Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Imotski Apartments Prove Hit, Reservations for Next Summer Already Coming

October the 19th, 2021 - When most of us who live in Croatia think of Imotski, we tend not to think of tourism and foreign tourists arriving en masse. The image of this inland Dalmatian destination, however, is gradually altering as foreign visitors discover the hinterland and all of its wonder a stone's throw away from the coast. Imotski apartments have done exceptionally well, prices have increased and reservations for summer 2022 are already coming in.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, yet another tourist season marked by the coronavirus pandemic has passed us by, and for the Imotski region it was especially lucrative, because their 2.5 thousand beds were more or less all filled.

Namely, after a successful tourist season, most of the 384 owners of luxury holiday homes with swimming pools in Imotski are satisfied. Imotski will, this year for the first time in history, record as many as 100 thousand overnight stays, four thousand more than back in pre-pandemic in 2019 when staying in private Imotski apartments with pools and amazing views was nowhere near as popular as simply heading straight for the coast.

"We had a great peak of the season and we also did well in September, but the pre-season was a non-starter and that's why we're still behind that year. This year in the Dalmatian hinterland was marked mainly by guests from Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Austria.

Reservations came in at the last minute, and 2022 already shows that it will be different and the competition will end up being much stronger. That's why marketing will be very important to us, which will be done during the winter, because the market needs to be reached with quality messages,'' said Ana Marija Paleka, head of the Novasol office for Slobodna Dalmacija.

Everyone involved in the home and private apartment rental business agrees that there has been a lot of thoughts being put into and around pricing formation this year, so some have significantly lowered their prices in fear of vacant properties, while others have increased them significantly as demand has visibly and in some cases quite rapidly grown.

"All this is logical because we went through the night from despair to euphoria, or from 50 euros to 300 euros per night in the same building. No one expected such interest at once and not everyone coped equally in it. It's really important that we keep the quality up. People should be prudent and careful in thinking about business for 2022, because there can be surprises. We're entering a normal year with strong competition and not everything will be like this year was,'' warned Boris Zgomba, President of the Association of Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Austrian Visits Imotski, World Mercedes Capital, In Her 1931 Oldtimer

September 11, 2021 - It's not easy for anyone not from Imotski to understand the connection the people of the town have with the Mercedes Benz cars, but one Austrian lady seems to embrace it stronger than most.

We've written about the connections between the inland Dalmatian town of Imotski and the Mercedes Benz cars in the past, including their plans to build a monument to their beloved car. Of course, things didn't go as planned, almost nothing did in the past two years, but even before the monument was built, Imotski was visited by two amazing guests this summer.

The first is Hermi Kürner, a renowned visual artist from the town of Wels in Austria. The second is her Mercedes 170, a ninety-year-old oldtimer, in which Frau Kürner did a tour of the Adriatic, and couldn't resist a visit to Imotski. Braco Ćosić writes for Slobodna Dalmacija about the visit, which was prompted by an article about the town in the "Mercedes-Benz me Magazine". Mrs. Kürner actually drove around the South-Eastern Europe in the 1931 oldtimer, which she says is the only one left in the world. You can see some photos of her adventures on her Facebook site, including some photos which were taken while driving the old car on the Croatian highways, which we in no way endorse!

She has travelled over 3500 kilometres already on this tour, with her plans to make it a nice round 5000 by the time she comes back home. She has an entire collection of the oldtimer cars, but if you plan to visit Imotski - you gotta do that in an oldtimer Mercedes, right? The president of the Imotski Mercedes Association, Ivan Topić Nota organised the car to be shown to the public in Imotski, where a lot of interested Merz fans came out to see the six-cylinder, 32-horse-power oldtimer.

Mrs. Kürner expressed her desire to be present at the Mercedes monument opening in Imotski. Maybe her 1931 car can also make an appearance as a special guest star!

Thursday, 24 June 2021

First Camino Imota Weekend Attracted Several Pilgrims to Imotski Region

June 24, 2021 - The first Camino Imota weekend, organized by the Imotski Tourist Board and the Brotherhood of St. James, gathered more than a hundred participants in three days. It was the first organized pilgrimage along the new Camino Imota route. In addition to the pilgrimage, an international round table, "Camino pilgrimage in the 21st century," and an exhibition of photographs were held.

The Imota Tourist Board organized a free bus transport from Imotski to the starting points of certain sections and a return to Imotski after the pilgrimage, whichh speaks volumes about the great interest in participating in the Camino Imota weekend, reports HRTurizam

“Interest in the Camino Imota route, according to the number of pilgrims, but also according to the number of interested people who want to pass the route, is great. The Facebook group quickly gathered more than 600 members. On Tuesday, two days after the event, we already had the first individual pilgrims, who decided to cross the Camino Imota trail," said Luka Kolovrat, director of the Imota Tourist Board.

Several pilgrims walked the new Camino Imota route. Despite the high temperatures, their impressions are very positive, and this is not surprising given the spectacular landscape offered by the Imotski region. However, besides the natural beauties on the Camino Imota route, there are also numerous sacral buildings and significant sites of natural and cultural heritage. Pilgrims received commemorative stamps in their pilgrimage passports, which serve as a confirmation of the route crossed - Camino Imota Compostela.

“On the first day, we had about 40 pilgrims, on the second about 60, and the third about 90. Some of them walked all three days, and some only one, so we can say that more than 100 pilgrims visited the first Camino Imota weekend. We are pleased with the response, and participants expressed satisfaction with the trail. About twenty of them already had experience with Camino routes, especially the one starting from France. When they passed the route, they shared their impressions with us and gave us suggestions. According to them, the Camino Imota reminds of the trail through Galicia," says Kolovrat.

