Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sweet Korcula: Sweeties of Korcula Grannies - 18. Pinjokini

December 2, 2018 - Sweet Korčula, an island with a seemingly endless supply of fabulous traditional home-made cakes and desserts. We are very grateful to Franica Tasovac for allowing us to serialise her excellent books called Sweet Korcula, Sweeties of Korcula Grannies (in English). It is a collection of no less than 30 ancient recipes for Korcula cakes and desserts, lovingly put together into a book. A delightful souvenir or gift for gourmet friends. Franica has kindly allowed us to serialise the recipes on TCN, and we will be bringing you a recipe a week from the kitchens of Korcula's grandmothers throughout the year. You can read Claudia Tarle's lovely introduction here

PINJOKINI


100 g butter
1 vanilla sugar
150 g sugar
3 eggs
pinch of salt
zest of one lemon
500 g flour
1 flat teaspoon of baking powder
150 g of almonds (chopped)


Mix the butter with salt and both kinds of sugar. Add eggs one by one in the frothy mixture and continue to whisk. Add the lemon peel. Mix flour and baking powder and sprinkle it on the mixture slowly kneading with hands until you have a smooth dough. Finally add the chopped almonds. Allow dough to rest for half an hour.


Heat the oven to 175°C.


Divide the rested dough into 4 pieces. Roll each portion into a long rolling-pin and place on the sheet metal lined with the waxed paper. Bake for fifteen minutes. Cut the roasted rolling-pins into the oblique piece and put them back in the oven about ten minutes to dry and become crispy.

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You can buy this booklet at:
Town library “ Ivan Vidali “
Flower shop “ Fiorino “
“ Manina “
“ Komo “
Tourist agency “ Kaleta “ 
Souvenir shop “ Suzy “
Bookshop “ Kutak knjiga “

 To connect with Sweet Korcula, why not follow them on Facebook?

 Looking for more delicious Korcula recipes in this series? Check them out on our dedicated TCN page

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Advent in Vela Luka Opens on Korcula

The festive season is upon us on Korcula, as Advent in Vela Luka opens on the east of the island. Keep us with all the events in this time of festive cheer.

One of the nice things about life in Croatia recent years has been the additional effort put in by local authorities in livening up the winter months. The success of Advent in Zagreb has trickled down to the rest of the country, and whereas more remote destinations may have all but shut down during the winter months, more and more towns are entering in the Christmas spirit by having their own Advent programme. 

Included in that list is Vela Luka, which opened its own Advent programme today. To keep up with the latest from Korcula's western-most town over the holiday season, follow the event on Facebook

For the latest from TCN on Vela Luka, click here

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Love, Read, Cook Project in Korčula Continues

A project by students of the Korčula high school "Petar Šegedin", titled Love, Read, Cook (in Croatian: Voli, Čitaj, Kuhaj) continues this Wednesday, with its second installment. 

 

Taking place in the Ivan Vidali public library in Korčula, the idea of the project is to bring reading and food together. The project is created and executed by the group of students from the second and third grade of the local high school, and is lead by Josipa Favro Kurtović from the school. It brings something new to the social life in Korčula, so if you're around and you love reading or cooking (and who doesn't at least one of those two activities?!?!) you should give it a visit and see what it's all about. 

The event takes place at the Library this Wednesday, at 6 pm. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Korčula Airport near Smokvica Finally Becoming a Reality?

Internet remembers just about everything, so today I stumbled upon a story from December 28th, 1999, in which Jure Radić, then-Deputy Prime Minister (since deceased) officially starts the works on the construction of the Korčula Airport, near Smokvica*. If you're wondering whatever happened to the construction of the airport, the short answer is - nothing. Zoning for it was allegedly done, some basic works were done and stopped and nothing was really achieved. 

Next mention of Korčula airport online comes in 2008, when Jutarnji list reports that plans that existed for Spanish investors to build an airport on Korčula were cancelled, because local and national governing bodies decided that the conditions set forth by the foreign investors were not acceptable, as they included significant local investments into infrastructure, which would serve to support their investments into the airport, hotels, marina and golf courses. The location of the planned airport remained the same, near Smokvica, and then, in 2008 it was announced that a Croatian-owned company would be created with the goal of constructing and operating the airport. 

