Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Chef's Stage in Šibenik: Gastronomy Influences Perception of Destination

As Morski writes on the 18th of March, 2019, yesterday one of the most important gastronomic congresses in the Republic of Croatia - the Chefs' Stage, began. The gastronomic event has been taking place in the historic Dalmatian city of Šibenik from the 18th to the 19th of March, and has been attended by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Frano Matušić.

This Šibenik-based gastro event, which brings together some of the greatest names of both the Croatian and the international gastro-scene, has created discussions on a number of issues related to gastronomy and the hospitality sector, with the aim of linking those who work in tourism, hoteliers, manufacturers, suppliers, influencers, and all other types of professionals within the industry, as well as all enthusiasts of a high quality gastronomic scene.

At the very beginning of Šibenik's Chefs' Stage, the importance of gastronomy for Croatian tourism was pointed out by the longtime Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli:

''As many as 93 percent of tourists take part in some kind of ''special experience of food and drink'' during their trip, suggesting that today, gastronomy is a piece of content that can significantly affect the perception of an entire destination and influence the level of satisfaction guests have with their overall tourist experience. Croatia is successfully building its image as a high quality gastronomic destination, which is best acknowledged by our recognition by the world renowned Michelin and Gault & Millau guides, and with further connectivity with local producers and building ''stories and experiences'' related to our eno-gastronomic products, Croatia can become one of the gastro icons of Europe,'' Capelli stated.

During the two day Chefs' Stage, there were numerous panel discussions, masterclasses with well-known chefs, and lectures on gastronomy with the beautiful backdrop of Šibenik adding to the ambience. Among other things, the panel related to the project of linking the food-processing sector and the tourism sector through the establishment of local production systems and the territorial branding of the Republic of Croatia as a recognisable gourmet destination. It is a project aimed at positioning Croatia as a gastro icon affirmed through local foods, authentic tastes, and diverse cultural heritage, and for that purpose an action plan for the development of gastro tourism will soon be presented.

The panel titled "What Croatia needs" was attended by Secretary of State Frano Matušić, who himself emphasised the fact that gastronomy is one of the foundations of the development of year-round tourism. He said that according to research by TOMAS Summer 2017, gastronomy was highlighted as one of the main motivators for the arrival of guests in Croatia. Namely, according to that piece of research, as many as 29 percent of respondents emphasised gastronomy as a motive for making Croatia their choice.

''A large contribution will be given by the Competence centre which will, through networking and cooperation with powerful foreign centres, contribute to strengthening the quality of education in the tourism and hospitality trade, which will ultimately affect the quality of our country's gastronomic offer,'' concluded Matušić.

The second edition of the largest gastronomic congress in this part of Europe - Chefs' Stage, brought 50 Croatian and 33 international chefs and other professionals together in Šibenik over a two day period, with products being presented by 70 Croatian producers and winemakers, along with the presence of representatives of various gastro-oriented international media.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Croatia's Mlinar Opens First Bakery in Scandinavia!

Whether it's a cheese burek and yogurt or kifle and a hot coffee to get you going in the morning, or a slice of pizza and an ice tea in the evening, Mlinar has been serving the needs of the general public in Croatia for many years. From freshly baked bread to various donuts, strudels and sandwiches, this bakery has it covered. 

Mlinar has been spreading its wings over the last couple of years, with its business stretching over to as far as Australia, and it seems that trend isn't about to stop yet, even if it's much closer to home here in Europe. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of March, 2019, over the last few years, the company has been intensively developing its export placement and expanding its franchise business all over the world, taking to multiple countries and indeed to multiple continents.

The very first Mlinar bakery in the Scandinavian country of Finland opened its doors to the Finnish public on March the 16th, 2019, in the city of Lahti, at Vapaudenkatu 13. Just one day earlier, Mlinar's sixth store in Sarajevo, in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina was opened at Koševo 21 (otherwise, as far as the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina is concerned, this is the ninth Mlinar bakery to open in the country).

As Mlinar continues its mission of ''taking over the world'' with its popular baked goods, Mlinar's wise business move in opening a bakery over in Finland has occurred after doing the same in neighbouring Hungary and Slovenia, as well as in Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Slovakia, and Malta.

From our continent of Europe to as far as New South Wales on the other side of the world in Australia, Mlinar's easily recognisable blue sign can be found thanks to a set of clever business moves and the intensive development of its export placement.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page for much, much more.

 

Monday, 11 March 2019

Are Mali Ston's Precious Oysters Now Norovirus Free?

