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The inviting and tasty herald of winter

A whole seven months of the year, from the early days of May till late November, the Vipava Valley's orchards offer tasty produce to pick. Last to ripen is the lovely persimmon. When its fruit, about the size of an apple, turns yellow then gradually orange, winter lies at the doorstep. As if mother Nature granted the persimmon a special role, branches filled with sun-yellow gems adorn the late autumn landscape. The persimmon tree has an elegant crown, making for a pretty sight all year round while its autumn form is truly impressive, a symbol of Mediterranean plenty.

The persimmon, originating in East Asia, was brought to Europe only in late 19th century. It requires a gentle climate to flourish and so feels right at home in the Mediterranean soil. Its cultivation in the Vipava Valley began after the First World War, growing in popularity as the decades passed. Nowadays, looking at the total surface of plantations, the persimmon is already catching up to the apricot which has had a much longer tradition of cultivation in the valley. A revealing proof of its popularity is the widespread contemporary custom of planting at least one persimmon tree in each Vipava Valley garden.

The fruit of the persimmon is rather unique. After it's picked, it requires some additional time to ripen, then pampers the palate with a distinctive flavour and curious texture, differing from one variety to another. Some ripe persimmons reveal a soft core under their thin firm skin, while others are quite solid throughout. The persimmon is appreciated for its outstanding nutritious content: it packs a number of vitamins and other beneficial nutrients, and is accordingly recommended to anyone wishing to boost their immune system over the winter in a completely natural way. Visit one of the agritourism farms in the Vipava Valley and grab a crate of the healthful golden fruit to go!

The characteristic, somewhat exotic flavour allowed persimmon to make it straight into the local cuisine. When fully ripe, it's perfect for the preparation of creamy toppings and desserts, while Vipava Valley housewives also bake persimmon strudel, potica cake and a whole range of other pastries. Naturally, the full potential of this excellent fruit is harnessed by the imagination of the valley's chefs. Inns and restaurants in the Vipava Valley, especially those known for haute cuisine, impress with seasonal autumn dishes starring persimmon as a special flavour.

Dried persimmon is also an excellent treat, making for finger-licking wholesome dry slices. Sweet dry persimmons are found in the better stocked local product shops, or with certain producers.