And for Camino Imota to fully justify its name, it is essential to cooperate with the local population, which on this first pilgrimage proved to be an excellent host by offering pilgrims refreshments along the way.

“In April, we held meetings with parish priests who are on the route and introduced them to our plans. They passed it on to their parishioners, which gave excellent results, and the residents of this area were pleased to help the pilgrims," said Kolovrat.

In addition to the pilgrimage on the new route, Camino Imota weekend also had an accompanying program in which a round table called "Camino pilgrimage in the 21st century" was included. The roundtable brought together representatives of Camino associations, priests, theologians, and scientists from as many as nine countries. A special guest was Igor Vidmar, president of the Brotherhood of St. James from Slovenia, who announced the arrival of Slovenian pilgrims on the Camino Imota trail next year.

“The Round Table, which was actually a video conference, discussed why people choose the Camino pilgrimage, whether it is for religious or adventurous reasons, and why the pilgrimage has gained so much popularity. At the moment, about one and a half million people are making a pilgrimage to the Camino, and that number is increasing every year," Kolovrat emphasizes.

The first Camino Imota weekend met the organizers' expectations, who are now facing the continuation of work on the route itself, to be even better marked. A mobile application is also planned, and a website is already online and should be filled with information about the route, instructions, and practical tips for pilgrims in the next few days.

“After the first Camino Imota weekend, which was a great success, we are even more optimistic, and I believe that this route will come to life in the future. Interested individuals already contact us, but also entire parishes, who want to take an organized walk along the trail," emphasizes Kolovrat and adds that the Camino Imota weekend also served as an agreement on intensifying works on the second phase, i.e., connecting the route to Sinj and Medjugorje.

For more, follow our travel section.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

People also ask Google: What Type of Food does Croatia Eat?

February 23, 2021 – What type of food does Croatia eat? Well, it's a small country, only around 4 million people. The food must be pretty similar all over Croatia, right? Wrong

The type of food Croatia eats depends on which region you are in. The Croatian menu is wonderfully varied. Homegrown or domestic Croatian food is usually the product of the country's wonderful natural assets. The type of food Croatia eats is also influenced by its close neighbours. Some food Croatia eats comes historically from the menus of places quite far from Croatia.

Croatia is known for food that is often cooked simply, allowing the finest natural ingredients to sing. Food in Croatia often travels a very short distance from the field to the plate or from the sea to the plate. So, what Croatia eats very much depends on the land and assets in the area close by. For instance, in the mountainous region of Lika, potatoes grow well and appear regularly in the cookbook. In Karlovac, the city's wealth of rivers means that freshwater fish and frogs legs appear on the menu.

Sto_vidjetikarlooooo.jpgKarlovac, a city whose four rivers inform the local cuisine © Croatian National Tourist Board

What type of food does Croatia eat in the flatlands of Pannonia might be very different to the food Croatia eats in the coastal regions of Dalmatia or Istria. But, not always. Some kinds of food Croatia eats is ubiquitous – you can find some Croatian food that is popular in every region, like grah – an inexpensive, filling and delicious beans-based dish, popular at lunch or punjeni paprika (stuffed peppers). Sarma - meat-filled cabbage rolls cooked in a tomato sauce – is also popular throughout Croatia. Cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet, being used fresh in delicious crunchy side salads or in is fermented form, as sauerkraut.

picture_2sarmy.jpgSarma

Snack food or fast food in Croatia is available on almost every street corner, from the pekara (or pekarnica), the popular local bakeries. Here, you can grab a burek, pizza slice or pita, which is like a cross between a small pastry pie and a pasty (if you're British and know what a pasty is!)

Other fast food in Croatia includes burgers and kebabs, which range in quality from standard to super-premium. The Zagreb restaurant and fast food menu, in particular, has expanded massively over recent years. The choice of food in Zagreb is now varied and international. But that's not the only place. Want to eat Indian food in Dubrovnik? Can do. Fancy some sushi while staring out over beautiful Kvarner Bay in Opatija? Može (you may)!

navisssssssssssssssssssss.jpgNavis Hotel overlooking Kvarner Bay - Opatija's first sushi restaurant © Hotel Navis Opatija

Croatia now has many Michelin-recommended and several Michelin-starred restaurants. Their number grows each year. But, while the variety of international and top-flight continues to expand in Croatia, this does not tell the real story of what Croatia food is.

Pizza is not really Croatian food (although, like that other Italian import ice cream, Croatians do make it very well). Burgers are not Croatian food, even if pljeskavica is. Pekara might be ubiquitous, but that is not real Croatian food. No. To find out truly what type of food does Croatia eat, you'll have to find a seat in a traditional restaurant or tavern (a konoba, if you're on the coast, krčma, klet or gostiona, gostionica or restoran elsewhere). There you can soak up the wonderful vibes and sometimes spectacular scenery. But, more important that that, you might find a meal you'll never forget.

The only thing in Croatia that truly beats traditional food from a great tavern, is food in Croatia that is made by mom or grandma in the home. If you're lucky enough to be invited to try traditional Croatian food in someone's home, you simply must go. It's the best!

What type of food does Croatia eat?

What food is Croatia known for in the region of Istria?
103990514_2766842676932885_8553088344150944332_ofdzsgabdfbagtfbafgbnasfg.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Istria? © Draguč, Istria by Romulic and Stojcic

The most northwesterly region of Croatia, food in Istria is often distinctly different to that found in the other areas of Croatia. The region's close proximity to Italy can be tasted within much traditional Istrian food. Homemade pastas take centre stage on meat, fish and vegetable dishes and also find their way into Istrian soups and stews. Many small fishing villages exist on the Istrian coast and the catch of the day is not only popular with those who live on the coast – seafood makes its way into the interior of Istria too. Familiar Mediterranean meals featuring seabass, bream, sardine, sole, squid, scallops, crab, scampi, mussels and oysters can be found on the Istrian food menu. Black cuttlefish risotto and the stews Brodet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like elsewhere on the Croatian coast.

