They say, olive tree is like mother; giving selflessly even if she is neglected for years.
95% of all olive oil production in the world comes from the Mediterranean, and of course, even we are small, Croatia is one of those producers. And yes, you can be sure, olive oil from Croatia, is really from Croatia.
There are two regions here producing most of our oil. Istria and Dalmatia. We are in Dalmatia, so that means, everything here is much harder than in Istria when we talk about harvesting.
In Dalmatia, olives are scattered all over the place, and mostly, in areas which are hard to reach. Which means what?
Well, join us, and we will show you, the best we can through this post. If you want to know what does the olive try symbolize, legends and mythology surrounded about this fruit from heaven, or liquid gold as Homer called it, check out our older post;
So, it’s October, temperature is around 25 degrees, weather is pretty good. Wind up your watches ’cause we are getting up pretty early in the morning. Around 6 am. Drink your coffee, enjoy it, because later, well, you won’t have the chance ;).
Pack your food, lots of water, tools, and let’s go :).
As I already said, here, in Dalmatia, olives are all around, and ours are up, on the hill. You have to be a pretty good driver to past all the traps in front of you.
In other countries, people harvest olives by using machines that shake the entire trees. Here, we do it with our hands.
Please make sure you have suitable shoes, which are not slippery, because, there will be a lot of tree climbing. Also, no matter the temperature, you need to wear long sleeves, if you do not want to ‘cat scratch me’ look afterwards.
Girls, make sure your hair is secured as well.
Around noon, we will have 20 minutes off, for nice BBQ. Believe me, you will be hungry and you will enjoy it more than in a 5 star restaurant.
Around 4 pm, we are packing our stuff and it’s time to go home.
But the work isn’t complete. We need to shake our olives a little bit and clean the leafs. One of us, of course, is preparing dinner.
It’s 8 pm. You drink your Aspirin or any other pain killer and you go to bed. At 8 pm. Because tomorrow is Sunday, and yes, we are repeating this once again. And again. And again. We have around 500 olive trees. For our use mostly. Nothing professional. Yep, family thing. E-mail me if you want to buy it ;):
Does it sounds frightening? Perhaps. But, no matter sore muscles, we are doing it with joy. Because, we are thankful each year for the yield. We are thankful that we can spend so much time in the nature, hanging out, talking, laughing, crying from tiredness, instead being in front of TV or computer. We are thankful that we can enjoy our own oil. We are thankful for that and much more.
After all, we enjoy using olive oil. So, this time, let’s make a cake ;).
Poljica, a small fisherman place located 15 minutes North from beautiful Trogir. Beautiful beaches, clean sea, and friends we enjoy spending time with.
Our friend Dino, a fisherman during winter and best tourist guide during summer, has a boat for daily cruises from Poljica to island Drvenik (Krknjaši). During your little cruise, you stop to
at least 3 beautiful places great for swimming, you can have delicious lunch with great view in old stone house, and you can even try fishing with Dino. Believe me, you will not regret,
as he is fishing since he was a little boy, and, he definitely can teach you something and provide you with great lunch you fished by yourself.
Isn’t that the best feeling?
So, Sunday 8:00 AM. Everybody on board!, Dino yells, as we throw our bags full of food, drinks and all kind of accessories for our kids. You can never have enough of those :).
Beautiful weather, clean and glass sea, fresh coffee served on board (and perhaps another 10 times during the day), and friends laughing and enjoying our little summer cruise.
First stop, Krknjaši – Blue Lagoon
Krknjaši cove on the Drvenik island, surrounded with Veli Krknjaš and Mali Krknjaš islets, is a real tropical lagoon from the picture postcards. It is not far away from land but a world away from mainstream tourism. Well known to yachtsmen and captains of megayachts who love to cruise these unspoiled waters and enjoy the secluded beaches, little known outsiders (www.trogir-sailing.com).
After we enjoyed beautiful morning for swimming, we got hungry! This beautiful bay has restaurant Krknjaši, but hey; with 5 big guys and full box of fresh meat, only choice was barbecue (gradele prepared meat).
Beautiful old stone house with great host, amazing view and a chance to prepare your own food. With friends you enjoy spending your time with, can life be any better than this?
