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Magical herbs of the Savinja Valley

 

Join a ritual that starts with a herbal concoction and ends with making herbal tea and herbal spread. And in-between? Even more herbs!

Two experienced herbalists invite you to the magical world of herbs for an inspirational experience that will stimulate your senses and self-awareness. The experience begins in the boutique House of Herbs with a homemade herbal concoction, and continues in the mysterious monastery garden of the former monks. In the Middle Ages, Gornji Grad was the home of Benedictine monks, who practiced herbalism. It is therefore no surprise that they planted a magnificent herb garden where more than 160 types of native herbs grow today.

herbalists

St. Benedict's thistle, roseroot, purslane, costmary...

These are only a few of the special herbs that grow in the secret garden. The first, which got its name from St. Benedict, is a strong bitter herb. Roseroot, or rožnburc, as often referred to by the locals, is the main ingredient of a medicinal drink which has been prepared here for centuries. The costmary, or Baby Jesus’s nappies, as referred to by the locals, has a very specific taste and aroma, and is an absolute must when making potato soup or goulash. The herbalists will gladly tell you more about purslane, a very much overlooked herb, some even call it a weed, with exceptional nutritional values and an amazing taste.

herbs from Gornji Grad

The hundred-year-old well and a herbal bath

On a sensory walk with a guide dressed in black monastic clothing, you will visit the well in front of the cathedral, where, following the customs and traditions of the Benedictines, guests wash their hands and take a sip of water. The path to the garden runs through the largest Slovenian cathedral, where a priest invites the guests to visit the bell tower. Guests enter the herb garden through a side exit used only by a select few. This is followed by learning about the herbs, taking a “herbal bath”, and a sensory experience consisting of four exercises performed in silence and barefoot (optional), as per the method used by the Benedictines.

Upon returning to the herb workshop, true herbal pampering begins. The guests actively participate in the preparation of a herbal spread, while the herbalists prepare some tea using herbs from the garden and water from the hundred-year-old well.

Herbal spread made from weeds

People tend to characterise slightly obscure plants as weeds. Truth be told, many are actually beneficial, and guests gather them for a special herbal spread. A bouquet of finely chopped herbs and a pinch of salt from Piran are mixed with curd made at nearby farms and served on homemade buckwheat bread baked in a brick oven. The first mention of buckwheat on Slovenian territory dates back to 1426, when it was found in a land register of the Benedictine monastery in Gornji Grad under the name “poganka”.

During a tea party by the fireplace, the guests light a fire and mix their own incense from dried herbs. The herbal experience concludes in a pleasant homely atmosphere, with the smell of herbs, and a plate full of local delicacies. After the tasting of a colourful herb platter, the guests receive a surprise gift.

Taste more.

Learn about the story od Slovenian gastronomy. Discover local culinary and wine specialties.

Read more