Saturday, 12 December 2020

Young Genius from Popovača Wins First Place at International Romanian Master of Informatics

December 12, 2020 - A young genius from Popovača, Dorijan Lendvaj, has won first place at the International Romanian Master of Informatics in competition against 200 students.

Jutarnji ListJutarnji List writes that the Lendvaj family from Popovača is anything but ordinary. The eldest brother, Vilim (21), was the state champion in robotics, logic, and informatics, an international champion at the Science Olympiads, and today is a student at FER. Dorijan, 16, entered the game at the age of two, looking over his shoulder at his older brother while working on a computer. He was seven years old when he became the youngest participant in a national programming competition in general, and in 2016 he was a world champion in robotics. Dorijan is also the only student in Europe to have won international medals in all four areas of STEM. Their sister Dora (15) was a state champion in programming in the fifth grade. The first to knock down the male competition.

"Vilim once described them in these words: 'I am smart, Dorijan is a genius, and Dora is normal. This means that Dora was the national champion in elementary school'," says the professor of the Zagreb MIOC, Dorijan's mentor at the school for international competitions, Nikola Dmitrović, who knows all the Lendvaj family well. 

The latest news from MIOC (XV Gymnasium) is that students Dorijan Lendvaj and Patrik Pavić won gold medals at the International Romanian Master of Informatics, with Dorijan winning first place in the competition of 200 students. This is the first time a student from Croatia has won first place in a competition of this level, which is considered one of the Grand Slams in IT circles.

"I did not expect to win first place; there were a lot of good competitors," Dorijan, who participated in the competition from self-isolation, under the supervision of cameras, said on the phone. Dorijan, as his mentor Dmitrović will confirm, is much more eloquent in programming languages, so it should come as no surprise that when asked how he felt when he won the gold, he replied: "Well. Hm. I didn't feel special."

The Lendvaj children have a basis for their love of programming in their parenting profession; they are both mathematicians.

"We really did not expect Dorijan to be the first, because about 40 of the best Russian programmers were in the competition, and that is comparable to Wimbledon in the tennis world. Along with the World Olympics, this is definitely the strongest competition. It is important to start programming early enough, from the lower grades of primary school. After that, the children climb on their own," says father Vlado Lendvaj, president of the Croatian Association of Informatics since last year. For his children, he says he no longer knows how many medals they brought home. He estimates about fifty, of which 20 are international.

According to Vlado Lendvaj, the best preparation for strong competitions is participation in informal online competitions in which children from all over the world take part several times a week. Dorijan has progressed to the level of composing competition questions today and performing as a tester. He was recently a tester for the Russian Informatics Olympiad.

The gold won at the Romanian Master of Informatics did not surprise only Dmitrović.

"Patrik and Dorijan have alternated first place for some time and are way ahead of the others. I think they are some of our best competitors in general," says Dmitrović.

"We work with them; we organize them, we prepare the rooms where they compete, we talk, we control, we wake them up... Since I lead competitions at the state level for primary schools, I have known Dorijan since the 4th grade, Patrik since the 6th. Dorijan is special, both as a contestant and as a person. He's not talkative. If he doesn’t see why he should say something, he won’t say it. Like Sheldon Cooper. Incredibly smart, intelligent, but quite reserved in person. He has his own specifics that we are used to and accept. He is our Dodo. Some said the MIOC school is best for such students. They focus on the area in which they are the best, and not imposed," Dmitrović explains.

While acknowledging that it is not easy to work with gifted children because of their high demands, getting into a discussion with them is a real challenge and worth it.

Dorijan's father states that at various international competitions, Croatia won more gold medals in informatics than all other subjects combined.

"We have 12 gold medals in informatics. In all other cases, Serbia, for example, is better than Croatia, and only this year they won the first gold in informatics. Finland, often mentioned in the context of the best education system, has five golds in computer science. Mi 12! We have an area where we are far above the Finns. But not because of the education system, but because of the individuals in it," concludes Vlado Lendvaj.

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

Monday, 7 December 2020

'Croatian Wine House' One of Many Projects in Sisak-Moslavina County for 2021

December 7, 2020 – Sisak-Moslavina County plans many new projects for 2021. Among them, the construction of the Croatian Wine House (Hrvatska kuća vina) in Popovača stands out, as a promotion center of Moslavina wines, especially the indigenous variety škrlet.