What happened to those plans we don't know. In 2013, talks were held again, strengthening plans to build the airport, during which it was mentioned that some of the permits needed for this project have expired, due to years of inactivity. Of course, in the meantime, there was air travel happening on Korčula, with seaplanes operating from Lumbarda and Vela Luka during one tourist season. 

 

Korčula Online reports today that once again, the initiative to build the airport near Smokvica has been revived. A meeting was held in Smokvica, attended by representatives from all 5 local administrations on the island, to discuss development of the future Korčula airport. One interesting piece of information from the Korčula Online report is that a group of Chinese investors was present at the meeting. Unfortunately, the article does not identify them in any way, just says that they are ready to invest over 80 million euro in the project of Korčula airport! As soon as we know more about the misterious Chinese investors, we will report further. In the meeting, Smokvica commisioner Kuzma Tomašić expressed his hope that this time the project will be successful, and that first planes will be landing near Smokvica in 5 or 6 years. We certainly hope he's right! 

 

* - one relevant background piece of information you might find relevant to the story if you're a cynic like myself is that the parliamentary elections were held on January 3rd, 2000, in which Radić's HDZ lost, after a full decade of being in power

Friday, 23 November 2018

History of Notary Public in Korčula

If you ever find yourself lucky enough to need a notary public in Korčula, there are only two, one in Korčula and one in Blato, and a visit to one of them will give you an amazing insight into the history of the profession on the island. 

While it is, admittedly, not something most people would usually find fascinating, seeing the document displayed on the wall of Ivna Kaliman's Korčulan office really does paint a picture of a long, turbulent and amazing history of the island. 

The first mention of the notary public in Korčula in the old archives kept by the Dubrovnik municipality was as early as 1338! That was even before the Venetians took control of the island, in 1409, and the notary public service on the island was so well organized that even the control-freaking Venetians kept the organisation as they found it, including the statute of the municipality Korčula. That statute meant that the Venetians didn't have much of an influence on the selection of new notary public in Korčula, although in 1613 the law was put forth saying that the notary public is a public servant of the Venetian Republic, and that he holds a title "veneta auctoritate" (venetian authority). 

notar1.jpg

Some partially saved documents show that the Office of Notary Public in Korčula was active until 1797, when Venetian Republic fell apart, and during those centuries of almost independent service, several well-known families in Korčula kept their notary offices - inheriting the office from one generation to the other for many generations. Some of those families are Lettis, Azzali, Donadini, Rozanović, Mirošević, Španić, Arneri - you will recognize that some of those are Italian last names. 

During those years there were several locations where those offices were situated, near the municipal chamber, near the Cathedral, some of them had offices in Smokvica (!), Blato is also mentioned often in the history of notary public in Korčula. 

During the later history of Korčula, and the periods when French and the Austrians ruled Korčula, the offices of notary public were also part of their governments, and shared the fate with other dalmatian colleagues. Some of the same names already mentioned are listed in the documents in the 19th century, but some of the names that are currently still often seen or heard in Korčula are also becoming notaries: Vilović, Depolo etc. 

 

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Meet the Relais Chateaux Hotels of Croatia: Lesic Dimitri Palace, Korcula

November 22, 2018 - Where are the best places to stay in Croatia? A tour of the luxury listings recommended by Relais & Chateaux, starting with Lesic Dimitri Palace on Korcula.

Croatian tourism is evolving, and one of the areas where great progress has been made over the last few years is the luxury sector. Mass tourism in the 1960s in former Yugoslavia gave way to an explosion of construction of concrete eyesores to meet the mass need, and many of these hotels still exist today on a 2 or 3-star level. But finding top-quality, luxury accommodation for high-spending guests who are looking for a hospitality experience to match Croatia's 5-star destination billing in terms of beauty, has proven to be not such an easy task. 

Things are changing slowly, however, and several top-quality luxury boutique hotels have appeared on the scene. While small in number, these hotels have proved to be enormously successful, addressing the needs of luxury tourists looking for that something extra. The well-respected Relais & Chateaus website shows just how rare they still are, however, with just four listings for Croatia on its global website. Let's meet them.