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The Istrian interior is a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills covered in vineyards, long stretches of olive groves and fruit trees, picturesque hilltop towns and river valleys which cut through unblemished nature and forest. It is within these forests that one of Istria's most famous ingredients can be found.

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Istria is famous for truffles. The rare and costly delicacy makes its way generously into Istrian food, shaved over pasta dishes or added to oils, cheese or even chocolate. You can take a guided tour to hunt for truffles in Istria. Truffles aren't the only things hunted in the region's woods – game makes its way into some delicious Istrian food dishes.

tartufi_pljukanci_1-maja-danica-pecanicdgfadsgadfvbgdz.jpgHomemade pasta with truffles - classic Istria! © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Other produce the region is famous for include honey, Istrian prosciutto (prsut) and Istrian olive oil. In 2020, Istria was voted the world's best olive oil region for a sixth consecutive year. You can find it in most Istrian pasta dishes, salads and on almost every dining table. Delicious.

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You can find different local specialities in villages all over Istria, usually informed by the crops most grown nearby or the produce popularly made there. These are celebrated at food and drink festivals which regularly occur in villages and towns throughout the region. Go to any of these if you can. They're a brilliant opportunity to try some of the best traditional foods of Istria, and you'll be able to wash it down with excellent Istrian wine varieties like Malvasia or Teran.

imagefrittty.jpgAsparagus is just one of many ingredients for which the Croatian region of Istria is famous, seen here made into a frittata or omelette © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Some famous Istrian food dishes include Manestra, a minestrone-type soup made with vegetables (and sometimes meat or bones are used to flavour), Istrian žgvacet, a more meaty stew, asparagus (which is often eaten with eggs or made into an omelette or frittata) and speciality beef dishes which come from the region's rare, indigenous Boskarin cow.

What do they eat in Croatia in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast?
split-3712767_1920_1.jpgThe city of Split on the Dalmatian coast

The food eaten in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast is classic Mediterranean food. Croatian waters of the Adriatic sea are very clean and offer up a stunning range of seafood. Fish like sardines, tuna, seabass and bream are incredibly popular and are often served simply grilled, sometimes flavoured with olive oil, salt, garlic and nothing more. A popular – if not ubiquitous – side dish to accompany grilled fish is blitva, which is a hardy green chard that thrives even in the extreme heat and nutrient-weak soil of the region. It is traditionally cooked with potatoes and flavoured with olive oil and salt.

fish-3684985_1920_1.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? Sea bass grilled and served simply is an unforgettable meal of any holiday in this part of Croatia

Other seafood such as squid, octopus, crab, scampi and prawns are popular in Dalmation cooking. Many get the same simple treatment as the fine fish – they are grilled simply, black bars of mild charring from the grill scarring their surface upon serving. Octopus also makes its way into a delicious salad, often served as a starter. Dalmatian seafood is also used in risottos, with prawn risotto and black cuttlefish risotto particular favourites.

fish-725955_1920_1.jpgOctopus salad is a popular starter in Dalmatia

Many more varieties of fish than the famous ones mentioned can be found in coastal fish markets (there are great ones in Rijeka, Kvarner and in Split). You'll find various varieties of fish used in delicious stews and soups served in Dalmatia. Brudet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like in Istria.

4_gastro-stew-optimized-for-print-maja-danica-pecanicyfkufjf.jpgDalmatian food found on the coast often relies heavily on the gifts of the Adriatic sea. This dish, known as Brudet (Brodet in some places) is a fish stew/soup popular all through Croatia's coastal regions © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

A popular traditional method of cooking in Dalmatia is 'ispod peka' – food cooked under a metal bell-shaped covering upon which hot coals and embers are placed. These long and slow-cooked dishes often contain a mixture of meat and vegetables and could be comparable perhaps to a Moroccan tagine – but without north African spices. This method of cooking holds a theatre that matches its great taste, but many places ask you order a day in advance if you want to try it because the cooking time can be long. Octopus, lamb, pork and beef are the most popular choices to be found cooked 'under the bell'

Pekazaton.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? A dish of great theatre is 'peka' - food cooked 'under the bell'. Try the one with octopus! © Zaton holiday resort

Dalmatia is famous for smoked prosciutto (prsut), smoked, dry-cured bacon (pancetta) and lamb. You'll see both whole sucking pig and whole roasted lamb cooking on spits above flickering flames all across Dalmatia. Dalmatian lamb is full of flavour. Unlike elsewhere, where it is flavoured with garlic, rosemary, other spices or even anchovy, Dalmatian lamb is seasoned only with salt and a little olive oil. It needs nothing more and this is the absolute truth. A highlight not to miss.

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Elsewhere, Dalmatia is famous for its cheese. The cheeses from island Pag are particularly famous – usually hard in texture, full of flavour and not inexpensive. You'll find them served alongside prsut and olives on the buffets of any parties or official functions and are best enjoyed with local wines. Croatia's most powerful red wines come from Dalmatia. If that's your kind of wine, this is one of the best regions in the world.

e0210f36257c3dffb45491df5f1ba0c8asfjpaioshfGAILSDHGFLsdfsadhgasjd.jpgWhat food do they eat in Dalmatia in Croatia? The cheese from the Dalmatian island of Pag is extremely famous © Croatian National Tourist Board

Apart from peka, another famous Dalmatian coastal dish is Pašticada. Like peka, an authentic Pašticada requires pre-ordering – it takes a minimum 24 hours of preparation time to make a good one, as the beef used within it is marinated. Finding a truly great Pašticada is difficult. The best are cooked with care, love and attention within the home and are served for special occasions. If you're lucky enough to try one of those, recapturing that distinct fruity taste will be difficult and many restaurant-ready versions will disappoint.