We reported recently on the truly tragic situation that Ston's precious oysters had found themselves stuck in. In short, this famed gem of southern Dalmatian cuisine had fallen victim to Norovirus after septic tanks weren't being cleaned out properly, and the traditional Days of Mali Ston Oysters, which was due to be held on the 16th of this month, had to be cancelled for health and safety reasons.

While the news was indeed as sad as it was alarming, has a solution to Mali Ston's Norovirus problem been found?

As Morski writes on the 11th of March, 2019, there appears to no longer be any detected presence of the potentially deadly Norovirus in Mali Ston. This was confirmed to Dubrovacki list by dr. Sc. Eddy Listeš from the Veterinary Institute of Split.

The last tests on the matter were carried out last Friday, but unfortunately the paperwork confirming the absence of Norovirus from the area and its beloved oysters has not yet reached those to whom such a document of confirmation is of vital importance.

To briefly recall, back at the very beginning of March, discovered via the regular sampling of the seawater and shellfish (oyster) quality, the presence of Norovirus was established.

Norovirus, otherwise of human origin, is the cause of infections of the digestive system. Norovirus wreaks havoc in the human digestive system, causing violent diarrhoea, vomiting, the inability to hold any food or liquid down, often resulting in dehydration and the need for emergency hospital treatment, and sometimes even in death. It is transmitted from person to person, via the fecal-oral route, typically through food contaminated by the fecal matter of infected persons and contact with surfaces contaminated with Norovirus. Norovirus is highly contagious and its symptoms, which as described above are often severe, tend to manifest quickly.

Having the potentially massive health issues that could be caused by the consumption of Mali Ston oysters which have come into contact with Norovirus in mind, a decision was made by the organiser of the traditional Day of Mali Ston Oysters to cancel the beloved event, writes Dubrovacki list.

Vlado Onofri, a respected senior scientific advisor at the University of Dubrovnik said that septic tanks, which in themselves would not be problematic were the situaton involving just several family houses, were the cause of the Norovirus issue. The situation that has arisen in the Dubrovnik area as a whole is that there are now a lot of apartments and far too many people, without anyone properly dealing with the septic tanks and the dangerous bacteria and viruses that gather there.

"Septic tanks can't withstand that pressure and it (everything that builds up in them) has to come out somwhere. That's it. We've sh*t on ourselves,'' stated Onofri.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Has Croatia Ruined its Oysters? According to an Expert, Apparently...

Have Croats managed to destroy their beloved Ston oysters with feces? Maybe. It sounds like another negative and inflammatory headline about how nobody can do anything right, but according to one respected expert, this might really be the case.

Norovirus is a potentially dangerous virus of the Caliciviridae family which causes 19 to 21 million illnesses, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalisations and as many as 570 to 800 deaths per year according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Often called stomach flu, Norovirus is highly contagious, and is known to mercilessly tear through populations of people in concentrated areas, cruise ships are a particular favourite playground for the virus.

Symptoms, which include chronic vomiting and diarrhoea can become very severe very quickly, rendering a person unable to hold anything down, eventually leading to extreme weakness, sudden weight loss, dehydration, and the need for emergency treatment. Now we've covered the basics of this microscopic devil, how has the presence of Norovirus managed to infiltrate Ston's long oyster-based traditions? Perhaps more importantly, just how have the Croats succeeded in allowing such danger to seriously threaten Ston's most prized gastronomic offer?

As Index writes on the 5th of March, 2019, Vlado Onofri, a scientific advisor at the University of Dubrovnik spoke to Libero portal and explained that the Croats have indeed managed to destroy southern Dalmatia's internationally adored gourmet delicacy. He said that the cause was the unsolved issue of the area's sewage network, more specifically septic tanks that are full, and not being emptied. Such conditions lead to the presence of potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria, including the potentially fatal Norovirus.

Because of the presence of Norovirus on three of the five control points on which Ston's beloved oysters are grown, the Day of Mali Ston Oysters, which was supposed to take place on March the 16th, has now been cancelled for health and safety reasons.

"I'm sorry for the hospitality and catering facilities and for oyster lovers, I know they'll lose out on a lot because of this, but some things need to be said in order to start sorting things out," said Vlado Onofri rather bluntly, who claims that when it comes to Croatia's very unfortunate oyster situation, there's nobody to blame but the Croats themselves.

"There will certainly be a reaction after all of this, but come on, have someone show me that they've paid for the emptying of the septic tanks! Nobody will show you that! Except the Koruna restaurant, which I know keep their oysters in pools and they're absolutely fine for consumption. That's the only example [of that] in Ston.

