I thought I'd re-launch A World Safari with this great post by my husband about a particularly fabulous dinner we had a couple of weeks ago at the Hedona Wine Club, an exclusive establishment in the hills above Sarajevo.
Enjoy ~ more to come!
Hedona Wine Club
Elegant Dining Experience Lets You Drink in Local Wines and Spectacular City Views
Words by Scott Kennedy, photos courtesy of Scott Kennedy and Hedona Wine Club
10.22.15 — Nestled high in the hills overlooking Sarajevo is a hidden gem for lovers of fine food and wine. Hedona Wine Club is the creation of Arman Galičić, who is also the owner and one of the masterminds behind the Sarajevo Brew Pub. Hedona is not a restaurant so much as it is an experience. Arman has built up a wealth of knowledge on the wines of the former Yugoslavia region and uses Hedona as a way to showcase these wines, carefully paired with innovative renditions of classic Bosnian dishes.
Hedona is an excellent choice for a special-occasion restaurant (though it should be noted that they have a four-person minimum) and we booked it to celebrate the final night of a family visit.
Arriving around 5:30 on a Friday, we were greeted by Arman and his wife with a welcome drink and an amuse-bouche. Following introductory conversation and admiring the beautiful views of Sarajevo and surrounding Hedona vineyards from the dining room, the other guests for the evening —a group of six visitors from Denmark— arrived.
Dining at Hedona is a shared experience and we all took seats around the table together to begin the evening’s degustation. While working our way through the first few courses (pumpkin soup, sea bass, and a four-cheese sirnica), Arman carefully explained each of the paired wines and his creative take on local cuisine.
In the midst of our meal, Arman called for an impromptu intermission, leading our group away from the table and down the steps to the Hedona wine cellar. On the premises, Hedona has approximately 3,500 grapevine plants, mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which Arman uses to carefully make sparkling wines following traditional methods. After explaining the process and intricacies of making sparkling wines, Arman popped open two bottles of his 2012 vintage for everyone to sample. They were fruity, crisp, and refreshing – a perfect drink to cleanse our palates and reinvigorate us for the rest of the food to come.
Back at the dining table, we were served lamb sous-vide followed by veal, before moving on to sweet dishes and dessert wines. As Arman said more than once during our meal, “life is short so you should enjoy good food, good wine, and good company.” That sounds like a great recipe to me!
Anyone interested in making a reservation at Hedona should contact Arman at least three days in advance to allow time for the necessary preparations. Though each menu is unique and a surprise, Hedona is happy to work with guests to accommodate dietary restrictions.
While making a reservation can be a bit of a challenge, the experience is worth the effort for those who are persistent. Expect to spend four to five hours for dining at Hedona. The price, at 200 KM per person, is quite high for Sarajevo, but offers an excellent value in comparison to a similar experience in the United States.