1440px-Pasticada_1.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Dalmatia on special occasions? Pašticada. If you try the best, it will likely be homecooked © Popo le Chien

A lot of Dalmatian coastal food is comparable to that found all along the Mediterranean shoreline. One distinct anomaly is the city of Omiš, whose cuisine is supplemented by its position at the mouth of the huge Cetina river. You can read a detailed article about the cuisine of Omis here.

What kind of food do they eat in Croatia within inland Dalmatia / the Dalmatian hinterland?
gorchf.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? It varies. In the city of Drniš, they are famous for making a distinct prosciutto (prsut) © gorchfin

The Dalmatian hinterland is one of the great gastronomic regions of Croatia, yet it remains largely undiscovered by the crowds visiting the coast. It can be tough to leave the beautiful beaches, but a trip behind the mountains is worth it for multiple reasons, not least the food.

It really is the shortest of journeys to make. For that reason, the cuisine of inland Dalmatia contains all the treats you'll find on restaurant menus by the coast (but probably at half the price!) In addition, they have their own specialities you're unlikely to find by the sea.

drnyyyyyyy.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? Drniški Pršut © Tourist Board of Drniš

In the city of Drniš, they are famous for their cheese and distinct pršut, in Imotski they're known for a delicious almond cake. In the hinterland behind Omiš, you'll find Poljicki Soparnik – a truly authentic Croatian dish. In the villages around the Neretva valley, close to Metkovic, you'll find frogs and eels used in local cuisine.

soppy.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The hinterland behind the city of Omis in Dalmatia is one of the few places you'll find Poljički Soparnik, a truly authentic Croatian food © Marc Rowlands

Continental Croatian cuisine and traditional Mediterranean cooking collide in the Dalmatian hinterland – it really is the best of both. Much of the lamb Dalmatia is famous for comes from the foothills on either side of the Dinaric Alps and meat plays a perhaps bigger role in Dalmatian cuisine than it does on the coast.

What food is Croatia known for in Zagreb?
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Compared to just ten years ago, the Zagreb food offer has exploded in its number of options. You can find Japanese sushi, Chinese food, Levantine food, Mexican food, Indian food, food from Sri Lanka, Lebanese and Arabic food, Thai food and Turkish food in authentic Zagreb restaurants and other food outlets. You'll also find some of Croatia's best burger joints and pizza restaurants in the capital. These excellent imports now rival the classic Balkan grill/barbecue joints for the attentions of restaurant-goers and those who order takeaway.

fallyfffs.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, these days you can eat food from all over the world - including delicious falafel © Falafel etc.

If you're only in Zagreb for a short amount of time, please don't miss the grill experience. The Croatian capital really does have some of the best in the country and it's a much more authentic experience than a burrito or sweet and sour pork with fried rice.

turkeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Foods like burek, kebab and baklava can be found all over the Balkans, a remnant of the time the Ottomans were here. But, the best baklava in Croatia is available in Zagreb, made by Turkish guys at La Turka © Mateo Henec

Alongside the pljeskavica, cevapi, sausages and pork steaks on the Balkan grill menus, you'll often find stuffed meat options. Some of these are very popular in Zagreb. It could be a burger, with bacon included or one filled with cheese. Or, it could be a chicken, turkeys, pork or veal portion, tenderised and flattened with a cooking mallet so that it can be rolled around cheese and ham and cooked in breadcrumbs, like the famous Zagrebački odrezak.

magazinnnnn.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? DO NOT miss the grill restaurants in Zagreb. Magazinska Klet, just behind Autobusni kolodvor (intercity bus station) is a really good one © Magazinska Klet

Zagreb food is much more influenced by continental European cooking than the menu found near Croatia's coast. Austrian influences can be seen not only in the city's rich architecture – its cakes and pastries are comparable to some found on just the other side of neighbouring Slovenia.

Strukli is a Zagreb speciality – a baked or boiled pastry dish which can have different fillings and accompanying sauces, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream and cream being among them. Another distinct element of the Zagreb food offer is gablets – small dishes of food, served in restaurants at lunchtime, for a below-normal restaurant price. These are a great way to sample traditional Croatian food inexpensively. Ask a local for a recommendation of where does the best.

1440px-Štrukli_iz_Okrugljaka_1.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, they are very proud of the dish known as štrukli © Bonč

A modern European city of almost a million people – approaching a quarter of the country's population – it goes without saying that not a large percentage of Zagreb's land space is devoted to farming and agriculture. So, when we are discussing the food, plus much of the produce and menu of Zagreb, in many cases what we are actually talking about is the food of a much wider region surrounding the city. Zagreb County produce plays a big part in the cuisine of Croatia's capital. So too does that of the agricultural area which lies on the other side of the mountain Medvednica, which dominates Zagreb's skyline. That area is traditionally known as Zagorje.

sommy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In much of the capital of Zagreb, the food and cuisine is actually informed by the areas surrounding, like Zagreb County. The pretty hills of Samobor in Zagreb County © Samobor Tourist Board

