2019 edition of the Open House at the Embassy of Slovenia in Washington, DC
On Saturday, May 11, the Embassy of Slovenia in Washington DC opened its doors to the US public during its annual EU Open Day House. The timing was perfect as it was squeezed between the Europe Day that took place on May 9 and the World Bee Day, which will be marked on May 20.
In the spirit of Europe Day celebrations, which this year marks the 15th anniversary of Slovenia's membership to the EU, Ambassador Vidovič and his staff together with participants and volunteers welcomed thousands of guests. The line to get access extended around the block at all times. Slovenian culture, music, traditions, importance of bees (yes, the insects), national cuisine and foods, wines and soft drinks, tourist attractions and much more was showcased throughout the day.
Not that the EU Open day is a competition but according to visitors' remarks, the Slovenian Embassy ranked by far the highest in terms of hospitality, variety and quantity of foods and drinks offered as well as Slovenian polka and waltz music performances. One of the highlights is certainly Alex Gergar's souvenir edition CD titled "LIVE AT THE SLOVENIAN EMBASSY". The CD was recorded at the Open House last year and in Jimmeroo Studios (PA) thanks to Bethlehem (PA) Murska Sobota (Slovenia) Sister City Association. In addition, accordion players Kathy Hlad and Patty Candela charmed and waltzed the audiences with their beautiful music.
The front part of the Embassy was dedicated to the celebration World Bee Day. Mr. Bine Medved from Minnesota made and donated to the Embassy a 16-pannel large wooden bee-hive, which was a perfect photo opportunity spot. The hive will stay in permanent collection for the future for what the Embassy is very grateful for. Two A-Ž bee-hives from Slovenia were also donated to the embassy. A new one by Ms. Suzanne Brouillette of Slovenian Beekeeping LLC in New Hampshire and an old one with patina by a wine maker Mr. Matic Vizjak from Farm Vizjak in Šmarje pri Jelšah in Slovenia. Most striking photos in the exhibition "Let it Bee" by Tom Urh were presented again.
And of course there was a honey tasting with a variety of six different flavors from Gorenjska - Upper Carniola! Extremely popular was "Radolca mead" served in chocolate cups by Kaja Beton and Petra Dolenc from Radovljica Town Tourist Board and Julian Alps Association. Apart from promoting Radovljica, they emphasized promotion of the Julian Alps region as a whole. Their stand drew a great deal of interest. Hopefully as a result the guests will be visiting this part of Slovenia in the near future.
The event was used also for promotion of Slovenia as a fantastic tourist destination, due to its diversity as regards landscape, climate, food and wines, combined with rich cultural and historical heritage. Our visitors could feel Slovenia also trough selection of promotional materials provided by the Slovenian Tourist Board and Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia.
For those interested in more adrenalin-rushed holidays representative of "Life Adventures" agency Katja Edwards presented information on more thrilling ways to enjoy Slovenia like white waters kayaking, discovering Slovenia by bicycle, hiking and combining all these with culinary delights.
Judging by the size of the line, one of the most popular attractions was the wine tasting by Laurete Imports and Tri Wines – Slovenian Premium Wines.
A selection of the finest Slovenian wines from Goriška Brda was served much to the delight of the guests. Sales representative Paul Monte from Laureate Imports spent the day explaining what the processes involved to make the exquisite wines were.
Wines from the Koper region by the sea, sponsored by Tri Wines - Slovenian Premium Wines were also served and proved to be a crowd-pleaser.
In addition to the fine wines, fruit juices by FRUCTAL and Slovenian version of cola drink called COCKTA, "the drink of our youth", were served too and proved to be a hit.
In the food department people were impressed by demonstrations of traditional style of strudel and "potica" making by three proud Slovenian Americans from Minnesota known as the "Strudel Sisters". They made the event as fun as it can be and tastings of what they prepared earlier were given to the onlookers, including the EU Ambassador Lambrinidis. In addition potica - nut roll cakes from Sophie's' Bakery in Wickliffe, Cleveland were served.
EU wide famous Slovenian-made organic chicken sausages called POLI, a favorite of Dallas Maverick's rookie Luka Dončić, were served, courtesy of the Perutnina Ptuj and their representatives in the US A.B. Company Inc from Lincolnwood (IL). The classical Poli sausage has been adored for over a quarter of a century, especially with children. The company is based in Ptuj, where nature is untouched and green and the farm is nurtured by committed professionals who have full control over breeding and processing of the chicken meat. That is why Poli has withstood the test of time. Poli Hot Dog Sausages (Frankfurters) were also a success. Thea are made of 90% of the best quality chicken meat, gently smoked and carefully seasoned. Although you cook or bake it, it's still 100% Poli.
Thanks to Droga Kolinska - Atlantic Group in US, the ARGETA pates made either with tuna, salmon or chicken varieties were served during the day. These are some of the best quality pates on the market, again without any additives, except the best selection of meats and herbs only. They contain no gluten, no added colors, flavor enhancers, or palm oil. These are some of the finest convenient foods from Slovenia and pundits were taken aback how flavorsome and healthy simple foods can be if you use the very best ingredients to start with.
Ažman Meats & Sausages Co. from 200th Street, Euclid in Cleveland again generously sponsored the event with some of the finest Carniola style Slovenian sausages made in the US. In fact Ažman's sausages are so good, US-Slovenian astronaut Sunita Williams at one point took them to the International Space Station as a staple food for her colleagues orbiting the Earth.
Big thanks also go to the Slovenian Heritage Museum from Pittsburgh (PA) and the Bethlehem - Murska Sobota Sister City Association (PA), who showcased their Slovenian communities and the traditions they keep alive in the US.
Prof Luka Zibelnik a lecturer of Slovenian Language from Center for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language of the University of Ljubljana and Cleveland State University promoted his language classes and brought from The Slovenian National Home in Cleveland a "kurent". This is a supernatural and mystical creature that is believed to be able to chase winter away and welcome the spring. Mission accomplished.
We are also very proud to have had an exclusive and official presence throughout the day of Ms. Allison Farris - Miss District of Columbia as a proof of the excellent relationship between the Embassy and the capital of the United States.