Friday, 14 January 2022

Đurina Hiža Produces First Croatian Free-Range Wagyu Beef

January 14, 2022 - Nikola Božić of restaurants Đurina Hiža and Reshetka is the first to produce Croatian wagyu beef, which will be served at two dinners in February. 

Plava Kamenica first spoke to the owner of Đurina Hiža and Reshetka, Nikola Božić, at the Zagreb Burger Festival in the autumn of 2020 about his pioneering project - breeding of the first herd of Croatian wagyu cattle. 

A year later, the Đurina Hiža restaurant in Varaždinske Toplice, one of Croatia's most respected meat addresses, will present its first dishes with the first Croatian wagyu at two dinners in February.

With Davorin Štetner and in cooperation with the Jastrebarsko veterinary station, Božić started breeding wagyu-holstein cattle in Žumberak Nature Park at 750 meters above sea level in Tihočaj. Until now, this crossbreed could only be heard about as a curiosity from Japan.

"This farm is the result of two of my desires, which I have been working on for years," Nikola Božić said to Plava Kamenica then. "I have been dissatisfied with the general quality of meat available in Croatia for a long time, and it became clear to me that sooner or later, I will have to start breeding to get the quality I want to work with," Božić said, adding that his other motive was smarter cattle breeding.

“I have been dealing with meat for years; I have visited many places in Croatia and, with some exceptions, but I think that the general level of breeding is very poor. When I saw the conditions in which cows live on some farms, I began to understand vegans," says Božić. He found out that there were wagyu and holstein hybrids in Croatia at the fair in Gudovac, and he found them in Međimurje.

Crossbreeding holstein cows and bulls that produce wagyu beef has been widespread in Japan and Australia for years. Wagyu beef is known for its almost perfect marbling, an intramuscular fat that is impossible to imitate, but cattle have a mild and timid nature. By crossbreeding with Holstein, they get characteristics to adapt more easily to breeding in European and American climates. Although it does not achieve the highest Japanese quality levels, wagyu from Western breeding is becoming increasingly popular due to its availability and delicious meat. Spaniards came the furthest with a marbling of 6/12 and the Americans with 9/12, which is phenomenal. 

Nikola Božić is one of the fiercest examples of the endurance of the Croatian restaurant industry. The pandemic seriously threatened the business of Đurina Hiža and street food brand Reshetka. Still, Božić was one of the first to launch nationwide delivery during the lockdown, which resulted in the new brand Deda ide po veti and new meat product lines such as Low & Slow. With the restaurant reopening, everything they risked and did during the pandemic began to return to Đurina Hiža, says Božić. 

The first dinner dedicated to Croatian wagyu beef, announced for February 18, is sold out; the second will be held on February 25 for a maximum of 25 guests. There will be wagyu burgers and steaks on the menu, and if you don’t get a place at this wagyu dinner, you can buy it and try to prepare it yourself!

Đurina Hiža
Varaždinska 70, Varaždinske Toplice

Friday, February 18 and Friday, February 25, 2022


The number of places is limited to 20 to 25

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 098/9562435

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Reshetka Pop-Up Fine Dining Street Food Season Kicks Off in Varazdinske Toplice

July 23, 2020 - The Reshetka pop-up fine dining street food season has begun, as Nikola Bozic and Katarina Vrenc combine to produce something new and authentic for the Croatian coast this summer. 

When I first moved to Croatia back in 2003, there was a joke among the local expats about restaurant food in Dalmatian restaurants, whose offer was essentially the same. There is one factory somewhere in Croatia which prints the menus for all the restaurants. All the restaurant then has to do is add its name and prices. 

And it was true. The food one offer was very one-dimensional. Once you had tried one menu, you had tried them all. Thankfully, there has been a lot of progress since then, and the gourmet scene in Croatia has really moved forward in the last decade, both in the acceptance of more international cuisine, but also in a growing diversity and experimentation of the younger generation of Croatian chefs. 

And sometimes those young visionaries combine to create something a little different, as was the case last Friday night at famed meat restaurant Djurina Hiza in Varazdinske Toplice. 


Already regarded as one of the premier meat restaurants in the country, Hiza owner Nikola Bozic has been easily the most active restaurateur during the corona crisis. As others kept their restaurants closed and laid off staff, he not only kept his entire team but hired more people, as he reinvented his business model. A nationwide delivery service of his quality dry-aged steaks and other fine Croatian products proved to be a big hit, one which is now in the process of going Europe-wide. 

Looking to the future, I accompanied Nikola as he took delivery of Croatia's first free-range wagyu cows, now enjoying 200,000 m2 of paradise in Zumberak Nature Park. 


Among his many other skills (including winning best burger at the 2019 Zagreb Burger Festival, Bozic also organised street food festivals through his Reshetka brand, bringing his grilling expertise to different parts of the country. Along the way, he has met many inspirational people in the gourmet industry, including a young Istrian chef with previous experience in Zinfandel and Plavi Podrum in Volosko. One only has to listen to Katarina Vrenc talk about her passion for food for a second to realise that she is going to be a big name in the Croatian gourmet world very soon. 

And so a partnership was formed to offer something a little different, and a little authentic, for tourists in Croatia this summer. - pop-up fine dining street food at various locations on the coast, as previously reported on TCN

The opening night was at Djurina Hiza in Varazdinske Toplice (and it will be repeated tomorrow before heading to the coast), and TCN was delighted to be in attendance to watch Katarina weave her culinary magic. IT was rather a different menu, as you can see below, but one which worked very well. 

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To start, smoked tuna tartare, lardo on chickpeas taco, yellow Jolokia mayo, fermented cherries and sea fennel. 

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The second course was octopus and pork belly kushiyaki, octopus jus, fermented garlic, and sea fennel croquette. 

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Chef Ozren prepared an amazing "Wild Đuro" deer burger with wild Mushroom sauce and soft butter buns.

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And to finish, chamomile tuile, white chocolate namelaka and baked peaches with orange wine and chamomile macerate.


Follow the Reshetka story on the official website