What food do they eat in Croatia in Zagorje and northern Croatia?
zgrrlksfh2.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The unspoiled rural landscape of Zagorje 'over the mountain' of Medvednica, informs much of what we class as Zagreb cuisine  © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje produce forms the basis of much that you'll find on the menu of Zagreb. This traditional region today stretches across several Croatian counties, each containing rolling hills, with vineyards rising above agricultural fields. It is very often a very pretty landscape.

dsjkafjgfJGVK1111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Pffft! Forget the food, I want to eat this impossibly pretty landscape! This is Zagorje © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The food of Zagorje is traditionally the food of an agricultural region – simple, hearty fare, using the freshest produce that grows in the fields surrounding. Soups (in particular, a famous creamy potato soup), stews and bean-based dishes sit alongside sausages, filled pastries and fowl on the Zagorje menu.

militin11111111111111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Zagorje mlinci © Mlin Jertovec doo

The region's cuisine is famous for some distinct inclusions. Polenta is used more in the Zagorje kitchen than in other regions. You'll likely find a greater choice of fowl here than anywhere else in Croatia. Duck, geese, guinea fowl, pheasant, chicken and turkey can be found on the Croatian food menu and many of these are commonly found being farmed in Zagorje. Such birds can be found in the diet of Croatians right the way through Zagorje and up to the most northern part of Croatia, Medimurje.

majaturk.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagorje, turkey and other birds are usually served with pasta sheets called mlinci. Both Zagorje turkey and Zagorje mlinci are protected at their place of origin at an EU level © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje turkey is Croatia's most famous. Like other bird dishes cooked all across Croatia, it is frequently served alongside distinct pasta sheets called Zagorski Mlinci, which is cooked in the bird's roasting juices and fat. In Zagorje, they are known for their baking – excellent pastries, both savoury and sweet, and their speciality grain breads, make their way across the mountain and into the hungry capital. Look out too for a savoury strudel they make with a mushroom filling. Yum! And, if you venture as far up as Medimurje, look out for one of their specialities called Meso 'z tiblice. Like much of continental Croatia, in Zagorje, locally made cheeses are an important part of traditional food, as are preserved meats and sausages.

What food does Croatia eat in Slavonia?
donjion1111.jpg What type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat fresh food from their gardens or fields © Croatian National Tourist Board

As a rule, Croatians don't really like their food too hot and spicy. In an unpublished section of an interview with a Croatian Michelin restaurant chef, TCN was told that this appreciation of more milder flavours even extends to a reticence to eat older, aged and fully flavoured game and other meat. This conservative palette and minimal appreciation of strong spicing can be seen throughout the Croatian menu. And, in many cases, it's understandable. When produce is so fresh and full of flavour, it only impedes a dish to mask the taste of these ingredients with spices. The one region in Croatia that absolutely loves bold flavours within its traditional food is Slavonia.

slavvuy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have a much more spicy menu than the rest of Croatia © Romulić & Stojčić

A huge traditional region running east of Zagreb, across the flatlands of the Pannonian basin, right up to the border with Serbia, Slavonia is today divided up into several different counties. Also, within the history of this traditional region, two distinct regions share space alongside Slavonia in the Pannonian basin – Syrmia and Baranja. It perhaps does a disservice to these two small regions that they are often just swept under the broader title of Slavonia. Each makes its own incredible contribution to the Croatian menu.

Slawonien-850x491jdkssfADS.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have two huge rivers bookending the north and south of their traditional region - the Drava and the Sava © Croatian National Tourist Board

In Croatian Syrmia (the other half of this traditional region lies across the border, in Vojvodina, present-day Serbia), you'll find some of the best white wines produced in continental Croatia. In Baranja, they are masters of preserved meats. The smoked, dry-cured bacon here may not be as famous as Dalmatian pancetta, but you'd be hard pushed to decide which was better. One of Croatia's oldest and best-regarded meat producers, Belje, is from Baranja.

Baranja is also famous for kulen, a sausage made only from premium cuts of pig and coloured red by a generous spicing of paprika. But, like so many parts of this region's menu, kulen is also made in Slavonia proper. The land is the same meaning much of the menu is the same so, please consider the following inclusions to be common in all.

MK4_5082rommyslav.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? A selection of Slavonia and Baranja cold meats. Baranja kulen is the irregular-shaped sausage in the top left of the platter © Romulić & Stojčić

Slavonia's close proximity to Hungary is responsible for much of the strong spicing and flavours of the region's food. Paprika, in sweet and mild and more hot and piquant styles, can be found in many dishes of the Slavonian cookbook. Indeed, although the condiment ajvar is popular as an accompaniment to grilled meat everywhere and therefore made all over Croatia, it is in Slavonia that you'll regularly find the spiciest (although even theirs is milder than some brilliant, more brutal versions made elsewhere in the Balkans). Paprika makes its way not only into preserved sausages like kulen but also into Slavonian soups and stews.

Kulen_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Slavonian kulen. Slavonian kulen does not have the same irregular shape as Baranja kulen © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Two great rivers border the north and south of Slavonia – the Drava and the Sava, with smaller ones running off or into them through the entire region. These produce a wealth of river fish which are popular in the Slavonian diet.

Throughout almost all the year in Slavonia, it is common to see large Šaran (carp), gutted and butterflied, then impaled outside on branches bored deep into the earth. This allows them to be suspended next to open fires which impart an incredible smoky flavour in the cooking of the fish. These Šaran frequently grow to incredible sizes in the big two rivers. The sight of this al fresco, traditional cooking method, known as u rašljama, is impressive, unforgettable and mouth-watering.