The entire area hasn't had its sewage situation solved adequately, and it was the obligation of the state to resolve it at the beginning of the eighties when the sewage [system] was being done. Mali Ston and Veliki Ston were meant to be connected to the entire sewage system, this wasn't done and now after so many years, it's time to pay! You know how it goes with septic tanks, when there were small households, there were small quantities, but now there's a lot more, it's all too full up, and nobody is emptying them!" Onofri said.

This isn't the first time a virus has appeared in these oysters.

"Three years ago, there was a problem. People got food poisoning, started having diarrhoea, vomiting... that's Norovirus, viruses aren't harmless things, that virus can live for hundreds of years in sludge, when it comes across live tissue, it becomes virulent again (a pathogen's ability to infect its live host) because it crystallises its capsomer (a covering of protein that protects the genetic material of a virus). I'm good with virology and I know what I'm talking about because I did a Master of Science in the 1980s, and later a doctorate in Ston,'' Onofri explained, backing up his claims.

"We're dependant on the whims of humans and nature"

He also provided a response to the question of how long this dire situation might last:

"The oysters can quickly get rid of the virus if they're in clean water, meaning that we need purification pools that we don't have. There was an idea to make them in Bistrina, and I personally brought plans from France to show what this should look like. There were ideas thrown around about doing that, but it hasn't been done. This is an absolute necessity, for when such things do happen, to end up with a sanitised and proper product. Now we're depending on the whims of humans and nature when it comes to how our products end up! The pools weren't made because of a protected reserve where nothing at all can be constructed,'' stated Onofri.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Is Continental Tourism Croatia's Future? Zagreb and Slavonia Presented

The stand of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) with its 24 exhibitors is the largest at this year's Munich Tourism Fair, with the tourism potential of both Zagreb and Slavonia having special emphasis placed on them. Gari Cappelli believes that continental tourism is the future for Croatia's tourism offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of February, 2019, through the variety of Croatian snacks prepared by famous Croatian chefs, master chef Branko Ognjenović and the chef of the Croatian football team, Tomica Đukić, numerous visitors to the International Tourism Fair f.re.e 2019 - which, as we reported recently, is being held in Munich, Germany, from the 20th to the 24th of February this year, had the opportunity to get better acquainted with the gastronomic offer of Slavonia and the City of Zagreb yesterday at the stand of the Croatian Tourist Board.

The Slavonian gastro scene showcased Ilok cellars (Iločki podrumi), Kutjevo, Belje, Brzica and Feravino. The promotion of Croatian tourism also includes some of the legends of FC Bayern - Slavonia native Ivica Olić, Giovani Elber, and Andreas Jung.

The f.re.e. tourist fair is otherwise the largest and most visited tourist fair in Bavaria, stretching to over 88,000 square metres, and this year, boasting as many as 1,300 exhibitors from 70 countries across the world, it is bigger than ever before.

The Croatian Tourist Board's stand, with its 24 exhibitors, was the biggest at the fair. Unlike in previous years when Croatia promoted its popular destinations on the coast mostly, this year the often overlooked Croatian continent, more specifically the capital of Zagreb and the Eastern region of Slavonia, which both have a lot to offer to tourists, are taking the limelight. The promotion of Slavonia as a desirable tourist destination is an excellent move for the Days of Croatian Tourism, which is set to be held on 4th to 9th October in the Slavonian region of Osijek.

Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, and Director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristijan Stančić participated in the presentation of the Croatian tourist offer along with the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, Martina Bienefeld, Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić and the domestic manager of the tour operator for Croatia, Selimir Ognjenović.

''Of the three million tourists coming to Croatia from Germany, 1.2 million of them come from Bavaria. So I can say that the Munich Fair is always some sort of indication for us to know what's going to happen this year in regard to tourism. The Germans are the type who appreciate the quality of Croatian tourism, because when those three million tourists return home to Germany, there's a lot to talk about.

Interestingly, we're not presenting the coast but the continent, because I think that's the future through health tourism, special forms of tourism, hunting, fishing, cyclotourism...'' Gari Capelli told Poslovni Dnevnik.

Nera Miličić, head of HTZ in Germany, says that there is a sense of pride in announcing the expansion of the Croatian tourist offer with "The most beautiful Croatian tourist secret" - Slavonia, and the triple winner of the most beautiful European advent - the Croatian capital city of Zagreb.

''We're especially delighted to have organised the largest presentation of the Croatian continent in Bavaria with our partners so far,'' noted Miličić.

''Given that for Croatian tourism, Germany is the emitive market from which we have the largest tourist turnover, we've created a rich and original event program at the Croatian stand that is attracting the attention of numerous visitors.

This is also the confirmation of a well-founded cooperation with FC Bayern Munich which gives us additional promotional value on the Bavarian market, where every other German tourist comes to us from,'' commented HTZ director Kristjan Staničić.

