By Naheen Madarbarkus
Colonies, Victoria, Wednesday 9th June
The World Cup season kicked off in Victoria with a special party to celebrate Slovenia’s participation in the competition. Hosts STO, together with the Bled tourist board, presented a Slovenian evening as guests were greeted at the Colonies pub entrance with entry into a prize draw for a chance of a free trip to the country. And as a token of their hospitality, a free beer voucher was also handed out to taste the local brew. So far, so good.
So what is Slovenian exactly? The pub itself didn’t give too much away as it wasn’t draped with banners and portraits of the country but instead focused on the World Cup with the participating nation flags dotted around the venue. A stage area at the back of the pub was set up for the tourist board to talk business. Famous hotspots, such as the wine regions of Podravje, Posavje and Primerska were talked fondly of as centrally located tables offered the guests bottles of red and white from their finest vineyards.
Comedian Geoff Norcott spoke about the country’s World Cup chances and the picturesque Lake Bled which was described as their hidden gem. The speech continued and understandably, turned into a bit of an advertisement as all good things Slovenian were mentioned.
It was then time to check out the food corner, which, although centrally located next to the wine bottles, was no challenge for my elbows and me. A small selection of tasters saw ceremonial bread (bosman) and a delicious sweet cake with colourful layers (vrtnek). The plates also offered a light cheese to complement the wine with some chorizo style sausage and other meat cuts to complete the platter board.
As I was reunited with my wine glass, the speech had come to a natural end and images via a PowerPoint presentation of the country’s greenery and mountainous areas graced the pub’s current World Cup LCD TVs. As the pub started to empty out, it was time to head for the Colonies’ exit and although I wish Slovenia the very best of luck, there’s only one thought on my mind. Come on England!