Šaran_Ivo_Biocina.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Šaran (carp) u rašljama © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Šaran also can be found among other river fish in the favourite Slavonian stew of fish paprikas. Richly red from paprika, you can again see this impressively cooked outdoors in Slavonia. Traditional heavy pots are suspended over open fires by the riverside, the dish bubbling and steaming above an intense heat. You would traditionally eat its liquid part first, as a soup, before delving into the fish parts that remain in the bottom (it's advisable to eat it only in this way as it's the best way of avoiding the many bones so typical of the river catch).

fishpap.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Fish paprikash (fiš paprikaš, sometimes shortened to simply fiš) © Romulić and Stojčić

Comparable to fish paprikash but made with meat is the Slavonian favourite of Cobanac. Again, boldly flavoured with paprika, this stew is bolstered in its punch by the use of hunted meats such as venison and wild boar. It is hands down one of Croatia's best dishes. You can find similar game meat used in Slavonian hunters stew and perklet, another thick and tasty dish informed by Hungarian neighbours.

cobanac81269598126589.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Cobanac, a hearty, spicy stew made in Slavonia using wild meats © Youtube screenshot 

Slavonia and neighbouring Vojvodina was once the breadbasket of much of the former Yugoslav federation. Here, this land that was once underwater is incredibly rich in nutrients. Indeed, in harder times, many people from all over the region came to live here, assured of finding work in the region's thriving agricultural industry. Slavonia today is not nearly so integral to the supply of the whole domestic nation's food, but agriculture still thrives here. And, the land is still rich.

areal05donji.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat river fish and fresh fruit and vegetables grown in their own, often large back gardens © Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board

In Slavonia, many live a rural life and even in some towns and large villages, Slavonian houses have huge gardens behind them which are traditionally used for growing vegetables, fruits and nuts or rearing chickens and pigs. Some Slavonian households engage in all of these and others too keep beehives (Slavonian honey is famous and comes in a variety of exciting, different flavours). The products of their labour ensure the freshest ingredients end up in Slavonian home cooking (although, some of their fruits are diverted from the dining table to the pursuit of making rakija). The personal rearing of animals for food also produces a culture in which none of the animal goes to waste.

Krvavica_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Krvavica © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Alongside standard or garlic and paprika flavoured sausages like kobasice, or the aforementioned kulen, in Slavonia you can find Švargl, a terrine made from offal, Čvarci, deep-fried rind (pork scratchings) and krvavica, a Croatian blood sausage. Although perhaps straying far from Italian traditions, Slavonia is also responsible for what is arguably Croatia's greatest style of pizza. Slavonska pizza is a hefty festival of different types of pork meats, loaded with onions and cheese too. It's already a gut-buster but, order it with an egg on top and when you burst the yolk to run across your forkful, you'll forget that pizza was ever Italian in the first place.

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Saturday, 20 February 2021

SPORTbible Features Ante Rebić: One Of World's Most Generous Footballers

February 20, 2021 - "AC Milan's Ante Rebic has gone above and beyond to look after his own," one of the world's largest sports communities begins about a famous Croatian footballer from a small village near Imotski. SPORTbible features Ante Rebić. 

Earlier this week, Novi Zivot reported that the 27-year-old Croatian footballer Ante Rebić has continued his charitable work years after he was recognized for paying off the debts for all 500 residents in his native village of Donji Vinjani near Imotski. 

Namely, the Croatia and AC Milan star has donated 10 thousand euro to develop and construct a new facility for rehabilitation and education of children "Zlatni Cеkіn" in Slavonski Brod.

Thanks to Ante's donation, 100 thousand kuna from the City, and a larger number of smaller donations, they hope that the new building will welcome a roof by the summer. However, several months into implementing this project, they have encountered certain difficulties, mainly financial.

In the new 520-square-meter building, emphasis will be placed on autistic children.

"We thank Ante Rebić from our hearts for this extreme gesture and the great financial support he gave us. Thanks to our brothers from Dalmatia, Rebić's friends who recommended us to him. Later, the City of Slavonski Brod was included in the action so that we will be able to continue our labor engagement which began last year," said Ilija Jerković, director of Zlatni Cеkіn.

The center of about 220 children is a non-profit institution where parents of children with developmental difficulties can find the necessary professional skills. Despite all the difficulties they have encountered during the decades of their work and activities, they have never given up.

"I would like to meet Mr. Rebić if there is ever the chance. He is an excellent football player. I remember his good games at the World Cup in Russia, and now he has also shown that he is a great and noble man."

Ante's wonderful gesture did not only touch fans in Croatia. Known as "one of the largest communities for sports fans across the world," SPORTbible highlighted Ante's humanitarian side in an article titled 'AC Milan's Ante Rebic Is One Of The Most Generous Footballers In The World.' Their Facebook post garnered 5.8k likes and 167 comments.!  

You can read the full SPORTbible story on Rebić HERE.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

From Bare to Brimming: Blue Lake Transformation Video

February  20, 2021 - EdoStuff Aviation films the Blue Lake transformation, from bare to brimming. 

Dalmacija Danas writes that the Blue Lake is one of the most beautiful Croatian lakes, reachable by a staircase, making it a favorite beach in the summer months. It often dries out, and football is traditionally played at its bottom. 

Another natural charm of the area is the Red Lake, named after the red rocks at the edge of the lake. This karst pit is about 528 meters high, and the depth of the lake is about 281 meters, which, according to some data, could be the deepest lake in Europe. The Red Lake cannot be accessed due to the steep cliffs that surround it.

Imotski is known for these two natural pearls. However, an increasingly popular destination for adventurers and guests is Lake Ričice, better known as the Green Lake.

The lake is located near the village of Ričice in the northwest of Imotski Krajina. The lake is fed by the Vrbica and Ričina rivers. It was created in 1985 when a dam was built to prevent water penetration, and the water from the reservoir was to be used for irrigation. However, the project was never completed so a lake was created at this location.