Local wine from our vineyards, vegetables from our gardens, our olive oil, and delicious barbecue in combination with summer breeze and beautiful view can be described as true hedonism.
After another swimming, another coffee, we anchored in two more beautiful bays, enjoying deep blue sea.
On our way home, with sunset in front of us, we could only wish for one thing: To repeat this as often as possible!
I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin
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I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin
Yesterday, we had windy, but sunny day, here in Split. So, what is the best way to spend a day like that, but take a seaside walk.
And we did!
I think, most of us, Dalmatians, feel certain tranquility being close to the sea. We do not have to swim in it, or sail,…we just need to see it, feel it, or here it
so we can be sure it is there. Near us.
It felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
A glass of wine, and we will say, not chestnut but fish (cod fish for example) and the sound of sea. Nothing else.
Enjoy our walk together with us.
P.S. Recipe for Cod fish brodetto (Bakalar brodetto)
Cod fish Brodetto
2 lbs of cod fish
3 lbs of potatoes
3 large yellow onions
large can of whole tomatoes
10 garlic cloves
a bunch of parsley
2 cups of white vine
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Cut the Cod fish into two to 3 inch long pieces and put them in a bowl with water and cover it. Change the water every 8 hours, three times.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices, Slice the onions, mince the garlic and chop the parsley.
In a large pot start assembling your brodetto. On the bottom put a layer of onions, then a layer of potatoes, layer of fish and crush a little bit of tomatoes and tomato juice on top. Do this until you are all done and then on top of it put your garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and bouillons.
Pour the wine and olive oil on the top and then add some water to about and inch from the top of the food. Cook on medium until the potatoes are done, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to serve some great bread on the side because the broth is to die for!
This is even better the next day and it freezes well.
Noćas ću pod sviću bacit peškafondo
zapalit španjulet i odmorit dušu.
Pridat ću se moru miru i tišini
zaboravit sve ću stvari ča me gušu.
It is difficult to translate above lyrics, as you would have to be a Dalmatian just for a day, and spend one night at the sea, under the sky, just to have a small sensation what sea, sky, boat, and fish means to people living in Croatia.
In short words, when fisherman sail from shore to the sea, he forgets about all the problems that smuggles him in life. It’s just him and the silence he feels while away from the land.
Fishing tradition on the Adriatic is long. In Croatian Maritime Museum in Split you can see fishing boat ‘Perina’, at the museum courtyard, a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’, one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast. It is little to say that this gajeta represents centuries of local sailing knowledge and tradition.
Oldest document about fisheries in Croatia is dated around the year 995. and its been kept in historical archives in Zadar.
The everyday life of Croatian fishermen did not change a lot from previous centuries. Yes, we have motor fishing boats now, strict laws, and less fish then before, but conditions modern fishermen is facing out at the open, are the same. Early start, all night work, coldness, bad weather, wet clothes, tiredness, and modest food is something that bond fishermen throughout the history.
BUT, that did not stopped us, as yes, we did; we were brave enough to experience one night at the sea. It was difficult, it was hard. Oh yes! Every five minutes we wanted to give up and swim back home just to feel warm bed. We stayed. We fished. And we were most glad we did.
Our reward was octopus under the bell (lid). It tasted so good. Yep, you do not want to miss an adventure like this! 🙂
One day, I will find right words, and they will be simple.
Dalmatia…Right word, simple word.
Simplicity is the essence of this region. Simple but most delicious food, slow life mood, beauty seen in everyday life, especially during summer time.
Summer … Mid-August … We finally have enough sun to steal a little gold… It is time for picking figs, we are preparing for the the new school year, doing our best to brighten holidays for our visitors…
We are enjoying singing crickets, cold watermelon, morning and afternoon coffee …
Grilled fish, tomatoes and cucumbers salad and glass of good wine or a cold beer. Can life be more beautiful?
Each day should be spent finding beauty in little things.
From ancient times, life in Dalmatia was sustained by fishing, olive oil and wine. Life on the Dalmatian islands and coast today has not changed much in that regard. Perhaps today, we appreciate this life even more by giving more love and time. The coast and the islands are carved with thousands of small bays and pebbled beaches.
