Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Three More Croatian Restaurants Awarded Michelin Star

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - Three more Croatian restaurants have been added to the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide, bringing the total number of Croatian restaurants with one star to ten, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) announced on Tuesday following notification from Michelin.

The three new restaurants that have been awarded a single Michelin star are Nebo in Rijeka (housed in the Costabella Hilton Hotel), Alfred Keller in Mali Lošinj and Agli Amici in Rovinj. They joined the seven restaurants that have retained their stars - Boškinac in Novalja, LD Terrace in Korčula, Pelegrini in Šibenik, 360º in Dubrovnik, Monte in Rovinj, Noel in Zagrebu and Draga di Lovrana in Lovran.

In addition, seven more restaurants have been awarded the special Bib Gourmand designation for their remarkable menus at affordable prices. There are now 13 restaurants in Croatia with this designation.

The new Bib Gourmand restaurants are Konoba Mate (Korčula), Dunav (Ilok), Konoba Fetivi (Split), Izakaya by Time (Zagreb), Vuglec Breg (Krapina), Konoba Malo Selo (Buje) and Alla Beccaccia (Valbandon).

All the restaurants are listed in the new edition of the Michelin guide for Croatia for 2021. Another novelty in the new edition is the Michelin Green Star designation, which has been awarded to the Zinfandel's restaurant, housed in the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, to acknowledge its commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly gastronomy.

Commenting on the news from Michelin, Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac said that enjoying food and drink is an important part of the tourist experience, adding that Croatia, as a country with a rich gastronomic tradition, should invest more in its promotion and development in the future. 

HTZ Director Kristjan Staničić said that the award of new Michelin designations is a huge success for the Croatian gastronomic scene and very important for the country's tourist industry, considering various restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Eat Your Way Through Croatia: The Croatia Michelin Guide for Foodies 2021

July 01, 2021 - Ranked as the 4th most underrated foodie destination in the world, Croatia now boasts 7 Michelin stars, 10 Bib Gourmands, and 51 Michelin Plates restaurants. This is your ultimate food guide for an unforgettable gourmet Croatia experience! The Croatia Michelin Guide for foodies this year. 

Originally a guide for French motorists started by brothers Edouard and Andre Michelin back in the early1900s, The Michelin Guide is now the Oscars of the culinary world and the holy creed for ardent food lovers. Although the star system is the most revered and famous among others, the Michelin stars are not the only way the Michelin Guide recognizes restaurants - they also give out the Michelin Bib Gourmand and The Plate Michelin awards to those deserving to be distinguished in the culinary world!

THE MICHELIN GUIDE CROATIA 2021

Find your way to the best restaurants and konobas in Croatia with just one click!

1 Michelin Star - "A very good restaurant; worth a stop!"

2 Michelin Stars - "Excellent cooking; worth a detour!"

3 Michelin Stars - "Exceptional cuisine; worth a special journey!"

Other Awards:

Michelin Bib Gourmand - "Good quality and good value cooking"

The Plate Michelin - "Good cooking: Fresh ingredients and carefully prepared"

SPLIT-DALMATIA 

The Plate Michelin 

Zoi - Split, Mediterranean Cuisine

Zrno Soli - Split, Seafood / Mediterranean Cuisine

Dvor - Split, Mediterranean Cuisine 

Kadena - Split, International Cuisine

Konoba TRS - Trogir, Meditteranean Cuisine

Jeny - Tucepi, Modern Cuisine

Michelin Bib Gourmand 

Konoba Škoj - Isola di Solta, Mediterranean Cuisine

 

ŠIBENIK-KNIN

1 Michelin Star

Pelegrini - Šibenik, Modern Cuisine

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Photo credit: Instagram: pelegrini_sibenik

The Michelin Guide describes chef Rudolf Štefan's menu as perfect and a result of long, painstaking research and hard work. Pelegrini highlights the usage of local ingredients such as oysters, sea snails, sea urchins, mussels, lamb, and veal. 