In the last few months, the Imotski area, as well as the entire region, has gone through hydrologically extremely different periods. By November, we experienced an extreme drought, and the Blue Lake dried up as much as twice in late summer and fall. It has been raining since November, and the peak of rain was in December and January when precipitation records were broken locally.

Not only are the dry riverbeds full, the groundwater is at maximum capacity, and the level of the Imotski lakes is also extremely high. 

Both situations were recorded by YouTuber EdoStuff Aviation, which compared the appearance of Imotski lakes during the peak of the drought to today. Incredible scenes! 

 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Hercegovac Begs Cro PM 'Open Borders So I Can Send My Wife To Her Mother'

January 29, 2021 – Lockdown is apparently taking a toll on one Hercegovac. The man from Široki Brijeg wrote to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and begged him to reopen the borders between Croatia and Herzegovina so he could eject his wife from the family home for a month and send her to his mother-in-law's

The message from Hercegovac Ante Zovko (Ante Marinkov) was reposted on the Facebook page Imocki crnjaci where it picked up some 3 thousand likes in less than 6 hours.

siroant.jpg

The town, Široki Brijeg, where this particular Hercegovac (a man from Herzegovina) lives is just 35 kilometres from the border with Croatia. Lots of Croatians live in this area, including this Hercegovac, his wife and his child. But not, it would seem, his wife's mother, who apparently lives in Croatia.

AnyConv.com__Panorama-široki07419.jpgŠiroki Brijeg in Herzegovina, around 35 kilometres across the border from Croatia © Anto (talk)

The Hercegovac's reason for wishing to eject his wife and child for a month was to change up the atmosphere for a time. One presumes he was not being entirely serious with his request.

The Hercegovac is not the first man to seemingly reach the end of his tether while restricted to staying in the family home. In April 2020, after just one month of being housebound, a man from a village near Osijek in Slavonia left his wife in the family home and went to live nearby in a tent.

Speaking anonymously at the time, the man's neighbour told the local SiB.hr news portal the couple have been happily married for 30 years. But, it seems the pressure of being around each other so closely during the lockdown was too much even for their strong union.

The neighbour was happy to report that since his friend pitched his tent in the nearby locale, relations between the man and his wife had actually returned to their usual levels of warmth and friendliness. The wife even came regularly to visit her husband in his tent.

6081683_f79a9255_originaldoggo.jpg© John Waring

"My neighbour has been in his tent for a few days now,” he told the portal back in April. “He puts up a table and chairs in front. Occasionally our other neighbour comes over to drink some rakija (with him). I visited him too.”

The neighbour said his friend had quit the family home due to boredom more than anything else. Even after being happily married for 30 years, being around each other 24 hours a day was apparently just too much.

Perhaps in this more chivalrous response from the Slavonian man, Hercegovac Ante Marinkov could take some inspiration? After all, it's surely easier if one person departs from his family home in order to change the atmosphere than if two are forced to leave. Ante should find a nice spot in the fields nearby – not too close – and simply pitch up a tent. Problem solved! If he's lucky, his wife might come to visit bringing rakija.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Heavy Rain Fills 11 Imotski Lakes To Almost Record Highs

January 20, 2021 – Famous for its Red and Blue lakes, there are in fact 11 Imotski lakes located around the Dalmatian hinterland city. Due to high rainfall, their rising water levels are nearing the highest point in living memory

Inaccessible without advance preparation and experience, visitors to the Red Lake in Imotski can only admire the spectacle from the upper edges. The lake is referred to as 'red' because of the red clay colour of the rock face which surrounds the water below. There's a challenge traditionally tasked to those brought here – see if you can throw a stone from the brim into the water. It's harder than it looks. The walls are steep and wide, the water a good long way below. Except for now. Like the water in all 11 Imotski lakes, the water level is currently at the highest point is has been for as long as anyone can remember. The height of the water in the Red lake alone exceeds 309 meters.

AnyConv.com__RedLakeCroatia.jpgImotski's Red Lake © Tieum512

Heavy rainfall over recent months is the cause for the high and rising water levels in the 11 Imotski Lakes. In December 2020, about 700 litres of rain per square metre was recorded in the area, practically filling all 11 Imotski lakes, as well as the river Vrljika.

High water levels are recorded in Galipovac Lake, Lokvičićko Lake (or Mamić Lake), Prološki lake and the Knezović lake. The water level in the Vrljica River is still high. Along with the picturesque Green Lake, named after the beautiful, icy turquoise green appearance of its water, the 11 Imotski lakes are an appealing topography for hikers, walkers and climbers to explore. Accurate data on the height of the water in Imotski's Blue and Red Lakes was recorded within the past few days.
imotle.jpgPhoto of Lokvičićka jezera, one of the 11 Imotski lakes, taken by Josipa Rimac Vlajčić and a team from the Imotski Mountaineering Society during a mid-January expedition © HPD Imotski Facebook

In the Blue lake – the one closest to Imotski centre and a popular summertime swimming and recreational site - the current water level is at 91.5 metres. It is still rising. Whether the water level will reach the record 102 metres recorded in 2012 will depend on rainfall within the region over coming days. Rains do not necessarily have to fall in Imotski to fill this or some of the other 11 Imotski lakes – they are fed by underground channels which flow from Bosnia.

