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Restaurant at Castle Otočec

Pastry chef who conjures up a harmonious taste from seasonal local ingredients, even unusual ones

More and more visitors visit the restaurant at Otočec Castle for its delicious desserts and homemade ice cream. It is thanks to pastry chef Tatjana Malić that these sweet and sometimes surprising experiences appear on our guests' plates.

Pastry chef Tatjana Malić

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Read the interview and meet Otočec Castle's pastry chef Tatjana Malić.

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Tatjana places great emphasis on the taste and appearance of desserts.

Tatjana, three years ago, when you came to Otočec Castle from Germany, you couldn't have known that your desserts would become so popular.

(Laughs) Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to come and live in Slovenia and work as a pastry chef at Otočec Castle. Three years ago, that dream came true. And more than that – my desserts quickly became well-known, loved and praised by guests. I couldn't be more delighted about that!

When I see guests post pictures of my desserts on Instagram or Facebook, for me it's a recognition and it brings me great joy.

 

It's a long road to becoming a master, isn't it?

It's true. I finished pastry school in Germany, then worked for a few years as a pastry shop manager, then completed my pastry chef training. I continued my further education and completed 12 more specialisations in specific techniques and ingredients.

Working at Otočec Castle has been my dream since childhood; my parents are from Slovenia, and I wanted to come here to live, work and create.

 

But my goal is to progress even further professionally; you can never have too much education. The French are at the forefront of confectionaries, and I'm always keeping an eye out for new techniques and new trends.

Where do you find recipes or ideas for desserts?

Our motto in the Otočec Castle kitchen, not only for the pastries but for all dishes, is to use seasonal and local ingredients in an original way. That's the foundation, and from there on I can use my imagination. I'm extremely happy to have the freedom and support of my chef and management, to be able to create according to the inspiration of the moment and with the ingredients that are available. This way I can ensure the best flavours, freshness and also an aesthetic experience.

The recent trend in desserts is to use unusual ingredients, how do you feel about that?

It's a trend I love. I like to use herbs and spices, for example rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, roses, basil. We have a castle garden at Otočec, where all these herbs are grown organically, as well as berries and vegetables. So we always have these fresh healthy delicacies available in season.

I also use tomatoes in my desserts. This specific dessert was really special, with basil, thyme and homemade sour cream. Or a tomato and strawberry mix in panacotta, delicious!

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Tatjana enjoys her profession, as she likes to create something completely new.

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Welcome to Castle Otočec and try our desserts.

And how about ice creams?

We make our own ice creams, including vegan ice creams or sorbets, 100% from fruit. We choose fruit or herbs that are currently ripening here. At the moment we have rose, raspberry and thyme. We also include surprises in our desserts and other dishes, such as basil ice cream, dandelion ice cream in spring, pumpkin ice cream in autumn, or roasted pumpkin with ice cream.

We play with flavours, of course, to create harmony from the different components. We don't have a fixed menu of desserts, but prepare them daily according to my inspiration.

 

Do you also offer diet desserts?

Of course, there is now, for example, a raspberry cake that is vegan – egg-free, lactose-free, gluten-free and also no added sugar.

Which desserts do you particularly enjoy creating?

My speciality and greatest passion is chocolate, and I integrate it a lot in my desserts. I use very high quality, French chocolate with 64% cocoa. I make all my own chocolate decorations, pralines, spirals, cups, even sculptures.

I also like to bake wedding cakes and desserts for special occasions. I love making cakes with different textures and flavours that come together to create one perfect taste.

Many visitors come to the castle terrace just to have a cup of coffee and a dessert or ice cream. They also like to order our homemade herbal iced tea. The ambience inside the walls is wonderful for relaxation and refreshment.

 

What do guests like best?

Guests are very complimentary about the cakes, which change daily and come in a variety of flavours. One constant that is very popular is the chocolate mousse, very light, so light that it melts in your mouth – you can never have enough of it.

What desserts are you planning this autumn?

I already have some new things in mind, but I'd like to keep them a secret for now – it should be a surprise for the guests who visit us (laughs).

I enjoy my profession. I like to create new things, which helps me grow creatively. The reaction of the guests is very important to me; I like to surprise them and surprise myself by proving to myself what can be done.

 

You also met your husband at the castle. Congratulations on your wedding!

Yes, it's true (laughs). Thank you! This is only more proof that my decision to come to Otočec Castle was the right one!


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