MUST TRY!
  • Carrot mussels and sausage
  • Chicken tingul
  • Fig and ricotta

The Plate Michelin

Konoba Tri Piruna - Vodice, Modern Cuisine/Contemporary

Konoba Boba - Murter, Modern Cuisine

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Konoba Vinko - Konjevrate, Country Cooking  

 

ZADAR 

The Plate Michelin

Fośa  - Zadar, Seafood and Classic Cuisine

Kaštel - Zadar, Meditteranean Cuisine, Contemporary

 

DUBROVNIK-NERETVA

1 Michelin Star

Restaurant 360 - Dubrovnik, Modern Cuisine

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A restaurant with a perfect view of the picturesque and historical city of Dubrovnik, the restaurant is equipped with real professionalism and young and dynamic staff. The menu is elaborately prepared and beautifully presented, including the wines. The Michelin Guide describes it as the best choice for an enchanting and gourmet evening in this romantic city.

MUST TRY!
  • Two textures of scallops and turnip: turnip creamy base with slightly seared scallops, sour turnip disc, and marinated scallops carpaccio in lime juice, crunchy quinoa chips, and thick onion soup
  • Pan-seared duck breast, soy sauce glaze, Jerusalem artichoke purée, sour onion filled with duck confit, croutons, and anchovies foam
  • Milky chocolate velouté base, Kadaif filled with cooked pear in timut pepper and vanilla, Tonka cream, homemade vanilla, and oat ice cream

LD Restaurant - Korčula Island, Mediterranean / Modern Cuisine

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Photo credit: Instagram: lesic.dimitri.palace

This restaurant offers superb Mediterranean cuisine showcasing local products, especially olive oil, excellent fish selection, and exotic ingredients. The outdoor area is perfect for al fresco dining and has the perfect view of the sea and the islands. 

 MUST TRY!
  • Foie Gras (Apple, grapes, brioche crumbs, cherries)
  • Prawn gyoza (Mousseline sauce, chili, daikon, sesame)
  • Chocolate Crocante

 The Plate Michelin

Vapor - Dubrovnik, Modern Cuisine

Nautika - Dubrovnik, Classic Cuisine

Above 5 - Dubrovnik, Creative

Stara Loza - Dubrovnik, Mediterranean Cuisine

Proto Fish - Dubrovnik, Seafood 

Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik, Mediterranean Cuisine

Bistro Tavulin - Dubrovnik, Traditional cuisine

Pjerin - Dubrovnik, Mediterranean Cuisine 

Bugenvila - Cavtat, Classic Cuisine

Filippi - Korčula Island, Mediterranean Cuisine

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Konoba Mate - Korčula Island, Country Cooking

ISTRIA

1 Michelin Star 

Monte - Rovinj, Creative

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Photo credit: Instagram: monte_rovinj

The Michelin Guide describes Chef Danijel Dekić's cuisine as highly creative, almost theatrical with contemporary and exciting techniques. Monte is located in the heart of Rovinj, with a modern and trendy vibe. Definitely worth a stop!

MUST TRY!
  • Omega 3- three preparations of Northern Adriatic fish
  • Suckling pig, lentils, yellow cabbage, pork rind
  • Apple & Rose- rose ice cream, apple mousse, candied rose petals

The Plate Michelin

Alla Beccaccia - Valbandon, Traditional/Classic Cuisine

Meneghetti - Bale, Classic Cuisine

La Puntulina - Rovinj, Mediterranean/Regional Cuisine

Zigante - Livade, Traditional Cuisine

SV. Nikola - Porec, Classic Cuisine

Konoba Čok - Novigrad, Seafood

Marina - Novigrad, Creative

Damir & Ornella - Novigrad, Seafood

Konoba Morgan - Brtonigla, Traditional Cuisine

San Rocco - Brtonigla, Contemporary/Modern Cuisine

Badi - Lovrečica, Meditteranean Cuisine

Konoba Buščina - Umag, Traditional Cuisine

Pergola - Zambratija, Seafood

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Batelina - Banjole, Seafood 

 

PRIMORJE-GORSKI KOTAR

1 Michelin Star

Draga Di Lovrana - Lovran, Modern Cuisine

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Photo credit: Instagram: hotel_draga_di_lovrana

The Michelin Guide commended the restaurant's promotion of local produce and its dishes that are creative, modern with Mediterranean influences and occasional French twist. The restaurant has an impressive wine list that perfectly complements the restaurant's daily menu. Since 2021, this modern kitchen is being run by chef Zdravko Tomšić.