As a tourist destination, Croatia is a serious competitor on the German market. During these times of major changes, an increase in the amount of airline passengers from Germany to Croatia has been recorded, which has positioned Croatia among the most competitive destinations, alongside Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Egypt and Tunisia, countries which many tourists seeking package deals are usually attracted to.

Although Croatia was otherwise perceived as a destination to drive to from Germany, through the country's camping and private accommodation offer, it has also entered into the package holiday segment (hotel, transfer, flight) which is sold through a tour operator network. All in all, the interest of German tourists for Croatia remains very high indeed.

Numerous tour operators are continuing to expand their programs, smaller operators have begun ''selling'' Croatia, and some airlines are continuing to announce new lines.

The Germans are still in the leading position when it comes to the number of overnight stays realised by foreign tourists in the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the largest number of tourists from Germany come from the regions of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg. However, the Germans typically enjoy more family oriented holidays, often bypassing potentially more ''specialised'' types of tourism on offer.

Therefore, the presence of Croatia's more specialised tourist offers at such fairs is crucial to boost the awareness of German tourists to the country's more numerous tourist offers, and in particular to awaken tour operators to Croatia's more luxurious package of arrangements,'' stated Dragan Kovačević, Vice President of Agriculture and Tourism at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), who is also representing Croatia's tourist offer in Munich.

Make sure to stay up to date with more on continental tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board and Croatia's various tourist offers by following our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Traditional Croatian Recipes: Batuda

 

February 12, 2019 — Another favorite winter warmer hailing from Primorje, batuda or Primorski lonac is a traditional one-pot stew made with white and green beans, barley, sweetcorn, potatoes, and various smoke-cured pork meat like belly, ribs, shanks, or trotters.

Batuda is only found in Primorje, where it was traditionally prepared for the blue collars, whereas the word itself has its roots in the Italian word battuta which translates to "playing the trump card." It is one of those humble dishes that originated out of necessity rather than luxury, and was prepared for feeding the workers after a hard day's labor.

Nevertheless, being such a hearty yet healthy dish, batuda remains a favorite in numerous Primorje households. Here's the basic recipe:

Ingredients
200 g white kidney beans*
200 g barley
150 g sweetcorn
2 large carrots
300 g potatoes, cubed
100 g green beans
100 g tomato puree
250 g pork ribs
150 g pešt/zaseka
20 g parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
1) Start by cooking the beans. When they are half cooked, add barley, sweetcorn, and all other ingredients, except tomato puree and pešt.

2) When the meat and vegetables are almost cooked, add tomato puree and pešt. Stir well.

3) When the meat is almost cooked, remove it and cut it into smaller pieces. Return to the pot and cook all together for about an hour. Batuda must not be too thin nor too thick. Enjoy with some country-style sourdough bread.

Dobar tek!

*Beans: if you're using dried beans, you will need to start making your batuda the day before because they need to be soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours before they can be cooked. Alternatively, you can use canned beans and simply add them halfway through cooking time.

Stay tuned for more recipes by following TCN's gourmet page.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Croatian Cuisine: Your Guide to Sausages and Salamis

If anything, Croats are big fans of cured meats and love to share spreads of good cured meat called platas with friends and family. At any type of celebration that gathers more than four people I guarantee you'll find a wooden flat board with a whole range of salamis, sausages, prosciutto, ham etc.

These products are most often made from pork or a pork-beef combination, but pork usually prevails. Actually, six of them have received EU protection in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. We consume them in large quantities and are very proud of our tradition.

Home alone and lazy? A couple of hard boiled eggs and a pair of sausages are on the menu.

Don't know what to eat for lunch at work? Bread with some kind of salami with cheese spread or butter.

Most popular types of sausages:

Kranjska: 75-80 percent pork and no more than 20 percent fat, best served fried

Debrecinka: A mixture of pork and beef, slightly smoked, best when cooked

Češnjovka: Made from pork and spices with a strong hint of garlic, best when fried

Pečenice: Made from pork in a very thin sausage casing, slightly smoked, best when grilled

Most popular types of salamis:

Zimska: The most popular salami made form pork, in a casing covered with white mold which gives it its characteristic flavour

Čajna: Made form pork, traditionally smoked on beech tree, lighter taste but similar to Zimska

Milanska: Made from best cuts of pork inspired by Italian techniques which means it isn't as finely ground and has a softer bite to it

Srijemska: Made from pork, carries a bit more taste due to red a paprika spice which gives it the deep red colour

Kulen: Made from pork, this pearl of Slavonia is one of the best things you can taste in Croatia, slightly spicy due to hot red paprika

Although you can buy all these kinds in a local shop the best ones are the homemade ones. This January, after a two year break, my family finally decided to make a new batch of homemade sausages and salamis. Winter is the best time of year since it's cold so the meat won't go bad while drying.

