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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    The Food of Croatia - Wonderful

    Before we went to Croatia, I was given the impression that the Food of Croatia was dull. Well, I don’t know whether or not those critics went to entirely different places that we visited, as I cannot speak more highly of the food and produce in this country.
    Unfortunately, I am not able to supply shots of all of the food that I will be talking about, but I have found a shot or two that represents at least the restaurant or the town. I will apologise in advance for the quality of a lot of my photography, sometimes it just had to be a half eaten dinner, or an empty plate… obviously eating and drinking got in the way of a good photo.

    The food is based on fresh produce, plenty of seafood, scampi, squid etc but white fish was expensive and not available everywhere.
    Bread on the table straight away, good selection of bottled waters.
    Our first meal was in Trogir. We noticed fairly quickly, that most of the restaurants had the same menu. Italian style, Antipasti, pasta, pizza, grilled sea-food. There was the northern influence of schnitzel, steak, pork and lamb.. They have a very good dried ham in the prosciutto style, grilled vegetables, food prepared freshly and simply. It is really just a matter of picking the restaurant that appeals.
    We wandered through the streets and decided on a little place tucked away in an alley.
    Laurian and I had Scampi, mine was plain grilled and she had the Scampi Buzara, which is in a tomato cream based sauce and very Croatian.. Very tasty.

    Dale and Geoff had Spag Bol both agreed it was very good.
    We had the house wine, perfectly acceptable, both White and Red.
    Didn’t shoot the food, but was very taken by the little canary in the corner.

    Laurian discovered from our hosts at Domus Maritima that an essential ingredient in Croatia cooking was Vegeta.
    It is a powdered flavouring probably containing all sorts of things that are not particularly good for you. But, an excellent flavour booster.
    If you dip your finger in you get dehydrated vegetables, salty and a touch of spice…We bought some of course. Plus I have brought some home.
    For lunch yesterday, I added it to the fried breadcrumbs that I sprinkled on top of our spaghetti. It is yummy.
    So we went shopping at the local market to provision for the boat. The fruit and vegetables were superb. Plus we were very taken with the local goats cheese. There was lots of samples for us to try. Of course we bought that as well.

    That night we found another alley restaurant. I had Pizza Margherita, I think they use the Buzara sauce, instead of fresh tomatoes and then melted cheese on top, large, very good,. I do like fresh tomatoes though but no complaints…Dale, Lasagne, Laurian Seafood Risotto and Geoff, Steak and Chips

    We got complimentary Grappa for the boys and a Banana tasting liqueur for the ladies. A nice end to our meal.
    Below our charming waiter…responsible for the free drinks.

    Next day Supermarket Shopping…this was interesting, a language that we have no affinity to…labeling that was strange to us…lack of major international brands.
    Even buying dips and cream cheese. We ended up with a cottage cheese spread which was nice, but I expected cream cheese.

    They have a wonderful little ham you buy in a piece and slice as you need it, Very juicy and sweet.
    They have packets of chocolate chip biscuits which were just fabulous.
    We also fell on love with these little croutons (pictured below)
    They are really good, keep their crispness but not tough, and they are in the shape of a little loaf.
    I am going to try and hunt them out here in New Zealand. Best I've had.
    We first saw them in Amsterdam in the Sandays Sandwich factory,
    Merrin Wessels served them to us, topped with some of the fabulous fillings they have in their sandwiches.
    So topped off with a lot of provisions we were ready to set sail.
    Our next restaurant call was in Hvar.

    We sat outside in the sun Geoff and I ordered Schnitzel and Chips, The veal here is tasty and delicious. Laurian and Dale had Seafood Risotto. It was good but not fab, we like the prices and the local wine, the people watching was fun.

    Next was the bay of (wonderfully named) Palmezana, quaintly, there is a fab little bar with two tree houses for the punter to have their drinks and gaze over the lovely little harbour.
    They also sport a restaurant and here we dined.
    Dale and Laurian had Fish soup and Octopus salad.
    The Octopus Salad is a specialty of Croatia and this one was very good. The soup was a little disappointing, just a broth with a bit of fish floating in it BUT I hit the schnitzel again and it was very good accompanied by the most creamy mashed potatoes. Fantastic

    The wines we enjoyed the most were from the Peljesac Peninsula, which is opposite Korcula, our next port of call we and also the Plavac Label was amongst our favourites.

    Korcula…here I had an excellent Maitai in a bar not far from the Marina, they had added pineapple juice and I have to say that was a winner.
    Off to yet another good restaurant, Amphora, Dale and Laurian had grilled sea bass. Very succulent but very small. Geoff went for the beef again and I had small sausages, Kofta style nice and moist with plenty of flavour. With a very tasty tomato sauce accompanied by grilled vegetables…
    We lashed out and ordered pancakes, filled with chocolate. Bit decadent but a nice ending to the meal.
    Pancakes are big on the dessert menus. Unfortunately they don’t do lemon and sugar only chocolate or strawberry jam and cream.