As Lokalni.hr reports, the administrative department for the economy, agriculture, and rural development of the Sisak-Moslavina County will have a budget of more than50 million at its disposal next year, and a much higher amount is expected for projects from EU funds.

New crafts and businesses

For the economic development in 2021, 8.8 million kuna will be allocated: 4 million kuna for the development of entrepreneurial infrastructure, 3.85 million kuna for subsidies to craftsmen, small and medium-sized enterprises, and 750,000 kuna for capital aid for new investments in production.

The development of tourism will be supported next year with 4.572 million kuna. 1.4 million kuna will be invested in transport and communal infrastructure. Co-financing of passenger transport and co-financing of public road transport in municipalities continues. For regional development and projects co-financed from EU funds, 32.2 million kuna is allocated.

Most of it goes to the work of the Regional Coordinator of the SMC, which prepares and implements projects, and to the Natura SMC project – an educational and presentation center that will include all the richness of the county's natural heritage.

Among other planned projects, which should be co-financed from European funds, is the project "LIFE in Zone Ozone". With this project, a new model of disinfection should be developed, and its value is 7 million kuna.

Croatian Wine House - the future recognizability of the county

Also, a 34-million kuna project "Croatian Wine House" is planned, which would contain two segments. The first would be a tourist segment for which a tasting room, a restaurant, and a viewpoint would be built. The second segment would be scientific and educational and would consist of a laboratory, a wine cellar, and a test field intended primarily for the development of the indigenous wine variety of the Sisak-Moslavina County – škrlet.

The project will be implemented in the area of the City of Popovača, where it was presented in February. The prefect of Sisak-Moslavina County, Ivo Žinić, said on that occasion that the Croatian Wine House is the future recognizability of the county, emphasizing that it is just a continuation of all efforts for better promotion of Moslavina wines, especially the indigenous škrlet variety.

"This is an important project primarily because a lot of people here are involved in winemaking. Wine, vineyard, and wine cellars are the tradition of this area and status symbols of the City of Popovača. Thus, we will complete one story in which it will be possible to present everything that is produced, not only in the area of Popovača but also in the entire County," said then the mayor of Popovača Josip Mišković, Radio Banovina reports.

A special feature of this project is a viewpoint with flower petals that give a new character to this vineyard area.

"Everyone who comes to this area will have the need and desire to visit the wine house, see which wines are produced in this area, but also taste them and all other wines to help our winemakers. They are investing more and more every year, especially in škrlet, which has an increasing value on wine lists. I think that this project will be the capital crown of the entire investment in the development of wine and winemaking," said Mišević.

Other projects – battery development center, photovoltaic power plant, business incubators...

Other planned projects are the renovation of Villa Zelengaj in Topusko (5.5 million kuna), project "Research-development-production center for batteries and design and production of furniture" in the Entrepreneurial Zone Glina (150 million kuna), Photovoltaic power plant Martinska Ves (86 million kuna) and establishment of a network of business incubators in Popovača, Novska, Glina, Kutina, Donja Kukuruzari, Velika Ludina, and Lipovljani, with an estimated value of 192 million kuna.

Sisak-Moslavina County continues with the implementation of the project "County Entrepreneurial Loans", which enables the launch of new crafts and companies, and the growth and expansion of existing ones. This project has been implemented in SMC for years in cooperation with cities, municipalities, and commercial banks, which achieves an interest rate of 0.25 or even 0 percent for entrepreneurs.

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

Thursday, 1 October 2020

19 Incredible Dishes: The Best Vegetarian Food In Croatia

October 1, 2020 - Happy International Vegetarian Day! To celebrate, we bring you a list of 19 meat-free snacks and meals that make up the best vegetarian food in Croatia


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Starting a feature of the best vegetarian food in Croatia with a picture that has what looks suspiciously like meat in it comes at the top of a long list of dumb moves made by this writer - vegetarians, please forgive me. It was an impossible picture to find and this Youtube screenshot of a non-vegetarian option was the only one available on open license

Krpice sa zeljem

A lowly peasant dish made from cabbage and pasta, krpice sa zeljem neither sounds too appetising on paper nor looks inviting in its rather bland appearance. But, when you've no money left and need to fill your stomach, this is a great option. It's seasoned simply with salt, pepper and oil. Although most Croatians wouldn't do it, it's nice with butter or a butter and oil mix instead. Always use white pepper, not black, to accompany the salt in this. Some people make it with bits of pork too, like the one we have unfortunately pictured.

