Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Croatia 2012 - Croatian Food

R6 is the wine that Anthony Bourdain raved about during his visit to Croatia.

"This is world class food; this is world class wine; this is world class cheese. If you haven't been to Croatia, you are a fucking idiot." Anthony Bourdain (I didn't swear, he did!)

Our evenings in Postira start with long dinners on the balcony:

During every meal I sit there and feel that it is almost impossible to choose what is most spellbinding - the view:

Or the foods:

Rosemary grows like a weed! It is used as a fence for houses. It also infuses the food with the most lovely piny aroma and flavor.

Rosemary bush

Grapes are everywhere. It covers outdoor garages to protect cars from the sun. It drapes over balconies  to add shade and beauty.

Olive growth over an outdoor garage

The grapes are a treat to eat:

Mozart was playing

And they make delicious wines:

The peaches are sweet and soft need to eat it. It's amazing:

Olive trees are the Croatian "postcard". They are all over and produce an out-of-this-world olive oil.

Olive Tree

We brought home a bottle of this award winning Croatian olive oil:

Award winning Croatian olive oil

Figs grow every where. And I can guarantee you have not had a fig better that one.

Figs picked next door 

I particularly enjoy it on my cheese plate.

Fig on a cheese plate

Going to the food markets is a delight:

Food market in Bol, Croatia

Food market in Split, Croatia
The lemon...cut one in half and your entire kitchen is infused with the aroma. The purple onion is so sweet, you could bite into it and not cry at all. The tomatoes are perfectly sweet...they seemed to end up at our table every night:

The prosciutto is outstanding. I had way too much of it :-)

Food market in Bol

Konoba Kod Joze, Split

The cheeses and salami...oh my...

We enjoyed having Pag cheese (from the island of Pag) along with wine.

Stina winery, Bol

The fresh fish and shellfish...freshly sweet and flavorful as it can get.

The fish of the day

From the sea to out table. Fresh fish cooked on wood burning grill
The grilled squid is a must!

Grilled squid being grilled at a village party, Bol - Croatia

And with the squid ink they make the amazing black risotto:

Shrimp, from street food:

To world class restaurants:

They have fantastic veal that is just lovely on the grill and when slowly cooked:

My mother-in-law's braised veal with mushrooms and potatoes

Oh, and the lamb. Croatia has most amazing lamb. I ate it grilled on wood burning fire:

Or the also grilled cevapi (type of kebab made with ground meats, including lamb):

And I ate it cooked (whole animal) in a spit roast for hours:

The desserts are wonderful there too (are you surprised?!). Unfortunately I did not eat many... I will cover them next year:-)

But, oh, and the daily gelato! 

By the sea:

Or at the ancient streets of town:

Nothing like a good gelato!!

Again, imagine yourself eating all of that while looking at a view this:

Tough, right??!!

I just scratched the surface with this list. There is much more to Croatian food than I could ever cover in quickly written blog post. Their cuisine is rich and diverse. I have not traveled around that country enough to really see and taste it all. But for now that (both the view and the food) is good enough for me.

Croatia 2012: Days at the Beach and a Favorite Sandwich

 It was already dark when we arrived in Postira, Croatia. Taken by exhaustion, all I could really see was my mother-in-law handing me a plate of cooked bell peppers filled with ground turkey and served over penne pasta and a light tomato and wine sauce. It was the remarkably flavorful and locally made olive oil that she drizzled on top of the peppers that reminded me of where I was at that time. After dinner we all moved to our bedroom and hoped that we would sleep well considering that our bodies were 7 hours behind us.

The first night was not so bad. In the morning the kids did what they do best: they forced me out of the bed. The first thing I did after that was to open the curtains in our bedroom. I was suddenly paralyzed by the picturesque sight outside the shutters - it was exactly how Postira lives in my mind...the mountains, the Adriatic, the greenness.

I immediately got myself and the kids ready for the beach and ran to the small beach in front of my in-laws house. My son was the first one to dip into the translucent water. I was able to capture his expressions at that time (they are worth a thousand words!).

We spent entire days at the beach. There was just too much fun to be had and we could not accept being away from the sea and the sun.

Next to swimming, our favorite thing to do at this beach is to sit at the cafe that overlooks the beach and  order several rounds of coffee with milk (expresso with a touch of milk and some delightful milk foam).   If the view was not good enough, Croatia also gifts us with phenomenal coffee. At the grocery stores I noticed that a lot of it is imported (from Brazil, Italy, etc), but it is the way they prepare it that makes all the difference - and men, they know how to do it.

While we sipped our coffee the kids had fun exploring the surroundings...

A favorite around lunch time (at that same cafe) is a hot sandwich filled with cheese, ham, mayo and pickles. I would never think of adding mayo and pickles to my ham and cheese sandwich, but it works! You are going to love it! Along with that sandwich we enjoyed the freshest and sweetest tomatoes bought at a local market. 

Postira Beach Cafe Sandwich

In Postira they use a long white bread that is soft and not too crusty. Unfortunately all I had today was a  crusty French baguette so that is what I used. Cut the bread in half like you do to make a sandwich. Spread mayo (be generous!) on both sides the bread ( used a light canola mayo but you can use any kind you like). Follow with thinly sliced pickles (as much as you wish).

Now two slices of cheese. You may use regular gouda (not smoked/not aged), or Havarti.

One or two thin slices of cooked ham.

Spread butter on the crust (top and bottom).

And place it on a panini grill or on a hot heavy bottomed skilled.

Make sure both sides of the sandwich are deep golden and that the cheese is all melted.


I have much more to share. Be back soon ;-)