We are giving our precious time and love entirely to summer and Dalmatia and we do enjoy in simple life this region is offering to us :).
“Coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of warm liquid. It’s a trumpet wake-up call or a gentle rousing hand on your shoulder … Coffee is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together.” ― Nichole Johnson
Morning coffee, lunch coffee, afternoon coffee, sometimes even evening coffee…There is no bad time for drinking coffee, there is only bad coffee and bad coffee friends. Locals have perfected the art of “taking a coffee”, as it is called, often making a single coffee last for hours. This is mostly because the experience is not really about drinking coffee, but more about socializing.
Tourists descending upon Croatia, especially the coast, are quite often surprised when they see how relaxed the atmosphere is and how eagerly the citizens of Split for example, hog chairs and tables on café terraces in the squares and streets of this city.
So all of you out there planning to blend with locals on your vacation and immerse yourself in Croatia’s habits and tradition, these are two basic goals you might want to aspire to:
– once in a coffee shop, sit back, relax and forget the notion of time ever existed
– make a single coffee last for hours (closely related to the first goal)
The earliest evidence of coffee drinking comes from 15th-century Yemen. By the late 15th century and early 16th century, coffee had spread to Cairo and Mecca.In the 1640s, the Ottoman chronicler İbrahim Pecevi reported the opening of the first coffeehouse in Constantinople.
In more recent times, the traditional drinking of Turkish coffee has been diminished by the growing availability of other hot beverages such as tea (grown locally and bought without hard currency), instant coffee, and other modern styles of coffee.
At a time when most European cities gets first cafe, the first coffee house is being opened in Croatia, as well. It was opened by a trader in Zagreb,Leopold Dun in the 1748th year. Guests at the Duna, except for coffee, could drink tea and chocolate. Coffee is purchased in the Netherlands, which was at that time the forefront of the coffee market. Old documents from 1756, mention Valentiusa Horu, yet one of the first Zagreb “caffeariusa.”
By the end of the 18th Century, a large number of lavishly decorated cafe is being opened. In the second half of the 19 century café culture is becoming very popular, which was good for opening a coffee house in other Croatian cities. It was place for social elite, where you could hear turbulent philosophical discussions on various topics, especially on culture and politics. Coffeehouses for good reason are called “Platonic Academy”. Leading European newspapers were available in these coffe shops, and guests had free usage of phone as well.
Called the ‘Satan’s drink’ in the Western world, it gained popularity, thanks to high prices commanded by tea, only after the 18th century.
Well, no matter the name, we can’t wait for our lunch brake and get a cup of coffee…
The Legend of Diocletian
The legend surrounding the rise of Diocletian is as follows: A Dalmatian soldier named Diocles had been told by a witch that he should become Emperor by the slaughter of a boar. He became a great hunter, but no wild boar that he killed seemed to bring him nearer to the purple, till, when the army was fighting on the Tigris, the Emperor Numerianus died, and an officer named Aper offered himself as his successor. Aper is the Latin for a boar, and Diocles, perceiving the scope of the prophecy, thrust his sword into his rival’s breast, and was hailed Emperor by the legions. He lengthened his name out to Diocletianus (later shortened to Diocletian), to sound more imperial.
Walk through the palace, is a must do…This is our daily routine as we are living in Split and also working in the city (we can’t wait for the coffee break). But if you have doubts about spending your summer in the city, and we are talking about Diocletian ‘cottage’ as he called his palace, I hope these pictures will make you think otherwise…
Walk through the palace, especially in the summer, is a challenge. So many people, so many hidden streets, coffee bars, restaurants…You just have to explore all the little narrow streets and alleyways and find all the hidden bits of the palace that so many people must have missed unless they were were on a guided tour. A camera, either a smartphone or a professional one is a must have, as you will not be able to take your finger from it…
These are photos from today’s coffee break. And please note, this morning we had serious rain over here… Now, we can’t wait to jump in the sea. Enjoy!
“The ancient Greek name for garlic was scorodon. According to Fulder and Blackwood, French physician Henri Leclerc derived this from skaion rodon which he translated as rose puante, or “stinking rose”.”