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Youtube screenshot © Andreina kuhinja

Granatir / Pašta s krumpirom

Also known as grenadir marš (grenadier march) or pašta s krumpirom (pasta with potatoes), this is a simple dish from Slavonia and is popular in other parts of northern continental Croatia. Onions and potatoes are the exciting ingredients, but the flavour comes from the ground paprika powder so prevalent in Slavonian food. Further away from Slavonia, you might find spring onions added and it seasoned instead with white pepper. You can really imagine the Austro-Hungarian troops of old marching on full stomachs of this cheap dish. Vegetarians fond of this meal might try exchanging the spring onions for leek (poriluk), for a change.

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Vanjkuši are probably the most obscure of all vegetarian food in Croatia so, again, we couldn't find a picture. Their name can be translated as pillows © Jay Mantri

Vanjkuši

Some in Croatia might not have heard of vanjkuši (also known as vankuši or jastuci). They are a distinct speciality of the old region of Moslavina, located to the east of Zagreb. Vanjkuši are not wildly exciting in colour, but these baked pastry rolls filled with egg, cornmeal and cottage cheese are a tasty snack or extravagant side dish, seasoned with salt, white pepper and sometimes butter and/or cream.

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© Nenad Damjanović / Croatian National Tourist Board

Pera

This little-known snack from Vrbovec is a much more authentically-Croatian take on pizza. The thin crust is topped with fresh cow’s cheese, sour cream and egg (sometimes cornmeal too), cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven and then cut into triangles for sharing.

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© Rainbow Pizza

Pizza

Yes, it's Italian. But most of the food on the Croatian menu either comes directly from other nations - Turkey, Bosnia, Hungary, Austria, Greece - or is inspired by them. Pizza is included because it's on sale everywhere in Croatia and almost everyone eats it. Like that other Italian favourite, ice cream/gelato, Croatians are brilliant at making pizza. It is possible to buy inferior pizza in Croatia, but you're not wise to do so - just look a bit harder. There is a great pizza available almost every place you go in Croatia.

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© Bonč

Štrukli

Sometimes štrukli is claimed by Zagreb. But, it's suspiciously close to dishes prepared in both Slovenia and Austria. We prefer to allocate this boiled or baked pie-type dish to Zagorje, the agricultural region over the mountain, north of Zagreb. The land, agriculture, food and recipes of Zagorje inform the capital's cuisine more than anywhere else. Štrukli comes with all manner of fillings, although the most popular (and the best we've tried) comes filled with cheese.

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© BiHVolim

Zeljanica

Zeljanica is burek made with spinach. Except in Bosnia, where burek je samo s' mesom! (burek is only with meat!) There, it is only called zeljanica. Nobody in Zagreb is going to shout at you if you ask for burek with spinach. The spinach is wrapped in rolls of pastry before being cooked, the outside layers baking, the inside layers being steamed. Fans who cook this at home should really try a combination of spinach and feta-like or fresh cheese - it's delicious, but almost never on sale to the public.

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© Kokini recepti

Ćoravi gulaš

A peasant stew translated as blind goulash, this thick and tasty soup-like dish boasts potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, parsley and sometimes peas. It is flavoured with ground paprika, salt, pepper, bay leaves and garlic. Best eaten with artisan or homemade crusty bread, this is a brilliant light lunch or inexpensive evening meal.

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© Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Fritaja sa šparogama

Asparagus is one of those foods, like sprouts, which you probably avoid as a kid, but can't get enough of when you grow up (after you've lost your extra taste buds). They certainly can't get enough of it in some parts of Istria, where there are festivals dedicated to the delicacy. You're sure to find fritaja sa šparogama on the menu of the best traditional Istrian restaurants during the vegetable's growing season. This egg-based dish also contains onions, olive oil, simple seasoning and often herbs. It's great for breakfast, brunch or lunch, eaten with crusty bread and it's a super treat when served with goats cheese and cold Istrian white wine like malvasia. Yum.

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© V Cirillo

Maneštra

Another dish from Istria, these days this stew-like soup is sometimes flavoured with meats. But in its traditional peasant serving it is a vegetarian favourite, comprised of beans, potatoes and sweet corn and flavoured with garlic and parsley.

