Work hard & Chill
Many of my days start as early as 4.30 am and get split between work, university and other daily tasks. People often ask me how I manage and I think the secret (apart from carefully organizing your entire day and focusing on maximum productivity) is to really work hard when you are working and get the most out of your free time.
Your balance in life and the secret to really recharging your batteries depends on being able to stop, step back and really enjoy yourself after you’re done with work. Otherwise stress will eat you alive.
With all the mental unwinding that I’ve been needing lately, I guess it was no coincidence that the room we got for this weekend was called “The meditation room”. The small family hotel which we visited has no room number: just names for the theme of each room.
Set in a very artsy atmosphere, the team of hotel Casa Art insists that they “sell experiences, not rooms”. Although some of the design was way too colorful for me (I really enjoy white colors and minimalist design), I definitely felt very cosy in there. The place showcases a wide variety of furniture, design lamps, ceramics, jewelry and handmade decorations which constantly steal your gaze towards one direction or another.
What is more: the hotel is in Oreshak: a town near the Troyan monastery which we have been visiting for years because it is frankly one of the best kept culinary secrets in the country. If you are a foodie and you value quality food based on local recipes, the town hosts several places with amazing traditional and fusion cuisine.
Despite our regular culinary visits in town, this time we came for the wine.
Casa Art offers a special Love & Wine dinner in which an experienced sommelier showcases several handpicked wines, carefully matched with different meals.
The crash course in wine culture is open to anyone who is curious about this gorgeous drink. Everything is explained in an accessible, intriguing and memorable way and the best part is that it all depends on your level of interest.
The more questions you ask, the more you can learn: not only about wine in general, but also about the intricacies of wine making in Bulgaria and the marketing approaches which separate big commercial wineries from small state of the art producers who put an emphasis on taste and quality.
The welcome drink is Rose because it matches well with all kinds of tastes: sweet, sour, salty. A plate with cocktail bites (cheese, fruits, prosciutto) helps you test this hypothesis by sipping from your glass while trying different flavours.
The theme is Love so the table is aptly decorated with handmade hearts and rose petals.The first white wine is sweet and fresh (just 1 year old) and it matches nicely with the salad with goat cheese.
The real treat for any foodie, however, came with the appetizer. I am not much of a shrimp fan, but this meal was amazingly well done: mixed with salad, celery and nice dressing. I just loved the combination between the sightly heavy meal with the summer-breeze lightness of the wine: a limited edition Applauz Chardonnay by Villa Melnik (which apparently impressed even professional wine bloggers).
The main course is not on the photos because frankly it was so good, that it was a shame to do anything else besides eating and enjoying the conversation.
For the record: I can’t eat medium rear meat. Last time I tried to overcome my revulsion was in a restaurant in The Hague which served excellent food but I just couldn’t chew the raw meat. Here, for the first time in my life I not only ate all my Veal with rosemary and mushrooms, because it was nothing short of d.i.v.i.n.e.
They saved the best and the richest taste for last. The red wine for the veal had such a long aftertaste you could still feel it on your tongue minutes after you have placed your glass back on the table.
I definitely recommend this experience to anyone who doubts that Bulgarian wines can reach world class level. You will be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful palette of flavours and the interesting facts you can learn about the industry.
How to find Casa Art?