Ninety minutes north and west of our village of St. Anton is a place called Bojnice (boy-neet-seh), another small-ish village in Slovakia.
This village, too, boasts a castle.
But oh what a castle!
This castle is considered by many to be Slovakia’s most beautiful.
We just might have to agree.
Our friend Silvia arranged for us to spend two nights in a boutique hotel in the town, called Bojnicky Vinny Dom, or Bojnice’s Wine House.
Mr. Lekýr, a respected wine-maker and his wife took what was a ruin and turned it into a beautiful, 10-room hotel with a small spa and very large vinoteque – they offer a variety of Slovak and European wines for sale (over 400), which includes their own white, rose and red organic wines.
The price was right, so we booked the wedding suite and were rewarded with beautiful surroundings inside and out:
The floral arrangements all over the hotel are live and fresh.
Above is the view from one side of our room; below, the other side of the room:
Our ‘program’ for the stay was a full day at the hotel on Thursday, so Wednesday afternoon we explored the little town and its big castle.
Lunch was at an excellent restaurant three doors from the hotel, called biograf. The outdoor dining area was quiet – we arrived a little after two – so we had the place mostly to ourselves. Service was very friendly and accommodating. Food wasn’t bad. Wine was local and a tasty dry white. We lingered a little,
then strolled down the tree-lined walkway to the centerpiece of the town: Bojnice Castle.
Okay, this castle is photogenic from about 50 different angles, so you’re going to see some of those angles now, because I couldn’t decide which ones to exclude in this post.
We never did get around to visiting the interior although we were assured it is equally beautiful. After looking at some of the interior images on Google, I’d say we’d better go back for our own tour.
After the long and leisurely walk around the castle and its grounds, we ended up just next door to the hotel, in an outdoor wine café.
Then on to enjoy a sunset on the castle from our room,
before we ventured back to dinner at biograf. The restaurant was doing a very lively business, all but one table was full of both local and foreign patrons. Tables of Slovak, English and German speakers surrounded us. The chef likes to cook beef so we both ordered a rib-eye and fries, and weren’t disappointed.
And it was an easy stroll back to the hotel, about 100 steps.
Boy, were we lucky with the weather on Wednesday, because Thursday it rained all day long.
That was okay since our plans for the entire day were focused inside the hotel.
After breakfast, I had what was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. She started with my hips and everything went relaxed after that.
Lunch was a formal affair in the private dining room with lighted candelabra and fresh floral arrangements.
They knew it was our anniversary so they pulled out all the stops and gave us the royal wedding treatment.
The four course meal was created from very old recipes used by the nobility in Slovakia.
No peasant food for us!
First, a baked slice of ewe’s milk cheese on grilled beet slices with an astounding salsa verde.
Next, an antique version of dainty matzo balls (we think with a hint of allspice) in a parsley-sprinkled chicken consommé.
The main course was a roasted, stuffed quail on a bed of thinly sliced, sautéed sweet potato.
How the chef managed to roast that tiny bird to be perfectly moist and succulent is, in itself, a tiny miracle.
Dessert was a very traditional, warm spätzle (skinny egg noodle dumplings) flavored with crushed poppy seeds, powdered sugar and add your own honey to taste.
The meal was served with the hotel’s own label Rudelenské biele, a dry white wine variety found in Austria and Slovakia.
Thank goodness it was raining outside: we could barely roll ourselves back to the room, where we dozed and read until…
…. You guessed it:
We found ourselves back in the same private dining room. The table decorations were different (large ‘diamonds’ instead of gold rose leaves we had at lunch). And the room’s beautiful wood burning furnace was aflame to keep the chill out of the air. (There was very little chill, but the visual effects were certainly pleasing.)
Dinner began with the house sekt, the Slovak word for sparkling wine, again, the house label.
After a dainty three-cornered sandwich amuse bouche of cheese wrapped in zucchini, our first course was …
Yes, the Slovak nobles ate foie gras just like their Austrian and Hungarian noble neighbors did.
Ours was fresh, sautéed with thin slices of grilled apple. The wine was the house sauvignon blanc.
The main course was wild duck, roasted, with an accompanying ‘forest fruit’ sauce, mostly big, juicy blackberries. Three bell-shaped potato croquettes flanked the (again) perfectly moist duck breast. This chef knows how to cook.
The wine with the duck was the house rosé.
We were given a short reprieve before dessert, in order to climb down two floors to the cellar, where Mr. Lekýr was waiting for us, to give us a taste of some of the wine he is making, still in the cask.
We sampled various reds, including his own fortified wine (á la port) and a vertical sampling of one of his more favorite reds, an Alibernet. (It was similar to a Cabernet)
Back upstairs in the dining room, we were treated to a glass (or two) of the port with dessert, which was a strawberry Pavlova.
They poured a generous glass of the Alibernet to finish.
This time we were very happy to ‘take the elevator home.’
Which we did.
On the way, we decided our two favorite deadly sins were gluttony and sloth.
Friday morning, we said a fond farewell to the hotel, castle and town of Bojnice and drove the 90 minutes home in the rain.
Once again, we’ve been hugely lucky to celebrate our anniversary just the way we like it.