Friday, 26 June 2015

Meet the Total Croatia News Writers: Zoran Pejovic

After almost four years of the Total Project, a nice thing is happening to me. I am finally getting to meet and sit down with people who are widely respected in the region for their excellence in their chosen field, and finally also feeling brave enough to ask for their help. And they are saying yes...

Although I have only met Zoran Pejović a few times in the flesh, it is hard not to be impressed by his energy, vision and achievements, and when he sent me a message of support for Total Croatia News, I daringly asked him if would like to translate that support into something concrete, such as a few articles in his chosen field of expertise. 

Anyone who follows the gourmet scene in Dalmatia will confirm the towering contribution Zoran has made since opening the first Wine and Cheese Bar, Paradox, in Split a few years ago. With a passion for education and excellence, Paradox remains the standard for all the imitators to match. There are many imitators, but none yet to match, and it was telling that Zoran was the one to be interviewed by the New York Times in that great video yesterday

After setting the wine bar standards, Zoran and partner turned their attention to the Split restaurant scene, and the astonishing progress upscale eatery Paradigma has made since opening less than a year ago is quite breathtaking, and the restaurant became a member of Jeunes Restaurateurs d'Europe after just six months. And just in case he had nothing to do in his spare time, the umbrella group Paradox Hospitality has been raising the level at Creme de la Creme. 

And Zoran is a man I have met quite a lot on the road. The major international wine press trip to Hvar, Brac and Imotski last summer culminated in a fascinating tasting of Imotski wines by Zoran in the Imota winery, while the resurgence of Kastela wines - the home of original Zinfandel - was celebrated earlier this year with the Man from Paradox

I am delighted that Zoran has agreed to make contributions to Total Croatia News on his specialist subject, gastronomy. He is a fascinating and inspirational man, and I am sure his contributions to Total Croatia News will be of an equally high quality as his contribution to gastronomy in Croatia. Welcome Zoran, and thank you for your support. A little about Zoran, by Zoran...

"Holding a degree in Hotel & Resort Management, from Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, Zoran has been working in the hospitality industry for nearly 15 years. Zoran held positions in the food and beverage department and general hotel management and has special experience in hotel and restaurant pre-openings and openings. Having worked in Europe, Asia, USA and on board cruise ships, Zoran visited over 40 countries on five continents and has a deep understanding of cultural differences and international human resources. Zoran is accomplished in training and motivating team members to provide the highest level of guest satisfaction and prides himself with a hands-on management approach.

"Zoran has worked for companies such as Amanresorts and was part of the pre-opening team of Aman Sveti Stefan, which received, amongst others, the Award for Excellence as the No.2 Best European Resort by Gallivanters Guide and is listed on the Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List. He also worked for Silversea Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, who pride themselves as being the best in the industry as small and large cruise ship operators, respectively.

"Considering his undeniable passion for the hospitality industry, love for food and wine and desire to create something unique and memorable, Zoran partnered with Marko Sučić in December 2011 to start their own business which was to become Paradox Hospitality in late 2013."

You can contact Zoran via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Join us! If you are interested in contributing to the site, we would be interested in hearing from you, or follow Total Croatia News on Facebook. We are launching early next month. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Meet the Total Croatia News Writers: Sarah-Jane Begonja

The Croatian blogging community is quite small. So small in fact that when a journalist from the national media asked me for suggestions of other quality foreign bloggers a couple of years ago, it took me a while to come up with three.

But I was sure about the first name, a crazy Australian lady in a small village somewhere near Zadar, who had not only relocated halfway across the world to a country where she did not speak the language, but had done it with a small child, while building a home and embracing a new culture. 

And STILL she managed to blog. 

Prodigiously.

Several people have told me that the increasingly popular Chasing the Donkey blog is the best in Croatia, and who am I to disagree. Sarah-Jane Begonja has taken to her task of discovering all aspects of Croatia and all parts of Croatia with such gusto that I am surprised she has not been snapped up by the national tourist board as a real asset (ok, it is the national tourist board we are talking about - perhaps not so surprising..). SJ, as she is better known, has an extremely positive and humorous outlook on life in Croatia, and her blog is extremely entertaining and a must-read for anyone thinking of moving to Croatia or trying to learn more about life here. While I dither between Pinterest or Instagram, and depend on auto-tweeting to cover my Twitter needs, SJ is a social media machine, somehow able to fit everything in with her duties as mother and house-builder. 

I know she doesn't have much spare time, but I thought I would ask if she would be interested in working with us at Total Croatia News, and I was more than delighted when she said yes, and even more delighted when she sent her first contribution - a great article about Opatija - two days later. Thanks for your support, SJ, and I look forward to that relaxing bottle of wine and chat very soon. A little about SJ, by SJ.