For over 5,000 years garlic has been used as food, medicine, an aphrodisiac and magic potions. Garlic warded off the evil eye, was hung over doors to protect medieval occupants from evil, gave strength and courage to Greek athletes and warriors, protected maidens and pregnant ladies from evil nymphs, and was rubbed on door frames to keep out blood thirsty Grey Duck Garlic, Lorez Italian garlic bulbs by barn door handlevampires. Garlic clove pendants hung around the neck protected you from the sharp horns of a bull, warded off local witches, kept away the black plague, and even prevented others from passing you (or your horse) in a race.
Garlic is only found in cultivation, but researchers consider Central Asia to be its place of origin which is also home to Allium longicuspis. Some believe this plant to be a wild ancestor while others believe it to be the same species. It was probably used in Central Asia since Neolithic times as a food flavouring and seasoning. Although many of the about 700 species of genus Allium are native to Central Asia, the diversity of the forms spread from the Himalayas to Turkestan. It is believed that the ancient Chinese were the first to cultivate it. Garlic spread across the world more than 5000 years ago; before recorded history.
We can not talk about garlic, and forget to mention vampires; croatian most famous vampire, also known as first european vampire….
Jure Grando, the Vampire from Kringa (Istria)
The first document on Grando, dating back to the 17th century, was written by his contemporary Janez Vajkard Valvasor, a Slovenian travel writer and historian. In his 15-tome work, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, which was published in 1689 in Germany, Valvasor tells the story heard when he visited Kringa.
According to the legend, for 16 years after his death and burial Grando terrorised his former fellow-villagers, notably his widow. At night he wandered the area knocking on the doors of houses, many of whose inhabitants later died, it said. The lustful demon paid regular visits to his widow, forcing her to continue fulfilling her marital duties.
Eventually, in 1672, a group of nine local men decided that they had to put an end to the menace. Upon opening his grave they saw Grando, his body intact, smiling at them.
After the first attempt to drive a hawthorn stake through his corpse failed because the wood rebounded, the bravest of the nine eventually managed to decapitate the body, bringing to an end Grando’s reign of terror, the legend said.
“Grando already has all the characteristics of future literary vampires — who appear some 150 years later — he is a cynic, challenges both civil and church authorities and is sexually active,” explains Boris Peric, a writer who investigated the issue.
“The story was later taken and quoted by various authors from theologians to historians,” he said, adding that German writer Herman Hesse published an account of Grando in an anthology early in the 20th century.
Peric says he believes Grando served as one of the models for his future literary counterparts, possibly even for Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is said to be inspired by cruel Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes the Impaler.
LJUBITOVICA – GARLIC ŠARAC
Ljubitovica, a village a few kilometers from Trogir where life seems to have stood still for centuries, a variety of garlic famed throughout the region is grown. Called Luk in Croatian and Cesnjak in Dalmatian, this Allium sativum is a preservable, full-flavored and fragrant variety that is often streaked with reddish veins. Grown by local families to augment their incomes, it is gathered into strings and sold mainly by women at markets in Split, Trogir and Sibenik, or to tourists traveling the coastal roads in summer. The women of Ljubitovica gather along the sides of these markets, displaying their strings of garlic, dried officinal herbs and, occasionally, some alcoholic distillates (such as travarica herb grappa) on wooden crates. They proudly gesture, repeating that the garlic was grown and prepared in Ljubitovica, where the product is better and keeps longer than the regular garlic sold on the market stalls. (source: Slow food)
Numerous studies conducted on garlic (Allium sativum L.), have proved the presence of antioxidants, phenolic compounds, sulfur compounds and several vitamins.Used liberally in many dishes, garlic adds flavour to everything from soups to homemade sausages. One passionate Croatian cook says it’s hard to imagine a single household in all Croatia without garlic.