MUST TRY!

  • Rolls of deer ramsteak, mousse pastrnjaka, carrot, pomegranate
  • Pork belly, Roman gnocchi, beet chutney / apple
  • Whiskey biscuits, baked pear cream, mandrine sauce
  • Kvarnerski ceviche, orange emulsion, black basket

The Plate Michelin

Villa Ariston - Opatija, Classic / Modern Cuisine

Navis - Opatija, Contemporary / Mediterranean Cuisine

 

ZAGREB

1 Michelin Star

Noel - Zagreb, Modern Cuisine

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Photo credit: Instagram: noelzagreb

The restaurant serves contemporary, modern, and imaginative dishes with carefully selected Croatian, French and Italian wines. This trendy and hip restaurant is owned by owner-chef Goran Kočiś and his business partner and sommelier, Ivan Jug.

MUST TRY!
  • Zagorski Štrukli with Istrian truffles
  • Wild fish, young beans, yuzu, beurre blanc
  • Apple, rosemary, passion fruit

The Plate Michelin

Tekka - Zagreb, Japanese/Asian, Takeaway

Zinfandel's - Zagreb, Modern Cuisine

Le Bistro Esplanade - Zagreb, French

Beštija - Zagreb, Market Cuisine / Contemporary

Apetit - Zagreb, Mediterranean Cuisine

Takenoko - Zagreb, Japanese / Fusion, Takeaway

Boban - Zagreb, Traditional Cuisine

Pod Zidom - Zagreb, Market Cuisine

Dubravkin Put - Zagreb, Mediterranean Cuisine

ManO - Zagreb, Steakhouse / Modern Cuisine

Bistro Apetit by Marin Rendić - Zagreb, Mediterranean Cuisine

Mon Ami - Velika Gorica, Mediterranean Cuisine, Takeaway

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Agava - Zagreb, International

Tač - Zagreb, Traditional Cuisine

 

KRAPINA-ZAGORJE

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Vuglec Breg - Krapina, Regional Cuisine

 

LIKA-SENJ

1 Michelin Star

Boškinac - Novalja, Pag, Modern Cuisine

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Photo credit: Instagram: hotelboskinac

Surrounded by greenery, Boškinac showcases Pag island's various delicacies in its menus such as olive oil, Pag cheese, lamb, fish, and wine. The restaurant is located in a property that is perfect for an idyllic and relaxing holiday in Croatia.

MUST TRY!
  • Scampi, seaweed, basil and almond emulsion, planktons
  • Pag lamb burned with pine needles powder, roasted lamb belly, peas, and mint cream, pickled carrots
  • Beetroot cream, fermented lemon and yogurt cream, olive oil sponge cake cover, beetroot jelly, pickled carrot leaves

 

VARAŽDIN

The Plate Michelin

Bedem - Varaždin, Traditional Cuisine, Takeaway

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Zlatne Gorice - Varaždin Breg, Regional Cuisine

 

MEDIMURJE 

The Plate Michelin

Mala Hiža - Mačkovec, Regional Cuisine

 

OSIJEK-BARANJA

The Plate Michelin

Waldinger - Osijek, Regional Cuisine

 

VUKOVAR-SYRMIA

Michelin Bib Gourmand

Dunav - Ilok, Country Cooking / Regional Cuisine

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

 

Friday, 12 March 2021

Nedeljka Nena Krupljan Fights for Michelin Star at Istrian Konoba Morgan

March 12, 2021 – Well-known sommelier and a successful head of legendary Istrian Konoba Morgan in Brtonigla, Nedeljka Nena Krupljan, is fighting for neither more nor less than a Michelin star. 

