Korculanke Pjatance Spring Food and Wine Festival Opens in Style on Korcula

By 27 April 2019

April 27, 2019 - The 3rd edition of Korculanske Pjatance, the Korcula Spring Food and Wine Festival, got off to a glorious start at Konoba Maha, in trademark glorious weather. 

Of all the Croatian tourist destinations trying to implement strategies for the future, one of the most interesting and enticing is the island of Korcula. 

Like much of the rest of the coast and islands, Korcula is blessed with so many natural treasures - nature, beaches, heritage, culture and pristine seas. 

And outstanding food and wine. 

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Putting these components together and trying to build a destination with an outstanding gourmet off which will attract higher spending quality guests rather than setting for the mass market is something that Korcula has been implementing for some years now, and with considerable success. 

Korcula Town has several boutique festivals in the shoulder season, including the Korkyra Baroque Music Festival in September but if you are a foodie, there is only one place to be at this time of year. 

Korculanske Pjatance, the Korcula Spring Food and Wine Festival, is now in its third edition, and it has already become an unmissable part of my TCN travels on the second day of this, my second visit. A series of workshops, cooking classes, wine paired meals and other culinary activities highlighting the Spring flavours of this must flavoursome island is one of the best gourmet promotional concepts I have seen in my time in Croatia. Various Korculan restaurants host the events, and with the island's winemakers providing their excellent Grk, Posip and other local varieties, this is a festival to satisfy even the most demanding gourmand. 

This year's festival started at Konoba Maha, near Zrnova, with an opening ceremony with (quite a few) nibbles. for media, partners and participants. The slow-burning fire gave a taster of the meat and tuna tasters, which would follow, but there was plenty to sample before then. 

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And before we could even get to the wine, an obligatory 11 am tequila cocktail, which hit the spot rather well. 

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Many of the island's top chefs had prepared various delicacies, and Lesic Dimitri chef Marko Gajski was busy applying the final touches. It was to be a busy day for young Marko, who would later serve up an astonishing 5-course special at Lesic Dimitri Palace, with wine pairings provided by Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, who had popped over from the neighbouring island of Hvar, where she is the first Master of Wine making wine in Croatia, all from local indigenous grape varieties. 

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It was also my first visit to Konoba Maha, and the setting was superb. There is a trend in Croatia to develop agro-tourism businesses, and while the quality of the end product can leave a little to be desired at times, Konoba Maha is showing what can be achieved. The garden is lush with a rich and aromatic selection of local plant life, with a section which also provides vegetables for the Maha kitchen. It is a divine spot in total isolation. 

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A divine spot, even with the food. But add in a few bites to eat... 

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A selection of the initial offerings while the slow cooking happened a few feet away. 

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Korcula is famous for its white wines of Grk and Posip, and both are regarded as among the best white wines in all Croatia. A number of the island's winemakers turned up to support the event. 

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With a rather an impressive selection of Korculan wines to try. And with a cocktail workshop to come at 15:00, followed by that Lesic dinner, it was necessary to pace oneself a little. 

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From wine to cocktails, and there was plenty of engagement from participants in the workshop, which this correspondent had to leave soon after it started due to a prior commitment. 

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There was so much to look forward to in the next day and a half. That dinner at Lesic Dimitri Palace.

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Learning about 'marenda', a type of Dalmatian brunch the following morning. 

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Before a 6-course dinner with celebrated Croatian chef, Dino Galvagno, back at Konoba Maha. All this before a Galvagno masterclass on the topic of Wild Edibles and Entrails the following morning. For details of more events at Korculanske Pjatance, follow the festival Facebook page

And put it in your diary for next year.