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Burek is the most common vegetarian food in Croatia © Nikola Škorić

Sirnica

This is burek with a cheese filling, except in Bosnia where... you know the rest.

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Stews like Đuveđ make up a large percentage of the vegetarian food in Croatia © Rainer Zenz

Đuveđ

Đuveđ, sometimes called Đuvec, is a stew of Turkish descent. Its ingredients vary depending on who's cooking and what's in season, but it's not uncommon to find all of the following in this inviting dish - tomatoes, onions, carrot, courgette, aubergine and rice. Flavour can come from a variety of herbs, including oregano, thyme, rosemary and/or marjoram, depending on the chef and region, also salt, pepper and paprika powder.

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Of all the burek / pies in the list of best vegetarian food in Croatia, Bučnica is perhaps the most extravagant © Bučnica fest

Bučnica

Bučnica is arguably the most extravagant of all the burek/pies as its filling has the greatest number of ingredients. Inside its layers of pastry, you will find pumpkin, fresh cheese, sour cream, eggs, butter, salt and pepper. It's seen more frequently in autumn after pumpkins are harvested.

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© zeevveez

Sataraš

Though small in ingredients and simple to prepare, it's really easy to make a mess of sataraš. For the best results, always cook the ingredients in this order - onions, then peppers, tomatoes towards the end. This light vegetable stew is from Hungary and their best version uses the lightest of fresh peppers and the freshest tomatoes. Garlic is often added. Similar to French ratatouille, in other regions, they add courgettes and chilli powder to the dish. This is essentially simple, inexpensive, peasant food. To ramp it up to gastro-levels, try cooking one or all elements separately and then combining together at the end, like a salad. This works especially well with the peppers. Approaching sataraš in this non-traditional way preserves the individual flavours of each vegetable and stops it turning into a uniformly tasting mush.

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Pasta with truffles, one of the most opulent offerings of vegetarian food in Croatia © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Fuži s tartufom

This Istrian pasta dish shines its spotlight on locally-sourced truffles. You can find it made with both the more common black truffles or the rarer (and more expensive) white truffles. If it's made with truffle oil, give it a miss - it's not the real deal. Unusually for a pasta dish, this one often makes use of butter. It adds to the luxuriousness of the taste.

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© Чакаровска

Krumpiruša

You might hear one or two people insist that Croatians don't usually eat meals that include more than one carbohydrate. This small number of people are usually from Zagreb and presumably forgot about krumpiruša (or indeed that many ask for bread to accompany their sarma - which contains rice - and is served atop mashed potato). Krumpiruša is lowly in ingredients, but one of the most satisfying pastries in Croatia. For the best results, again, use white pepper to season if you're making it at home.

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Youtube screenshot © Sašina Kuhinja

Zlevanka

To an outsider, zlevanka sounds like the name of the charming lady who rents you a holiday home in Montenegro. It's actually a speciality sweet pie from northern Croatia (particularly Međimurje), a peasant dish made with eggs, sugar, salt, cornflour, milk, fresh cheese or sour cream, yeast and oil. The cornflour is essential to give it the snack its distinct yellow colour. You might also see it called bazlamača, zlevka or kukuruznjača. Even sweeter versions are available which include apple or poppy seeds.

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© Cyrus Roepers

Gibanica

Popular all over the Balkans, in Turkey, Syria and in German-speaking nations, the origin of gibanica is a fight for some other writer. We're only concerned with the delicious taste of this strudel, which stars egg and cottage cheese. It can be served as a sweet or savoury snack.

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Soparnik is the undisputed king of vegetarian food in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

Soparnik

Profiled recently in a popular TCN feature, soparnik is the king of Croatian snacks. It is the rarest, usually only found in the Dalmatian hinterland behind Omiš. It is also the most authentically-Croatian item of food on this list. Blitva (a hardy, green chard), a little onion and salt are the filling inside this delicate, thin pastry, which is cooked in huge rounds on a traditional wood-fired oven. Delicious olive oil and tiny pieces of garlic are placed on top while it is still warm.

If you want to try some of the best vegetarian food in Croatia, check out this list of vegetarian restaurants

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Young Genius from Popovača Receives Accolades

The whole family is exceptionally gifted.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Horseback riding

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