Reporting on the rising water in Slobodna Dalmacija, local photographer and writer Braco Cosic informed that Imotski-based surveyor Ante Škeva had measured the current water level of Red Lake as a quite considerable 309 metres on Tuesday. If there was ever a time to take on the challenge of hitting its water surface with a stone, it is surely now.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Geological Park Biokovo Imotski Lakes In UNESCO Network In Two Years

December 9, 2020 – After Papuk Nature Park and Vis Archipelago, Croatia will soon get another geopark under UNESCO protection. If everything goes according to plan, Geological Park Biokovo Imotski Lakes' proclamation is expected in the next two years.

As Lokalni.hr reports, the National Commission for UNESCO Geoparks of the Republic of Croatia sent the UNESCO Council of World Geoparks based in Paris documentation for registration and accession of the Biokovo-Imotski Lakes Geopark area to the network of UNESCO World Geoparks.

A unique area of Dinaric karst

"This completes a significant chapter on our path to the ultimate goal of becoming a Geopark under UNESCO protection," said Luka Kolovrat, director of the Imotski Tourist Board Imota.

The arrival of UNESCO evaluators is expected in the summer, and if everything goes according to plan, the Biokovo-Imotski Lakes Geopark's proclamation will be in the next two years.

"The initiative was launched in 2018 when we reported the Imotski Lakes Geopark project to the National Commission, and at the same time, the Biokovo Nature Park had a similar initiative. The position of the Commission was to unite the initiatives and to approach this project together," says Kolovrat.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is that the area of Imotski Krajina (Imotski region) with the Biokovo Nature Park is a geologically, geomorphologically, and unique landscape area of the Dinaric karst. Thus a joint application would use the potential of both areas for the benefit of the local community.

"At the end of 2018 and in 2019, the City of Imotski carried out a very complex and comprehensive geological research of the area of Imotski Krajina. It was the basis for future applications. The Geological Institute prepared the geological brochure of Imotski Krajina. At the same time, we conducted intensive negotiations with representatives of PP Biokovo on a joint application, defining names, headquarters, borders, coverage, management of Geopark, etc. At the end of 2019, the geological brochure was presented to the public, and the association Geopark Imotski Lakes was founded, which took over the management, operational affairs, and coordination from the Imotski Tourist Board," Kolovrat states the chronology.

In May this year, they sent a letter of intent to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. In July, they presented the project, after which they received a letter of support from them.

A piece of the planet of inestimable wealth

The next step is the arrival of UNESCO evaluators in the summer, and until then, they have a lot of work to do.

"In the next period, we need to implement the activities from the management plan: mark about a hundred sites that we have identified as geological, natural, and cultural sites, mark geological trails, do training for agencies, renters, family farms who should become partners of Geopark, create a bilingual website, promotional video, print brochures and various promotional materials," announces Kolovrat.

UNESCO Geoparks are unique geographical areas of international importance governed by a holistic concept of protection, education, and sustainable development.

"The UNESCO brand will lead to the recognition of our area at the global level. The creation of innovative crafts and new jobs encourages new sources of income as part of geotourism, strengthening the local community. At the same time, the geological, natural, and cultural heritage of the area remains protected. We believe that this piece of a planet of inestimable wealth on which we have the privilege to live, and we are its heirs, deserves to become part of the UNESCO family to the pride of us and the generations to come," says Kolovrat.

Geological treasury of Croatia

Due to its geological diversity and numerous fossil finds of organisms from the Pannonian Sea, the Papuk Nature Park was the first Croatian Geopark under UNESCO protection. Papuk is also in a nature park category since 1999, and the first geological natural monument in the Republic of Croatia is located in the Park.

Last year, UNESCO added three European sites to its geological parks, including the Vis Archipelago. In the geological past 220 million years ago, a magmatic breach formed the present islands of Jabuka, Brusnik, Biševo, and Palagruža. Palagruža is also geologically the oldest island in the Adriatic, which, like the island of Brusnik, is continuously growing under the influence of tectonic activity.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

"Road to Life": Miljenko and Friends Pedalled to Split for Children Suffering from Malignant Tumors

October 14, 2020 - At the Sanus Association, Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban welcomed three super marathon cyclists - Tomislav Mrkonjić, Marko Marić, and Miljenko Mrkonjić - on their 1,500-kilometer-long humanitarian "Road to Life" from Frankfurt to Imotski.

 The money raised in this commendable action will be donated, and half of the amount is intended for "Sanus", the club of parents of children suffering from malignant diseases.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reports, Miljenko Mrkonjic, a 26-year-old young man from Zmijavec near Imotski, was born and lives in Germany. As a boy, he contracted lymph node cancer and embarked on a difficult and uncertain battle with a malignant disease with his parents.

 The effort paid off, and family friends and strangers came to the rescue. Ten years later, Miljenko is close to fulfilling his life vow, so he sat on a bicycle with two friends in Frankfurt, and today he arrived in Split. His destination is - Imotski.

"I want and hope to attract people's attention, to involve them as much as possible, and to help this action with my donations. Just one call to my Tomislav was enough and as a real man, he bought a plane ticket, flew to Frankfurt, took a bicycle, and trained with Marko.

In the first days, we collected more than 6000 euros. There will be more and that makes us happy. I want to be a pebble in the mosaic of goodness and contribute to at least help a child and his parent in that fight. Because treating that disease costs both nerves and money. I overcame my malignant disease exactly 10 years ago.

However, a lot of nice things happened to me during that period because I was lucky and had a lot of help from all sides. The money we will collect together will go to the associations "Sanus" in Croatia and "Hilfe für krebskranke Kinder" from Frankfurt.  These two associations are selflessly fighting for a better tomorrow every day and I am very grateful to them for that", said Miljenko Mrkonjic.

Diligent travelers have come close to the finish line, and we can conclude that perseverance pays off and that a good voice is heard far and wide.

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