Since Konoba Morgan has had a recommendation for four years now, this goal is actually reasonably achievable. Nedeljka Krupljan, also called Nena, has been fully engaged in this goal since she has been working in the hospitality industry for years now. She has started her professional career very young, learning a lot from her first employer, the famous Jelena Šimić Valentić of Pupitres wine bar in Zagreb. Later on, she enrolled in Croatian Sommelier Club education and is happy to single out Filip Savić, a renowned Istrian sommelier, as her mentor.

"He helped me a lot not only to learn and study but follow my dreams and become a good sommelier," says Nena, who is currently as passionate about extra virgin olive oils as she is about wines.

The first serious wine chart she has done by herself was for Barbieri's restaurant in Zagreb, and it consisted of more than 140 labels. She was also in charge of the Wine bar in Primošten, where she has organized wine dinners. When she returned to Zagreb, she got a job at one of the more prestigious restaurants in Zagreb, Noel, the only one in the capital that is awarded one Michelin star.

"Colleagues Ivan Jug and Goran Petrić were extremely kind and helpful, and I appreciate the experience of organizing wine dinners with the internationally well-known winemakers there," says Nena.

Last year, Nedeljka worked at Roxanich Wine hotel in Motovun before finally settling down at Konoba Morgan. Her new project under the name "Cheers with You" by Nedeljka Krupljan is very interesting. The idea is to introduce primarily foreign but Croatian tourists as well with the world of Croatian wines.

She is offering a short and entertaining, as well as very educational programme with tasting a minimum of six wines, where the client can choose between Wines of Croatia, Wines of Istria, or Premium wines of Croatia – along with snacks from Konoba Morgan.

She has also designed a map of Croatian wineries (of the wines tasted), and it can be taken home and hung on the wall as a souvenir from Croatia.

The programme is mobile, so if you are on a villa or on a yacht somewhere in Croatia, you can contact Nena and schedule the tasting tour. She will come, bring wines, food, and knowledge. All you have to do is to have fun, and – cheers!

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Nedeljka Nena Krupljan Facebook

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

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Saturday, 14 November 2020

PHOTOS: Around Zagreb Dolac Market with a Michelin-starred Chef

ZAGREB November 14, 2020 - Autumn's wild colours are exploding at Zagreb Dolac market, the largest outdoor tržnica in Croatia. Who better to guide us on our photo tour of this iconic institution than Bruno Vokal, head chef at Noel, Zagreb's only Michelin-starred restaurant?

_III4230.jpegBruno Vokal © Šime Lugarov, used by kind permission of Šime Lugarov and Varionica Craft Brewery

My name is Bruno Vokal and I'm from Zagreb. I trained to be a chef here. I spent three years at the culinary school in Novi Zagreb and I started to work straight afterward. Both of my grandmothers were chefs and my mother was a pastry chef. I worked first here in Zagreb, then on the Croatian coast, then in Austria. I came to work at Noel for the first time in 2017, as a sous chef. After a year, I wanted to progress. I went to work in a restaurant called 360 in Dubrovnik and at the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester Hotel in London. I've been back at Noel as head chef for six months now.

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It is my responsibility to every day maintain the standard of the food here so that the restaurant retains its Michelin star or attains a higher recognition. More important to me is the concept. I am constantly asking what kind of lifestyle do people want to live.

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Of everywhere I previously cooked, the place that had the most impact was Alain Ducasse in London. There, it was classical French cooking, but with so much style. It was style based on taste. It wasn't so important how the plate looked. It was all-natural cooking, from the ingredients to the way it looked on the plate. It had the biggest impact on me. It defined for me many things that I had already been thinking about.

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Every day I go to the market with my sous chef, Antonio. Sometimes it's Zagreb Dolac market, sometimes it's Kvatrić. It depends what we're looking for. Zagreb Dolac market is much bigger, with a much bigger offer. I'm not directly orientated to any specific ingredients, I'm oriented to seasons. When I see seasonal produce, that's when I get my ideas. Every new dish, every statement I make, it all comes from following the seasons, its produce and asking myself what the people want to eat.

