This article originally appeared on VICE Slovenia
The result of the 2016 elections surprised most people. But Slovenia also had a weird night on November 8. A Slovenian had actually made it to the White House—as First Lady, but still. Most of us were flabbergasted. He—well, Donald and Melania Trump both—had done it. And the small town of Sevnica, which wasn't well known internationally (or even in Slovenia for that matter), suddenly became the country's unofficial capital.
VICE Slovenia went to Sevnica two weeks after the election result, to see if anything had actually changed. And it had. The moment we entered the city, a huge billboard brandishing Melania Trump's face welcomed us to the hometown of the First Lady of the United States. It set the tone for our short but very sweet stay.
As we parked the car and set off to find a nice place for a cup of coffee, we stumbled across a sign in front of the bakery Julija, which read: "Melania cake." And as we love cake and obviously would love to know what a White House-themed cake tastes like, we stepped inside and took a good look at this beauty.
The people in the cafe assured us that they spared no expense putting together the ingredients for this creation, and that the idea for it came to them after the surprising victory. Their vision: a silky white chocolate mousse with nuts, lying on top of a crust made with a buttery nut base. And, best of all, edible gold.
While we were mesmerized by the shining golden chocolate pieces, the baker pointed out that, as one of her patrons said best, "with the gold, you really Trumped up the whole cake." The appeal of gilded peaks and flourishes quickly became the theme for this whole trip.
After a hefty breakfast of golden cake we found the tourist center, to get any new information on the past two weeks. We learned that more Melania-themed treats are being prepared for the near future. This small but beautiful municipality is betting heavily on Melania Trump's new status as a way to shine a light on all the tourist attractions on offer. They admitted that nobody was expecting Trump to win and that when the results were coming in they went from "shit, he may actually win" to "fuck, he actually won." But what caught our eye was something completely different: the first in a series of new products that the town would offer to potential tourists. It was, of course, the quintessential Slovenian thing—honey.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Slovenia has powered up an initiative to bottle local honey, and pitch it as coming "from the local garden of Melania Trump." I couldn't verify whether that was really factual or not.
With thoughts of optimistic future in our minds, we ventured towards another place where we'd heard more desserts named after the future First Lady were being sold. It was onwards to "Pizzerija Rondo," where one of the first "Melania" desserts was made.
Its neatly packed mascarpone strawberry mousse was decorated with silver sugary pearls and covered with delicate lace and small glass crystals. According to the people working at the pizzeria, the dessert is a hit and we were quite lucky to even get a piece to try.
Fighting the effects of early onset diabetes, we followed rumors of another possible Melania-themed dish up the hills to Lisca, a 948-meter "mountain." It's a hiking destination near Sevnica that holds a beautiful cottage on its peak. And this was, if you ask us, the best experience of them all.
The caretaker Franc is a well-known pancake master, has baked more than 6000 crepes already and told us that he "was asked many times if he would make something new, now that the White House was just a little bit closer to Sevnica." And he delivered. He surpassed our expectations, even. The Melanija crepes are not only delicious but also the decorated in a truly impeccable fashion.
They're made with the finest ingredients you can get: blueberries picked around the cottage; a bourbon vanilla filling and ice cream; some cream to top it off, and a nice layer of edible—you guessed it—gold dust.
When I asked why the decision to go with gold, Franc replied: "Because, you know, Trump." But the best thing about the whole experience might just be the the room you sit in while you eat your golden crepes.
It's a place once personally visited by Josip Broz Tito, the former autocratic president of the Socialist republic of Yugoslavia, who even left a personal thank-you letter. The place has retained much of the same décor from those socialist days gone by which lends it special charm—even with all the Tito portraits intently staring down at you from the walls.
The culmination of the Melania Trump day on Friday was in Ljubljana, where the Christmas lights were turned on. This year there was something new. The workers, who put the Christmas tree up, and everyone else to be frank, had unofficially named the 20-meter tree "Melania." And until the beginning of January, "Melania" will be the centerpiece not only in Sevnica, but also in Ljubljana.
To top it all, the band Slavček performed a wonderful song honoring Mrs Trump. A loose translation of its chorus would be: "Melania found her marketing niche, through Trump she will enter the White House. From Sevnica directly to the top of the world, because she has a nose for the right man."
What a year to be Slovenian.