Croatia News
Zagreb, May 10, 2020
Preparations for a brighter future
" Our Chefs' restless minds create new dishes and culinary endeavours "

As with lots of other countries, all economic activity in Croatia is currently on the back-burner. Fighting an invisible enemy to save our lives is everyone’s priority right now.

Nevertheless, despite everything being on hold slowly a new version of our Bailliage’s old way of life is emerging.

We have never stopped thinking of our members continuously mulling over plans for good times ahead, hopefully coming soon. As gourmets we deeply miss all that brought us together at Bailliage events. With great anguish we follow recent developments in the industry where we know so many friends and true professionals.

In these difficult times, we have decided to help them not only to reopen their restaurants and hotels but also to start selling their wine and olive oil again. This was emphasised by Bailli Délégué Dalibor Greganić in his Easter address to our members. We eagerly await new delicacies created by our Professionals in their kitchens, vineyards, olive groves and cellars.

Our last encounter
At the end of February Chef/Owner Maître Restaurateur Nenad Kukurin welcomed us to his Kukuriku Restaurant in Kastav. Whilst enjoying exclusively-prepared dishes paired with wines from Plovanić Winery, we discussed future encounters and trips centred on Croatian gastronomy and wines.

Then we heard that the first Grand Chapitre on Lošinj had to be cancelled as have those planned up to September. Fingers crossed the event in Hvar will happen as will the gourmet cruise from Dubrovnik to Split in October, not forgetting our planned visit to Slavonia.

In the meantime
Our members, gastronomic explorers, travellers, and gourmets patiently await the new phase. Not so the Professional members of the Chaîne who are still busy. Logical because nature continues no matter what. Grapes and olives keep growing. Our Chefs’ restless minds create new dishes and culinary endeavours.

Below are some examples of the creativity …

Kozlović Winery visit and olive groves virtual tour
Last autumn members visited one of the greatest Istrian wineries. Professionnel du Vin Gianfranco Kozlović told us about the winery. We tasted Malvasia in the making which has been bottled and marketed under the recognisable label “Malvazija Selekcija 2017”.

While the Kozlović winery was bottling the Malvasia harvested in 2017 we had a virtual tour of the olive groves and tasted the Cadenela ecological olive oil produced by our member Chevalier Andrea Lupieri.

Maître Restaurateur Marco Sasso
On the island of Lošinj, Maître Restaurateur Marco, while waiting for his Bora Bar to re-open, is creating new things with enthusiasm.

Five years ago, he launched a line of selected delicacies which he sold in his restaurant and in Lošinj shops.

Currently he produces Limoncello and his milk-based variety (lemon cream liqueur). Soon jars of boar in sauce will be available.

Not only Coronavirus but also
An earthquake hit Zagreb with everyone suffering some degree of damage resulting in considerable reconstruction which has financial implications.

The Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, our most reliable partner for two years headed by Maître Hotelier Ivica Krizmanić, is facing its most difficult time in nearly a century.

The hotel is now closed due to minor damaged caused. We wish them a speedy recovery with eager anticipation for the re-opening and tasting of their new menu prepared by Executive Chef Ana Grgić, Chef Rôtisseur.

Improvising, innovating, initiating
Solution-focused Professional members are thinking of new ways to continue working. Restaurant Noel in Zagreb is delivering food from their kitchens to keep the business afloat and to maintain jobs.

Maître Restaurateur Jurica Farac at Restaurant Makarun in Split also engaged in charity work until all his Easter stock had gone.

Kod Špilje in Otruševec near Samobor
Owner Maître Restaurateur Štef Grgos is trying a novel approach. When the restaurant had to close Stef turned to agriculture. He planted potatoes with an expected crop of 20 tons.

Poor quality ones will feed his pigs from which he produces 500kg of sausages and other related products. Corn will be used for polenta and freshly baked corn bread. Wheat will be ground in an authentic stone mill. He is learning and about experimenting with sourdough.

His new mission is to get back to his roots and revive what his father and grandfather did.

Istria peninsula
Restaurant owners are keeping busy. Maître Restaurateur Fabricio Veznaver and his wife Ljiljana, owners of the Pergola Restaurant, first redecorated the kitchen and invested in equipment for new cooking techniques. Breath-taking delights are being developed. We impatient to visit them and taste their fantastic dishes!

Family are delighted
Maître Restaurateur Corrado Pellizzer, owner of a family restaurant empire in Rovinj, now cooks for his family every day instead of for guests.

Fish is abundant and he selects the best which is prepared in the classical way as old ‘nonnas’ would do, without convection ovens, to preserve flavour.

Along the coast on the Pelješac peninsula
There’s a tavern called Gastro Mare owned by Chef Toni Bjelančić. This year is so different without any guests coming from Dubrovnik or Korčula as usual.

An entrepreneurial person, Toni purchased a boat in which he goes fishing every day with Maja, a sea lover and ideal partner for his ideas. Fish for themselves now and in the future for his guests.

A special honour at Easter
In Zavala on the island of Hvar is Davor Tavern owned by Chef Krišto Barbić who is a Maître Restaurateur.

The community awarded Krišto the great honour of bearing the cross in the famous traditional Easter procession “Za Krizen” which is part of UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Krišto expressed his gratitude by preparing the best cuisine for the guests of “his” procession during Holy Week.

Conclusion
Professional members of the Bailliage of Croatia continue to work even if their restaurants, wineries and olive oil production facilities are closed. We, the Bailliage’s gourmet members, can hardly wait to be the first guests in their establishments at the earliest possible moment.

Radovan Marčić
Conseiller Gastronomique

Credits

From top to bottom:
1. Kozlović Winery - Gianfranco Kozlović
2. Cadanela Olive Oil - Andrea Lupieri
3. Bora Bar - Marco Sasso
4. Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
5. Kod Špilje - Štef Grgos
6. Pergola Restaurant - Fabricio & Ljiljana Vežnaver
7. Corrado Pellizzer
8. Gastro Mare - Toni Bjelančić
9. Davor Tavern - Krišto Barbić