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Today at the market I found chestnuts and cep mushrooms (Boletus edulis) which both ended up on the menu. I was inspired to make a dessert using mushrooms, hazelnuts and chocolate. I found some great langoustines (scampi) and I made a pasta dish using those and a cappuccino made from the shells. If you see a good ingredient, use it, make the dish. It's like this always. There is never anything on the menu that is out of season.

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At this time of year, I particularly like seeing on Zagreb Dolac market things like pumpkin, chestnuts, kale, beetroot, all kinds of radishes - white, black, red. With the radish, I made a dish with cuttlefish, kale, a preserved sea fennel that we preserved when it was young and a pesto of pistachios. Also in the dish was a meat essence and a ravioli using limes. When you put it in your mouth it had a kind of taste like bean salad, ha! I wanted to make something with a lot of vegetables. Usually, people just make one on the side. Here, there were five, all cooked individually, but designed to be eaten in the same mouthful. This is the kind of cooking I'm really proud of.

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We have several ingredients here in Croatia that are quite unique. Of course, Croatian truffles. Also, many different cheeses. We have one which is a mixture of cottage cheese and fresh cream (sir i vrhnje), which I like to use. It has to be homemade, you cannot buy it from a regular store because the taste will be lost. We have a national dish called štrukli. How do I make the one at Noel? I make small pasta buttons and fill them with cheese, so there is the perfect balance of cheese and pastry in the bite. We reduce fresh cream so that we get a naturally intense sweetness and we make a milk powder, which we caramelise, that gives the taste of the browned top of a štrukli cooked in the oven. We serve it with chips of dried milk, which give a crunchy texture and finish with a sauce.

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Winter is the next season. I can't say yet what will be on the menu, but we will begin our preparations now. We will preserve some of autumn's food, like cabbage, salt meat, start making sausages. Winter for me means maybe less vegetables and more carbohydrates than autumn. We will rely on pastries like mlinci and pasta.

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This time for me is one of the best of the year for food from Zagreb Dolac market. From the end of the summer to the start of winter is the harvest time. Earlier, you get cucumbers, then all kinds of paprika, aubergine, all of which can be preserved. Right now we have amazing onions and pumpkins. With pumpkin, I recently made a tart, a dessert. It had three different kinds of pumpkin served on the side. At this time of year, you can get a wide variety of mushrooms, but the supply can be small and irregular. You can't rely on it. Today I saw black trumpets on Zagreb Dolac market, but the seller only had two boxes. That's not enough for the restaurant, maybe five portions. That's more something I'd buy to enjoy at home or to feed the staff here in the kitchen.

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When I go to the market, of course, I have my favourite sellers who I go to see every time. This relationship is key. It can only happen with time. I make requests, we talk about the produce. They see more of me, we talk more. It's a very important bond to build, especially if you're going to get to the stage where they will maybe change their growing habits the next season in order to satisfy what you want. You need that trust because sometimes you're thinking about a specific item on the menu one week in advance. Sometimes, it's one year in advance. If I convince a grower to plant salsify for me and then I am next year the only guy with salsify, I am a happy chef. This is not only a relationship between a head chef and a supplier, everyone should do this when they go to Zagreb Dolac market or any market in Croatia. You will get your food at the best price and you will get the best produce. But, it's not the kind of thing you can do over only one or two weeks. It takes time. I'm at the market every day. Some days I might only buy two things, but I'm there.

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It's not only vegetables that I buy from Zagreb Dolac market. Some of the best meat suppliers can also be found there. I have a butcher on Kvatrić who I use all the time. I buy pork from him - pork shoulder to make a terrine. He's been there a long time. He has two shops and very good produce. We talk a lot. I get beef from him to make tartare. I know the calves he has are really good. Some of the best ones come from Slavonia. Others come from the islands. The meat available from the different kinds of cows we have in Croatia is also dependent on the season. I take bones and ribs from him for my stocks. Stocks are very important in a restaurant like ours. For these bones, he charges me nothing. I always start with veal stock. It's mild. If I make a duck stock, I start with the carcass and build it up using the veal stock. I start all my other stocks using veal stock, so I have to make quite a lot of it. All stocks taste better when you begin with this base. The veal stock is the only one that begins using fresh water.