Few would argue that the top luxury hospitality hotel experience in southern Dalmatia is to be found on the island of Korcula at  Lesic Dimitri Palace. Apart from establishing a successful business, the arrival of Lesic Dimitri on Korcula a decade ago has done much to raise the level of quality of the tourism offer of its competitors. So much so that  Korcula can now rightly be regarded as an elite gourmet destination, whose strategy is to move its hotels to a minimum of four stars. No mass tourism here, just an island focused on nature, culture, heritage, gourmet and adventure tourism.

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Here is what Relais has to say about Lesic:

"Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. People say that the Silk Road started from this island; Korčula has good reason to be proud to be home to Marco Polo's house, a stone’s throw from Lešić Dimitri Palace. The building's history dates back to the 17th century, when the Lešić family, rich property owners and merchants combined a number of semi-detached houses to create a palace worthy of that name. It has been meticulously renovated yet with a touch of contemporary design; its historical character and original layout have been retained and it now offers a small number of independent suites. Each evokes a step in Marco Polo's journey towards China, in a harmonious décor, with top-quality materials."

One of the things that fascinates me about walking through the stone towns of Croatia is that one has absolutely no concept of what is behind the walls of each building. And while the buildings may look reasonably similar on the outside, inside can take you to different worlds entirely. Nowhere is this truer that at Lesic Dimitri Palace - spacious journeys to India, Ceylon, Arabia, Venice and China - a true flavour of the Silk Road, just yards from the birthplace of Marco Polo.

I have never stayed at Lesic, but have been fortunate to have eaten there on several occasions. One thing that comes across very strongly is the passion and dedication of its staff, none more so that chef Marko Gajski, who clearly loves what he does and has found the perfect home to grow and innovate. Lesic Dimitri is also included in the 2018 Michelin Guide, one of two entries on the island (Konoba Mate in Pupnat is the other).  

More flavours from the East - an in-house massage service from Thailand.  

A top boutique hotel has its own luxury services for its guests - here is chef Marko again, on the hunt for sea urchins, just part of the luxury Lesic sailing experience. 

The man behind Lesic Dimitri is Michael Unsworth, a retired British financier who first came to Korcula about 50 years ago to visit a local girl he met in London. He ended up falling in love twice, and is not happily married to Masa, that same local girl, as well as in love with his beloved Korcula. Here is Michael, featured in a recent British Embassy video on what unites Croatia and the UK. 

To learn more about Lesic Dimitri, click here.  

To learn more about Korcula, why not check out our dedicated portal about the Marco Polo island?

 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Meet the Wine Towns of Korčula - Čara

Continuing our look at the wine town of Korčula through the eyes of the excellent Croatia Draga blog, a journey inland to the heart of Pošip, the island's most popular variety - welcome to Čara.

A nice new blog has appeared on the scene in Croatia, with a passion for wine. Part Two of the Croata Draga's tour of the vineyards of Korčula, after last week's visit to Lumbarda

"Čara (that’s “char-a”) is probably the best known of the three wine towns, perhaps owing something to the dramatic view from the road of the main vineyards, which carpet a valley between the town and the PZ Pošip co-op, pictured at top. Co-operatives were largely formed during the Communist period, when growers were required to take their fruit to the co-op aside from a little wine made at home for family. The large valley in front of the co-op is subdivided into many parcels, where some families grow various vegetables alongside their vines. There are still quite a few wine co-ops in Croatia, but in Dalmatia PZ Pošip stands out for solid-quality wines made from the white Pošip grape."

To read the full blog, visit Croatia Draga.

For more on wine in Croatia, why not check out our sister site, Total Croatia Wine

 

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sweet Korcula: Sweeties of Korcula Grannies - 17. Torta od Mindoli

November 17, 2018 - Sweet Korčula, an island with a seemingly endless supply of fabulous traditional home-made cakes and desserts. We are very grateful to Franica Tasovac for allowing us to serialise her excellent books called Sweet Korcula, Sweeties of Korcula Grannies (in English). It is a collection of no less than 30 ancient recipes for Korcula cakes and desserts, lovingly put together into a book. A delightful souvenir or gift for gourmet friends. Franica has kindly allowed us to serialise the recipes on TCN, and we will be bringing you a recipe a week from the kitchens of Korcula's grandmothers throughout the year. You can read Claudia Tarle's lovely introduction here.

