of the river and its surrounding landscape. Muramar and Murski Čolnar are the most active companies for this activity. An especially lively location is lake Bukovnica; besides the healing Vidov spring it has an adventure park for proper adrenaline seekers! Then just a stone’s throw away your participants can learn about the different principles of orchid growing, where you can be amazed at more than 300 different kinds of orchids in the Ocean Orchids tropical garden. A totally different incentive adventure is in visiting the Lušt greenhouse in the small village of Renkovci, where you can get to know how the Slovenian tomato makes it’s way from the fields to the table. Or you can enjoy an educational story in Čebelji Gradič, which offers an unforgettable sustainable experience for all kinds of nature lovers. There is also a small house of organic shapes hiding in the heart of Slovenske Gorice; it is called the Pachamama centre and it creates amazing products through its own specific the alchemy it carried out with nature.
In the world of desserts the Prekmurska gibanica is a peculiarity and is also heralded as a Slovene national culinary specialty, priding itself on its European recognition of ‘Traditional Speciality Guaranteed’.
This old Prekmurian festive and ritual dish takes its name from güba, or guba (meaning fold), and has had a home along the Mura river for a very long time. The oldest written source dates back to the year 1828, when the priest Jožef Kosič scripted a text mentioning the gibanica as a special Prekmurian dish that ‘is a must at wedding festivities and is also served to workers after finishing a big project. The gibanica is cut into triangular pieces and placed in a pile on the table. Everybody is served a piece that could be eaten or taken home’.
The special recipe and production technique gives a slice of Prekmurska gibanica a unique look that is definitely further enhanced by the variety of colourful stuffings that give the end-product its special charm and allure. It is further distinguished by its rich array of fragrances and flavours, as well as its pleasant texture, all of which evoke the epicurean senses of softness, succulence, and fullness.
Prekmurska gibanica has joined the illustrious EU list of traditional dishes whose recipe and traditional production techniques are protected. The European Commission has also registered idrijski zlikrofi, a type of ravioli from the western town of Idrija, as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) from Slovenia and from the information available on the European Commission website a further Slovenian product or foodstuff registered in such a way is the extra-virgin olive oil from Slovenian Istria, which has a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’.