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For seafood, I have a main supplier from Rijeka, then others who are on call. They are from all over the coast and the islands. Sometimes, though, I see something at the market and just take it, like I did with the langoustines. For wild meats, I buy directly from hunters. Again, it's very seasonal. They go hunting over a large area. Sometimes they bring me hare, deer, wild duck or boar. Other times I buy deer from the island of Cres. They are small and have very mild meat, not game-y at all. It suits the palette of the clientele here in Zagreb.

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On these links you can check out the other features in our Around Zagreb series:

AROUND ZAGREB VIDEO: Zagreb to Zagorje in a Yugo Car

Around Zagreb: Meet Zagreb Statues, Dressed for Tie Day

Around Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery on All Saints

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All photos © Marc Rowlands unless otherwise accredited

Monday, 13 July 2020

Can Good Communication Save The Season? Boškinac on Pag Busier Than In 2019

July 13, 2020 - Marc Rowlands interviews Boris Šuljić, owner of Boškinac on Pag, a Michelin-starred restaurant, to try and discover the secret to success in the challenging summer of 2020

Among the neverending doom and gloom of this year, a ray of sunshine through the clouds. At Boškinac on Pag, the restaurant, hotel and winery, business is booming. With better numbers than at this point in 2019, is it possible the luxury sector is suffering less this season from COVID-19? And what is the secret to Boškinac's success so far in 2020?

“I am very satisfied with this year's business,” Boškinac owner Boris Šuljić told TCN with a smile and a carefree tone to his voice. “It's definitely busier than last year. Some days are better than others but, generally, more people are coming.”

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An island within an island. Pag's Boškinac is located within a lush green and neighbourless section of the island's interior © Boškinac

In a year where, depending on who you believe and how you extrapolate the info, tourism in Croatia is down by at least 50%, people sit comfortably isolated on Boškinac's large terrace. There, they take in the view of the olive trees and Boškinac's vineyards, with not a neighbour in sight. With special measures in place, seats in their Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant are similarly full. But just where are these guests coming from?

“Most of them this year have been from Croatia and Slovenia,” says Šuljić, not unsurprised. “I'd say the next largest group is foreign nationals, ex-pats, who now live in Croatia. But, also we've had quite a few from Germany, Austria, and Belgium. It's not so difficult for us to get busy. We are a relatively small hotel - 11 rooms, 55 seats in the fine dining restaurant, and 40 seats in our more informal tavern.”

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Boris Šuljić welcoming guests to Boškinac with a glass of their own-made wine in summer 2019 © Fabio Šimićev

Šuljić estimates that in total around 60% of 2020's guests have come from Croatia, 40% from other countries, a distinct change in the usual demographic they receive. Awarded a Michelin star in February of 2020, the hotel and restaurant have earned a reputation internationally for high-quality food, wines, service, and an experience much more unhurried and relaxing than that found in many places on the popular island. So, has he dropped his prices to encourage this year's draw?

“No, not at all” Šuljić tells us, “our prices remained normal. We are not so expensive like some other 4 or 5-star hotels in Dubrovnik, Rovinj, or Split. The average room price is around €200. Until 15 July, we arranged some special packages with the room and fine dining. We kept the food at the same price but offered the rooms a little cheaper in combination. It was successful. It seemed to attract people who'd heard of the hotel and restaurant, who maybe decided that right now was the best time to come and look. It's not so far to come here to check us out when you only have to travel from Split or Istria, even Zagreb, which is where many of these guests have been coming from. They stayed for one or two nights and enjoyed our Michelin-starred restaurant.”

