I recently had the privilege of attending the first Kinfolk event in Ljubljana, Slovenia. As an added bonus, it was on "The Essentials of Baking" and was at one of my favorite cafés in Ljubljana, just 10 minutes from my apartment. Here is a peak into Kinfolk's heart behind their gatherings:
The Kinfolk community gatherings are an invitation to engagement: engaging with new skills, new relationships, and a refreshed understanding of the physical world around us. We'll focus on cooking, gardening, the culture of the table, and other hands-on practices we find life-enriching.
As I entered Bazilika Bistro, I was welcomed immediately by the warm atmosphere and incredibly friendly owner, Darja Končarevič. Sipping on a glass of champagne topped with a basil leaf (how appropriate), I met some wonderful Slovene women as we gathered around the table topped with bowls of eggs, bags of flour, butter, rolling pins, KitchenAid mixers, and springform pans.
Jack Johnson and Michael Bublé played the background music while candles and gentle spotlights created a calm, well-lit setting. On the wall hung fresh herbs attached to twine and fresh flowers graced the dinner table, while water was served out of empty wine bottles.
Being the only native English speaker, I was curious as to how the night would go with my little (yet growing) knowledge of the Slovene language. With our matching striped aprons on, the 4-hour long evening of cooking and baking commenced and I felt embraced by the community of women there.
Up first was rolling out the dough for savory pies. As those baked in the oven, a small jar and marble was handed out to each woman. We filled the jar 3/4 full with sweet cream and placed the marble inside, shaking for several minutes. To my surprise, homemade butter began to form that we then mixed with the fresh ingredients of our choice from rosemary, lavender, sage, honey, salt, and more.
The cooked pie crust was brought out and we teamed up in pairs to fill it with fresh vegetables and cheeses. My awesome partner, Klara, and I made a Špinačna Pita, with spinach, feta, and parmesan cheese. Whipped together with eggs and cream, it perfectly filled the crust.
As it baked, we gathered around the table to feast on the various dishes provided. I particularly fancied the homemade bread (brought by one of the women) topped with my rosemary + honey butter.
While I couldn't understand many of the conversations happening around me, I felt myself smiling and laughing along with them, realizing that although we were born countries apart, we have far more in common than our language difference indicates.
Out came the savory pies and up flew the ladies from their seats. Sharing each other's creations, we regathered at the table as I flipped through Kinfolk's latest edition of their magazine. It. Is. Heavenly. And costs a pretty price, but was so fabulous to look through.
Kinfolk's website and magazine boasts some of the most fabulous photography and design I've seen, and Darja did a fantastic job of bringing the Kinfolk attitude to life in her shop.
The grand finale was piškoti (cookies) blended with fresh orange zest, homemade vanilla, dried cranberries and poppy seeds. Forming the dough into sausage-like rolls, we rolled them in wax paper and tied the ends with twine to take home and refrigerate for baking later. Darja had pre-made a batch of the cookie dough and served us the cookies hot from the oven. They were an amazing texture and blend of flavors, with the orange zest being bold yet not overpowering.
As the evening drew to an end, I exchanged blog info with some of the other (better photographer) ladies, and hopped in a cab with my gift bag in hand. What a rich evening filled with delicious food, fun activities and stimulating community.
Thank you, Darja and Kinfolk, for hosting a tremendous gathering that made me feel welcomed and inspired.