    On the local produce, front look at those tomatoes and they tasted as good as they looked. The Insalata Caprese, put together by Laurian, on board the good ship Viktoria, was dressed with another little gem. Local Olive Oil purchased from a couple of old ladies at a roadside stall. It was excellent nice peppery back taste.
    Dubrovnik well I have already waxed lyrical about that beautiful town and it’s food so I won’t bore you again.
    So another overnight in Mljet, ate easy on board.
    In the morning we were off to Vis. The waterway into this pretty little port was dotted with picturesque villages nestled in the hills. Quite a long sail
    Got out the Heineken Geoff had bought a keg of the beer
    It is really nice beer.
    I even had a second glass which is unusual for me.
    Once again the lazy mooring technique, back in and tie on, very simple.
    There is even a man walking the plank for you.
    Right opposite The Good Ship Viktoria, was the market including the fish market. It is there every day, once again, great produce .

    We looked in the Lonely Planet and found a restaurant that we thought would fit the bill.
    Restaurant Val. Set on the waterfront, a brisk walk from the Mooring

    Set amongst palm trees, very tropical, below a couple of satisfied customers
    We were immediately taken with it, and the staff
    Our charming waitress.

    It was an interesting menu.
    I went for the schnitzel again… served with grilled vege

    Tender and mouthwatering.
    Dale and Laurian Seafood Pasta,

    Geoff went for Seafood and Bean pasta. Looked great.

    We started with a bowl of mussels, small and sweet, the local ham wrapped around melon and some bread stuffed with sardines

    We treated ourselves to profiteroles and we were given dessert wine served with lemon peel to accompany it. Nice touch.

    Geoff bought squid from the fish market, we bought lovely peaches and tomatoes plus some more good goats cheese. Off to next port of call Kaprije.

    Another lovely island
    We anchored there and we waited for the crew of Chinano to arrive.
    Geoff cooked the squid it was delicious.
    Bit of prep first

    I cooked some roasted summer vege. Nice dinner.
    Dale had been shopping and had bought T shirts for the crew.
    For some reason Geoff’s was a little tight, but nevertheless, he looked very fetching we felt!

    Laurian of course always looks great
    The crew of Chinano rafted up and they were wearing their Team Shirts
    We consumed a few wines into bed, big plans for the next day, We were off to Skradin/Scardona. Same place 2 names.
    After an early morning swim, our little flotilla took off, another picturesque journey, and then pulled into the Marina at Skradin.
    Below the Good Ship Viktoria at the Marina.
    Went ashore and wandered around the little town. Very pretty
    Larry had been to Restaurant Skala before and recommended that we all try it.
    Good recommendation. It was one of our best meals of the trip.
    I had steak with tagliatelle flavoured with truffles.
    Excellent the beef they have here, the steak was perfect.
    Laurian ordered Octopus Salad and it was the best yet.

    The next morning we got up early and off to see the Famous waterfall.
    Well worth the visit.

    The National Park is very beautiful and peaceful, it’s a beautiful journey on the ferry to get to the waterfall.
    It took us about 90 minutes to get around the park.

    So after a pleasant visit, we farewelled Chinano.
    Our last night on the boat. We spent it at the Skradin Marina. An early night and back to Sibernik, where we got a ride to Trogir…farewelled our crew mates, It has been a wonderful 2 weeks. We had one more night in Trogir. Back to Domus Martima.

    Another excellent meal Restaurant Don and Dino, just down one of those alleys.
    Dale and I shared a Fava Bean and Cuttlefish dish served on Creamy Polenta
    It came in this cute little copper pot over a flame.

    which was so good I scraped my plate this clean!

    Another Steak meal for me, and Sea Bass for Dale Both good.
    So Croatia, you have done us proud and we just loved our stay in your wonderful country.
    We toast you “U Zdravlje and Hvala.”

    P.S. In the whole two weeks I only saw one Irish Pub and not one Asian restaurant.
    And even though I know they're there, not one Golden Arch.
    Truly ethnic food.


    Diana said...

    Hi Gilli

    love reading your blog, makes winter seem further away. Sounds you had a fab time, and good to hear the food was delicious. Great pics. thanks. xx Diana

    Barbara said...

    Enjoyed reading your holiday experiences. You can buy the Vegeta here in Australia. I just checked my container and it says Packed in Australia, imported from Croatia. I use it as stock in soups.

    So Simple said...

    Hi Barbara Yes a friend has tracked it down for mw here as well. Glad to know you like it too.