Croatia Weekend
Hvar, October 2-3, 2020
October festivities on the island of Hvar
" wonderful camaraderie whilst sealing our commitment to the Chaîne's gastronomic ideals "

Despite everything being cancelled due to COVID-19 we decided to use an opportunity to visit the island of Hvar - in the Adriatic Sea best known as a summer resort - given its better situation regarding the virus compared to other locations in the country.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2ND

Arrival in Stari Grad
Our fun experience started on the two-hour ferry crossing from Split to Stari Grad during which we got to know each other even better. On arrival at our destination we strolled through the old town enjoying a drink near Hektorović Tvrdalj Castle followed by brunch at Bistro Kod Damira.

We enjoyed octopus salad and fried octopus tentacles, salted sardines, marinated anchovies, grilled zucchini and aubergines with a surprise, falafel prepared in the Stari Grad style. As for drinks, we had the finest wines made by Matko Lovrinčević Zagalo. The delicious brunch was an excellent introduction to the wine-tasting that followed.

Duboković Winery
Professionnel du Vin Ivo Duboković’s wines are made by a long process of grape maceration, some berries staying in oak barrels for several years. Tasting 10 wines, we were pleasantly surprised by the old “Maraština” variety and blown away by their famous “Plavac” varietals. Two dessert wines and olive oils were also tasted.

Kod Kapetana
Friday evening at Restaurant Kod Kapetana had an excellent atmosphere right from the start. Our host, Maître Restaurateur Jurica Tomičić welcomed us. Mayor Riki Novak gave an inspiring speech. Of note was the amuse bouche accompanied by the island’s only sparkling wine (from Marijan Winery). Such a great time was had - we departed at 1am!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD

Morning
We began with coffee at Kod Marina. Afterwards it was a visit to the island’s former armoury where we learned about the history of Stari Grad and the island in general.

Tonči Marijan Winery
Enriched culturally Professionnel du Vin Tonči Marijan’s winery in Pitve was next. As well as having considerable professional winemaking experience Tonči appreciates good food. Lunch was outstanding: fried catfish pieces - a rare delicacy, fried squid from the local sea, slices of fried shark served with tartare sauce and scallion, followed by four types of cheese with almonds.

Tonči's award-winning wines deserved our greatest respect. We tasted rare wines only offered to serious connoisseurs. During an incredibly informative, emotional lecture on the Plavac grape variety 31 bottles were opened! It was an impressive, extraordinary four-hour gourmet experience.

Restaurant Davor, Zavala
Next it was Zavala, on the island’s southern side. The Barbić family welcomed us with an unforgettable dinner at their Restaurant Davor featuring dishes from “Holy Week”. Maître Restaurateur Krišto Barbić participates in the traditional Hvar procession called “Za Krizen” [Ed. lit.“Following the Cross”, a night procession that happens every Maundy Thursday on Hvar].

Inclement weather forced us into the restaurant’s beautifully decorated interior. After prosciutto, dried figs, gingerbread and Carob brandy, main dishes knocked us off our feet.

First, bonito in oil (home-marinated) with capers and pickled onion.

Next, excellent cuttlefish risotto - one of the best risottos I have ever eaten!

Third, skate slow cooked in its own juice with onion - a Barbić family simple yet delicious speciality.

Finally, mutton roasted on a spruce tree spit, the resin from which gives the meat a special taste.

The dinner’s finale was yet another island highlight. “Pitovska torta” - made of flour, walnuts, almonds - enriched with arancini, prosecco raisins and chocolate cream topping was served with wines from the Huljić and Carić wineries.

During these festivities on Hvar everyone enjoyed wonderful camaraderie whilst sealing our commitment to the Chaîne's gastronomic ideals.

Radovan Marčić
Conseiller Gastronomique