Mussels recipe known as Dagnje na buzaru
This easy Croatian mussels recipe is popular along the Dalmatian coast where there is a wealth of seafood and a strong Italian influence. This is known as dagnje na buzaru, or školjke na buzaru. Compare this with Croatian Shrimp Buzara. “Buzara” in Croatian literally means “stew,” but buzara-style cooking simply means that some type of shellfish or crustacean is cooked with olive oil, wine, garlic, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings Croatian Mussels
4 pounds mussels (1 pound per person) 3/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 8 cloves chopped garlic (or to taste) 1 1/4 cups dry white wine Coarse sea salt Black pepper 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs Preparation:
Scrub and debeard the mussels. The “beard” is the hairy thing hanging from one side of the shell. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.
In hot pan, add mussels, olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Let this simmer until mussels just begin to open. Stir, lower heat and add 1 1/4 cups white wine, coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Be careful not to oversalt because mussels from the sea are naturally salty.
Let all the shells open, stirring occasionally. If, by the end of cooking, any shells do not open, discard them. Turn the heat back to high to finish the cooking quickly without toughening the mussel meat. Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs into the broth, but you want to leave some liquid present. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the broth.
We do hope that you love garlic as we do, especially roasted one, but please remember. Your breath will not be attractive, so only solution is to feed all around you with this beautiful food.
Once fruit for poor people, today, delicacy for selected ones. Figs.
I can’t remember better job when you are a kid, than figs picking. Climbing up that delicious tree, picking that sweet fruit, selecting green ones which are not dry yet, and enjoying the sweetness. And I still do. Just close to my motherhouse, stands wide fig tree with one of the best figs I have ever eaten. Owners lived very far away, so, they wanted to sell that tree to someone. When I was 18 years old, my first income was spent on that tree. My first possession was that tree.
How important is that fruit, Veljko Barbieri, Croatian gastronome describes it the best. The Greeks were the first to introduce into kitchen the figs leaves, wrapping up the vegetables, meat and fish so they can remain fresh and preserved for a longer time. This culinary tradition has been passed on in their Dalmatian island colony, so it is no surprise, that famous Vis Hibs or figs cake, old pastries with ancient origin, are wrapped in a fig leaf.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the fig tree appears in some images of the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves that are usually said to be from the fig tree, and Islamic tradition mentions two forbidden trees in Eden—a fig tree and an olive tree. In Greek and Roman mythology, figs are sometimes associated with Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), god of wine and drunkenness, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire.
The fig tree has a sacred meaning for Buddhists. According to Buddhist legend, the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, achieved enlightenment one day in 528 B. C. while sitting under a bo tree, a kind of fig tree. The bo or bodhi tree remains a symbol of enlightenment.
In legends, as fruit or in delicious recipes, we can say that fig is a queen indeed. Who knows, perhaps my next investment will be another fig tree.
Yesterday, my dear friend gave me 1 jar of mulberry jam. Instantly , flavors brought me back to my childhood. Me, climbing to the peak of mulberry tree trying to reach most delicious fruit existing. Of course, mother wasn’t so happy about it (black hands, face, clothes, :))…
The mulberry tree takes its name from its fruit, which looks like an elongated blackberry or raspberry. There are three species of mulberry, which vary in size and habitat. Their berry color may be deep purple, red, pink or white, depending on the species. Some newer fruitless cultivars have been produced to serve as ornamental trees.
Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are low in calories (just 43 calories per 100 g). They contain health promoting phyto-nutrient compounds like polyphenol pigment antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
The Roman mythological tale of Pyramus and Thisbe provides a story of the mulberry fruit’s color. According to the tale, after the two lovers die tragically, the gods listen to Thisbe’s lament and forever change the color of the mulberry fruits into their red stained color to honor the forbidden love.
Mulberry tree was inspiration also for one of the greatest paintor ever walked the Earth. Van Gogh painted The Mulberry Tree in October of 1889 less than a year before he would die. Like most of his art, it was done during a period of highs and lows painted during a time of great self-awareness and yet surrounded by chaos.
The mulberry likes to send its roots down deep, you would know it is hard to dig up a mulberry tree that has been growing for a long time. Black mulberries have been known to bear fruit for hundreds of years. An old mulberry tree can live longer than people and keep making fruits for hundreds of years.
I have no choice, but, while waiting for the summer and first mulberries, to look for best recipes and prepare myself for picking those once again :). One example is recipe below…