MEET OUR BEEKEEPER | ALGIS MIKALOPAS
“Bees are an integral part of my life,” stated Mr Algis Mikalopas, the professional beekeeper who helps with two beehives on the roof of Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius. Mr Mikalopas has been surrounded by bees since his childhood. His grandfather and his father took care of more than 60 beehives in the past. After finishing his professional education in beekeeping, Mr Mikalopas turned his career into beekeeping whilst extending on the knowledge taken from his grandfather and father. Mr Mikalopas said that he mostly admires slow, calm work time with bees and enjoys being surrounded by nature. Bees, according to him, are very interesting animals that are highly valuable for both nature and human beings. Bees are extremely important as they produce valuable products, such as bread of bees, honey, vax, pollen and royal jelly. They are an inherent part of nature. Mr Makilopas has been keeping bees for more than 24 years in three different regions of Lithuania, including Vilnius, Šalčininkai and Trakuaiand he has more than 160 beehives. As a professional beekeeper, he helps and consults hotel staff on how to take care of the bees living in the two beehives on Floor 4 of Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius. It is expected to harvest around 30-50 kg of raw, natural honey.
MEET OUR CHOCOLATIER | CHOCOLATE NAIVE
“I am often asked why I chose to make chocolate. I always hesitate before replying. Should I tell a vivid story about my idea or should I just plainly say that I saw a niche in the market?” said Domantas Uzpalis the CEO of Chocolate Naïve.
“The truth is neither of these answers is entirely correct. Chocolate is like my own life – both bitter and sweet. It has been a constant companion that has seen me grow from a carefree youth to a quixotic adult. Chocolate is a luxuriant as my most vivid dream and as humble as my simplest reality. By tasting Chocolate Naïve’s chocolate you give affirmation to my lifetime project and for this I want to thank you personally.”
In a little town called Parapijoniskes on the eastern side of Lithuania, Chocolate Naive makes their beans into bar chocolate. Each and every morning, the chocolate master carefully roasts fresh cacao beans, whose delicious aroma gently awakens the residents of the town. Just as they were hundreds of years ago, the cacao beans are slowly rolled and cinched to release their extraordinary bouquet of fruits, nuts and flowers in a delicately finished chocolate bar. These handcrafted bars are later stored to mature and form a complicated array of tastes and seasonings. With every piece of chocolate made, Chocolate Naïve tries to give away a piece of our philosophy, our land and our fresh countryside air.
“We take great pride in informing eaters not only where we source our cacao beans from, but who actually produces our honey or which farmer supplies the butter for making the caramel. We are pleased to co-operate with growers from around the world, but we also celebrate local heritage.”
Experience a piece of mystery for yourself at Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius and find a bar of Chocolate Naïve in the mini-bar in your room.
MEET OUR CHEESE PRODUCERS | RASA & VALDAS
“I milk myself, squeeze myself and feed myself” – that is the slogan of four families from Dzūkija that have organised an informal union known as “The House of Cheese”. The cheese provided is served for guests at restaurant Telegrafas. The House of Cheese was established at the farmstead of Rasa and Valdas in the village of Dzūkija – Dargužiai. The farmstead’s owners shepherd sheep and goats themselves, and also milk the animals to produce cheese. Every family has its own animals and makes cheese; however, they all sell it together. They not only market, but also take care of the production quality, constantly learning from other cheese producers, attending various courses and taking experience from invited foreign consultants. The House of Cheese in the Dargužiai Village presents many different types of cheeses for both tasting and selling. This year, around 13 different kinds of sheep, goat and cow cheeses are offered. The owners point out that it takes around three hours to produce cheese; however, the duration of production depends on the type of cheese, as well as the producer. The cheese can be produced in up to one hour or 24 hours, whilst other types of cheeses can be matured for half a year or more. You are welcome to taste the selection of cheese offered at the restaurant Telegrafas.