Now, I'm in no position to discover the real recipe my father has kept hidden for years (this year he did hint at the used ratios) but I'll give you some useful tips on how to make delicious sausages and salamis. The must haves are a couple of volunteers and two days, it's best to do it over the weekend.

When making salamis, the ratio of pork to beef is around 80:20.

The meat and fat ratio is 80:20. We add salt and pepper and then some garlic water.

When making sausages, the pork-beef ratio is the same but the meat-fat ratio is 85:15. The spices are the same.

The meat needs to be minced and the fat needs to be cut into tiny little cubes because the worst thing is when you bite into a sausage and get a chunk of fat in your mouth. You mix it all well, the meat, the fat, the spices and leave it to sit, it's best to do that over night.

The next day, you fill the sausage casings by using a sausage maker machine. You have to have a light yet firm touch, be careful casings as they can tear apart easily. After that, you hang them and dry them in a fumatory for couple of weeks to a couple of months.

And there you have it, the method of making sausages and salamis in couple of simplified steps. As long as you drink a gemišt every thirty minutes or so, then you're good to go.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Pag Cheese Finally Gets Protected Designation of Origin Label

The good news has arrived early this year and this season's production of the famed and award winning Pag cheese will finally come with a protected designation of origin label which gives special importance to controlling the very production of the internationally appreciated Pag cheese.

As Morski writes on the 8th of January, 2019, the protected designation of origin label clearly defines the raw material, the description of the finished product, the geographical area of its ​​production, the proof of the origin of the Pag cheese, the process of the production correlation with the aforementioned geographical production area, and the details and the link between the geographical area of production and the quality and characteristics of the final product. Šime Gligora, director of Sirana Gligora, has welcomed this protection, according to a report from eZadar.

''From our very beginnings, our cheese factory has been producing exclusively from the milk of Pag sheep from the island of Pag, while the production of our other cheeses, cows, goats, sheep and mixed cheeses are made exclusively with milk from Croatia, largely from the area of ​​Northern Dalmatia,'' stated a satisfied Gligora.

Pag cheese is exclusively a sheep's milk product originating from island of Pag, its limited production is defined entirely by the number of sheep, their milk, and the production period for the end product.

The next level of protection is at the European Union level which, in addition to offering a huge level of protection, will greatly contribute to the establishment, recognition and the subsequent sale of Pag cheese in Europe and across the whole world.

Aside from that, it will certainly contribute to additional financial support and encourage the breeding of sheep for husbandry in the area of ​​the island of Pag, which hopefully ultimately means in the retaining of the domestic workforce, as well as influencing number of inhabitants on the island, cattle-breeding and agriculture, and the overall development of the dairy and cheese industries.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated lifestyle page for information on Pag cheese and much, much more.

 

Click here for the original article by eZadar

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Pula Company Raises Wages, Plans Move to New Location

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of December, 2018, every year, this Pula company produces almost 4,000 tons of varying baked products, and it's mostly bread and other rolls whose sales are continuing to grow.

Brionka, a Pula company, is the leading Istrian bakery and confectionery producer operating within the wider Rijeka area, and in early December is marketed popular and traditional dry Christmas cakes to mark the beginning of the festive season, as well as sweet bread with raisins. Over the past month, they have placed a new dessert on the market, namely a marble cake, and they are currently preparing for the upcoming placement of three more new desserts, cheesecake and cakes with a cookie which will be available at the end of this year or at the latest, early next year, according to Ivan Smetko, the production manager of the aforementioned Pula company.

As Glas Istre writes, in spite of numerous past doubts and the unenviable debts of Brionka's former management body, this Pula company is now operating positively, the salaries of its 250 employees increased by 20 percent, and the plans are to move to a new location in Pula or even in nearby Vodnjan where they could work from one place and thus further reduce the company's overall expenses, says Brionka's managing director, Mladen Anić.

As stated, this Pula company produces an enormous amount of food, with their production of almost 4,000 tons of bakery products, the most being bread rolls which have seen company sales grow by three to five percent. The biggest increase of 20 to 30 percent per year, however, is owing to the company's more salty range, including the beloved burek, which is commonly picked up on the go owing to the fast pace of life and the need for fast food.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian companies, products and services, what's going on in the business world in Croatia, and doing business here.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Intangible Heritage of Croatia – Ćupter – Traditional Wine Jelly Candy

Learn how to make the candy of Croatia's past!

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