"Sarah-Jane Begonja packed up her life as Marketing Manager in Australia and now along with her husband and son calls a small Croatian village home. SJ first fell in love with Croatia in 2000 and now shares her passion for discovering Croatia on her travel blog called Chasing the Donkey where you'll find hints and tips about travelling Croatia, and making Croatian food. Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook."

Why not join us? We are launching soon and eager to welcome people with a positive contribution to make to this idealistic project. Or why not follow Total Croatia News on Facebook

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Meet the Total Croatia News Writers: Lee Murphy

Generosity is something sadly in an ever dwindling source of supply in the modern world, which makes gestures of exceptional generosity all the more memorable. 

I will be forever grateful to an American couple in Munich some 25 years ago for taking me into the home for a year when I was living on Platform 3 of the main train station, and it was a pleasure to pay off at least part of the debt last month when they had their best family holiday ever in Jelsa.

And then there was the lady from Derby who saved my ass on honeymoon, when I somehow managed to get all the way to the UNESCO rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia without having enough money to pay the entrance fee. Her generous donation of £50, later repaid, ensured a quick divorce was averted.

But when it comes to jounalism, there is one act of generosity which will probably go unsurpassed. And from a Cork man at that. 

Imagine you are a journalist and you score a personal interview with one of the funniest men on the planet, Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, and then you get a request from a friend (let's call him Chris Frean, as he might be grumpy if not mentioned) to allow a fat blogger from Hvar to join the party. Lee Murphy not only agreed but led the way in one of the most entertaining half hours of the year.

Our paths have crossed a few times since, partly in his capacity as editor of the sadly now defunct South-East Europe: A Fortnight in Review, and most recently at the Queen's Birthday party in Zagreb, where it was hard not to be impressed by his effortless introductions for the Total Croatia News projects, from ambassadors to multinational companies.

A busy man with various literary and journalistic projects in Zagreb, Lee has kindly agreed to join us at Total Croatia News, with some initial economic articles to show support, something I am hoping we can turn into a more permanent fixture if our funding plans come off. Read more about Lee - by Lee - below. Thank you for your support, Sir, and your generosity will never be forgotten. You can contact Lee on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Join us! We are getting closer to launch and welcome all types of cooperation and collaboration for those interested in this idealistic project. Follow Total Croatia News on Facebook.

"Probably echoing many a foreigner in these lands, Lee found his way to Croatia to start a new life - and while here decided to get married, because why not? Having spent over a decade reading history, philosophy, and politics at University, Lee now spends his time agitating politicos up and down the former Yugoslavia. Past writing gigs include his Primary and Secondary Yearbooks (as well as a few years with his University magazine and an Irish daily evening paper), and more recently he served as Executive Editor for SEE: A Fortnight in Review, a regional business and politics journal. Follows Cork City, West Ham, and Rijeka."

Monday, 14 March 2016

March 14 Political, Business, Tender and Analysis Bulletin from Total Croatia News

An overview of the latest political, business and tender news from Croatia, including analysis on Brkic's decision to withdraw from consideration for the Veterans Minister. This is the last bulletin which will be posted on TCN. If you would like to try a free trial for a week delivered to your inbox by 09:00 each weekday morning, or information about our subscription rates, contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Communism is Dead, and Is It Time for a Croatian Ministry of Excellence?

It is easy to find problems in the modern Croatia, but is it possible that we could bring out the very best of the country quite easily and cheaply with a new Ministry of Excellence?

Friday, 11 March 2016

Croatian Budget, Political and Business Summary: March 11

An overview of the main political and business stories in Croatia, including a more in-depth look at yesterday's budget announcement, part of the Total Croatia News premium content subscription service, delivered to client inboxes by 09:00 each weekday morning. Monday will be the last posting such as this on the site. If you would like to start a free one-week trial or learn more about the service, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Croatian Political and Business News Bulletin: March 10

The latest political and business news, with analysis, from Croatia on March 10, 2016, part of the TCN premium content project. We will be publishing tomorrow's bulletin and Monday's only on the site. If you would like to sign up for a free trial for a week and have the newsletter delivered to your inbox by 09:00 each weekday morning, or subscribe, contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Croatia Political, Business and Analysis Bulletin: March 9, 2016

A summary of the key political and business news in Croatia, part of the Total Croatia News premium content project - delivered to inboxes each weekday morning by 09:00. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Croatian Political and Business News Bulletin: March 8

Day 2 of the TCN premium content newsletter. A round up of all the latest political and business news in Croatia. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Croatia Politics, Business, Analysis and Tenders Bulletin for March 7, 2016

Welcome to the Total Croatia News premium content service, a daily weekday service aimed at embassies and foreign businesses with a need to have a summary of the latest political and business news, complete with analysis and the latest tenders, on their desk in native speaker English by 09:00 each morning. The service started this morning, and here is what was in the first edition. If you would like to take a free week's trial, contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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