TORTA OD MINDOLITORTA OD MINDOLI
(Almonds Cake)


5 eggs 
150 g sugar
180 g almonds
lemon and orange zest
200 g marmalade
2 tablespoons water 


Put the almonds in the oven, about ten minutes at 170°C. Grind finely the cooled almonds. Mix egg whites into firm snow. Whisk yolks and sugar into a foam until the sugar dissolves. Gently stirring, add the lemon and orange zest and ground almonds. Stir all and pour into a mould lined with waxed paper.


Bake the cake in preheated oven at 150°C for an hour.


Mix marmalade and water thoroughly, and keep warm. Coat the baked and chilled cake with hot marmalade.

 

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You can buy this booklet at:
Town library “ Ivan Vidali “
Flower shop “ Fiorino “
“ Manina “
“ Komo “
Tourist agency “ Kaleta “ 
Souvenir shop “ Suzy “
Bookshop “ Kutak knjiga “

 To connect with Sweet Korcula, why not follow them on Facebook?

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Korčula Beach of the Week - Three Ports

This week's beach of the week on Total Korčula is Three Ports, not one beach, but a wonderful, beach-goer friendly set of coves near Vela Luka. 

 

It's name in Croatian is Tri Luke, but you'll also often hear the Italian name (appropriatelly similar to the English name) Tre Porte. It's a series of - and I know this is going to be hard to believe - of three coves, located several kilometres due South-West of Vela Luka, facing south and located in one of the most amazing wooded areas of Korčula Island.

The road to get to the Three Ports from Vela Luka is quite nice, easy to find (go towards Potirna and then it's really simple to find the Ports), and once you get to your destination, you shouldn't have too much problems finding a parking spot for your car, as the area is quite wide, there are houses and apartments in the ports and several smaller roads in the forest which accomodate parking - and in the shade. 

tri porte.jpg

There are several smaller pebble beaches in each of the coves (and even hidden sandy gems!), and numerous rocky slabs around the coves where you can put your stuff and enjoy a bit more isolation, both in the sun or in the shade. If you're visiting for the first time, the best advice we can give you is to walk around a bit, explore the area, enjoy the different options, take a swim here or there before you decide where you want to spend most of your time. As we said already, there are several houses located in the area, and most of them are renting apartments, so if you want to keep away from busy Vela Luka, but still be close, maybe you can consider renting here. 

At almost any given time during summer, there will be boats, small or larger, docked in or just in front of the coves, as the water is perfectly clear and quite shallow there, there are several charming little islets in front of the Tre Porte, which are very intersting to the nautical tourists. Plus, there's a diving centre located in the area, so there will be divers - and you can also be one! 

There is only one konoba, restaurant called Škanja Rat is located very close to the coves, but works only in the afternoons (such was the situation last time I visited; I don't know if things have changed since, as there isn't much information about the place online), so you can have a drink and a meal there. 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Meet the Wine Towns of Korčula: Lumbarda

 A new blog about living in Croatia, with more than a hint of wine. Meet Croatia Draga, and the first in a three-part series exploring the wine towns of Korčula.

"Going to Korčula to meet its winemakers requires a drive to one of the island’s three main wine towns: Lumbarda, Smokvica and Čara. (Although there are worthy wineries outside these towns, I didn’t visit them this trip.) From Korčula town, Lumbarda is the closest, just a 10-minute drive to the easternmost end of the island. The famous sandy vineyards there are centered on a narrow peninsula that is bracketed on the two coasts by town beaches and leads to a mostly wooded knob on the tip of the island. Driving past the small riva at the center of town, you are almost immediately in the vineyards. You reach a tiny roundabout occupied by a tiny church and can follow the one-lane road through vines that spread in every direction."

To read the full article, click here.

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