We knew that the Hotelová Akadémia Prešov was used to organising international events and that the Eurocup competition, which has been taking place there every November for the last 22 years, is always a success.
But the two-man team consisting of Jozef Senko and Marek Sotak won top marks for Christmas in Europe 2014; there was a most convivial atmosphere at the event, and as the days went by the participants were treated to what had been until then well-kept secrets.
First of all there was Prešov itself, an ideal setting, an attractive and ecumenical town which, within an area the size of a pocket handkerchief, has five places of worship: a cathedral, an orthodox church, a Greek Catholic church, a protestant church and a synagogue, all located in the town centre.
And then the event itself was run according to the official guidelines (with which the Prešov team was well acquainted, having already taken part in eight such events) to which the organisers added a few extra ‘nuggets’.
It was also a form of workshop based on products: Slovak wines, in the wine museum … and a wine list of quality vintages and astonishing variety at the European buffet; spirits distilled in Nestville and typical local dishes at Salas u Franka or at the presentation of local cuisine, a lot more gastronomic than you might think.
And it included a little touch of Eurocup with the Slovak grand master making trendy new cocktails.
And then there was the discovery of the Cognac Embassy, the world-famous and prestigious centre for the promotion of Cognac, and a meeting with an exceptional expert in the field.
The whole event went off without a hitch, and even included some well-chosen references to Europe at the inaugural ceremony, and to the AEHT at the sublime tableau showing white gloves under ultraviolet rays (the participants will remember this well!).
On behalf of all the participants, we thank the organisers most warmly, as we all know that, behind the visible white gloves lies hidden an enormous amount of preparatory work and positive energy from which we all benefitted in an enjoyable atmosphere of sharing and of Christmas.