In the last few months, I have had the honor to visit the island of Brač quite a few times. Brač is the most well connected and nearest island from Split, making it an ideal destination for a daytrip. Brač is dubbed the ‘island continent’ and for good reason; it is one of the largest, it has the highest peak of all the islands, and it has many charming settlements, rare indigenous dishes, famous olive oils, a re-developing wine industry, and the jaw-dropping Zlatni Rat beach.
With almost hourly ferry departures from Split to Supetar, hopping onto Brač can’t get any easier. Thanks to Culinary Croatia, my trips there were all related to winery visits, gastronomic experiences and some adventure in between. Here’s a look at my most memorable experience on Brač with Culinary Croatia’s Full-Day Trek, Wine n’ Dine Tour.
I hopped on the 9AM ferry from Split to Supetar on the island of Brač. 50-minutes later, the gangway opened and a friendly Jakov greeted me; a local from Brač who drives island visitors around whilst spreading some Brač love on the way. This is Jakov’s island and it’s great to get to see it through his eyes.
We left Supetar behind us and ventured into the island’s hinterland. Well-trimmed olive groves dotted either side of the road, which led me into the charming hamlet of Dračevica where the Senjković Winery is situated (Click here to read more about the Senjković Winery). We parked in the village’s main square and walked for about 100 meters down a narrow street to be greeted by some of the hippest winemakers in the country, Magdalena and Saša Senjković. At the time of my visit, they were in the process of planting new vineyards, so we hopped into their old skool Lada so I could get a unique sneak peak at the hard job of clearing a jagged terrain, crushing rocks, and drilling deep into the ground in order to plant the vine roots. It always amazes me how vines truly perform best when they suffer but the Senjkovićs have certainly gone through some suffering for their vines to yield the best results. We returned to the winery for a refreshing white wine, Spoža rosé in a delightful barn-house, and their delectable reds, Bročko Rić and Bosso in the barrel cellar.
After a laugh-and-a-half, we hugged the loving family goodbye and meandered back to the main square to have a look at the island’s oldest olive oil mill before continuing our drive towards Bol. Bol is the most popular destination on the island, due its south facing location and the grand Zlatni Rat beach which attracts beach-goers and windsurfers from around the world. To get a bird-eye view, we travelled off-road to 450 meters altitude to see the newly planted vineyards of the Stina Winery (click here to learn more about Stina Winery). The 50-degree sloped vineyards are a sight for sore eyes and as you take in this moment above Bol, you can see the entire island of Hvar across the waters.
We trekked the vineyards and nestled on a terrace were the ruined of a monastery dating from 1477. Supposedly this monastery housed nuns who lived up there in solitude and who were completely self sufficient. We continued our walk another 10 minutes to a real surprise, Zmajeva Spilja or Dragon’s Cave where we waited for a guide to unlock the gates to a beautiful piece of history. This cave was once a Glagolitic temple in the 15th century and an intricate relief of a dragon marks it.
After this insightful vineyard walk, we descended to Bol for a tasting in the Stina Winery nestled against the Adriatic on the Riva-front in a 1903 structure. Behind its regal porch hides a state-of-the-art winery developed by a Croatian business mogul have spared no expenses in the development of his winery. Stina means ‘stone’ in Dalmatian and its name is inspired by the long quarrying traditions from the island. The ultra-modern interiors merge well with the old brick walls, new barriques lie against century old Austrian cement vats, glass and stainless steel decorate the grand tasting room where seven stone pillars remind you of the ‘stone’ inspirations of this hip brand. We met Jeri who guided us through the winery before he popped some of their signature wines, Plavac Mali Majstor, Pošip, and Rosé. The Stina brand definitely draws curiosity as the labels are…well, blank (!!) but as you inspect the white label closer, you will notice the embossed text on the top left corner. Perhaps a risky marketing tool but Stina have won several international design awards for their labels.
After wines and snacks with Jeri, he walked us over to a local restaurant for lunch. This restaurant is a modern hideout on the mezzanine floor of the Riva front, offering breathless views of the Adriatic. After an active day of trekking and sipping, a massive meat platter was welcome…and that’s just what I got, some of the best meat I’d had in a while; beef fillet wrapped in bacon, T-bone with herbed butter, chicken breast, and naughty potatoes. A day of gastronomic galore ended with a reputable semi-freddo made by the chef’s wife before returning with the ferry home.
Admittedly, I have underestimated Brač but Culinary Croatia has changed my perspective and I can truly say that this island is now in my top three in Croatia. Brač is full of history and surprises, and from a culinary perspective the discoveries are endless. After falling in love with the island, I was tempted to learn more and so I dug deeper resulting in an article about Brač’s indigenous dishes soon to be published in Dalmatian Hotspot Magazine soon.