Well no, not quite, because the Russian dacha culture is as unique as the Austrian’s Gemütlichkeit, but being in the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains, and with the snow falling, made us feel as if we were on a holiday. And after a week of highs and lows on both home fronts, this food holiday was just what I needed.
The occasion was a Pig Feast. No, not Pig Fest, but Pig Feast. We arrived a little before midday; by this time the other half of this lovely, lovely, piggie was being prepped for lunch.
We were not alone in our enthusiasm for swine dining.

The brave opted for fresh roast pork outside.


We, not so much. At a reserved table and delivered by white-gloved waitstaff, the first course: an aspic of roast pork and onions with homemade vinegar. Oh. My. Growing up, this dish was very casually prepared in a square pan, with wedges cut like brownies. This was much prettier.

The main? Roast pork with potatoes and sauerkraut, of course. We have never been served a meal by white-gloved wait staff, and nor have we ever, ever had roast anything that tasted as good as this roast. Ever. After lunch we wandered a bit outdoors to walk off our meal, catching snowflakes on our tongues, smelling the pine trees, and otherwise savoring the experience.

Because meat grinders and red wine pair well.



The rosy glow was from the gusty wintry weather, and not at all from the glasses of Frankovka Modra we enjoyed with lunch.

We explored the little village below the dacha before heading home, too. An unremarkable rural and slightly shabby Central European village with the requisite town gate, and three churches.


By good fortune we missed a turn heading home and spotted a small store selling Majolika pottery. I am not a big fan of the patterned pottery, and the kindly shopkeeper spoke only Slovak and Russian, so we resorted to the other universal language of “Euros and Pointing” so that I could bring this gorgeous tall water pitcher home instead.

Is that not a beautiful color combination?

To end, a bunker along the way home that I had not spotted on previous border crossings. And just when I thought my day could not get any better.