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The flair with which Boškinac on Pag use their fresh, locally-sourced and premium ingredients earned them a Michelin star earlier in 2020 © Boškinac

Always keeping on top of developments in Croatia's gastro scene (you can stay updated on our Gourmet pages), one of TCN's most recent reports from Boškinac noted the venue's fluctuating success of the 2019 season. The summer's unusually variable weather was considered as perhaps one factor in the lack of footfall. With the sun shining reliably on Pag this summer, could it be that visitors care more about the weather than they do about Coronavirus? Is sun-seeking really a greater deciding factor for those looking at Croatia holidays than the ever-updating COVID-19 situation? Šuljić thinks not.

“I definitely think we're busier this year because of the Michelin star,” he says. “People seem to really recognise this international sign of quality. We got a lot of attention because of this. I think it is also because of our communication. We capitalised on the attention and we have been sending out very positive messages. We have every reason to be optimistic and it is this optimistic message we have been sending out; we are here, we are a small place, isolated, we have no neighbours, with allocations for relatively few people, but with lots of room and air and enough terrace for everyone. This is not the usual kind of busy hotel that's packed with people. We are very passionate about our food and our hotel experience. Ours is a business that concentrates on quality, not quantity.”

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A platter of distinctly Dalmatian delights, an example of the food on offer at Boškinac on Pag's less-formal tavern restaurant © Boškinac on Pag

Though Šuljić's international recognition, unique premises and isolated location undoubtedly offer an advantage in attracting high-end clientele, could other Croatian businesses learn something from the clear and optimistic communication Boškinac has been sending out since the season's start? Well, it's an option to all but, since opening in 200, Boškinac's message and communications have been of premium importance to the business.

“We were very ambitious as soon as we opened, especially with our food,” remembers Šuljić. “But, at that time, this kind of fine dining experience was not so much recognised in Croatia. It was a very high cuisine for the time. People didn't understand what we were trying to do. Slowly we grew with our guests. It was a journey we made together. It was a gradual process. On our part, a mixture of good social media communication, some PR and word-of-mouth recommendations from previous guests was what worked best.”

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Spectacular presentation, one of the many wow factors attracting curious visitors to Boškinac on Pag © Boškinac on Pag

Of course, it's too early to tell if Boškinac will maintain its story of success through summer 2020. Šuljić is aware of this. And, even though it is even more difficult to predict the rest of the season than in any other year, he remains decidedly unworried because of their experiences so far.

“It is really interesting,” he says, when asked about future bookings for this summer, “I've never known anything like it. We have so far not had any bookings further than three or four weeks in advance. It's much more week to week. For instance, right now we have zero bookings for August. Usually, I would be concerned. But, it was the same one month ago and now we are almost full. All of the bookings are last minute. People are making their decisions based on the status and the quality of the information available. They check the news and the websites for advice, make a decision and then off they go.”

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© Boškinac on Pag

For the best and most up-to-date information on Coronavirus and travel to Croatia, bookmark the Total Croatia News news page.

Total Croatia News is the best-read English language news site covering Croatia for people across south-east Europe. If you want to get your message across to those booking last-minute visits to the Croatia in summer 2020, contact us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for you.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Spectacular Gala Dinner with 3-Michelin Star Team at Martinis Marchi This Weekend!

This weekend, Saturday 21st April 2018, Martinis Marchi is hosting a spectacular Wine Tasting and Gala dinner, accompanied by 3 Michelin-Star chef Roberto Cerea and the Da Vittorio team! A night not to be missed by any gourmand.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Two New Michelin Star Restaurants Named in Croatia!

Šibenik’s Pelegrini and Dubrovnik’s 360º restaurant have been awarded a Michelin star!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Michelin Star Chefs Take Over Rovinj at 'Istria Gourmet Festival - Autumn 2017'

Istria Gourmet Festival brought renowned Michelin star chefs to Rovinj on October 30, 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

Conde Nast Traveler Reviews Michelin-Star Restaurant Monte in Rovinj

Conde Nast Traveler’s Katherine LaGrave has a meal at Monte, Croatia’s only Michelin-Star restaurant.

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