In my efforts to find and promote the best we have to offer, occasionally I meet wonderful people but impossible to fit them into our culinary or food tours of Croatia. One of them is Trifun.
Originally from Benkovac, being Serbian, he left in 1995 when Croatia won back the occupied areas of Dalmatia. People fled no matter if they were guilty or not. Trifun left for Montenegro but he kept the customs of Benkovac in his heart.
The scents and tastes of Bukovica region are very strong. The rocky plains and strong winds don’t provide much fertile soil or opportunities for growing various food.
Most of the people still, traditionally, have goats and sheep and grow cabbage, chard and similar vegetables.
We were invited to his mother’s place near Benkovac – village of Buković – and greeted at the door with traditional honey and water. Very rare tradition these days!
Their house is a traditional one. With stone covered roof and an old konoba in the cellar. The house is located on the old Turkish road to Benkovac dating back to the 15th or 16th century.
Trifun makes one of the best cheese in the region I have tasted! It is a cheese made of goat milk but mixed with local herbs. In combination with olive oil… it is simply delicious!
Not only that Trifun makes excellent cheese, but his grapas or rakijas are fantastic as well! He offered us his wine which I was not so crazy about…The white debit did not impress me (felt too much like a wood…) but the red were quite good. Unfortunately, not good enough for our wine tours.
Unfortunately, Trifun does not live here and he visits only in the summer. His mother is one of the few people left in the village, taking care of goats and olives. I planned to include the visit to this lovely place as a part of the North Dalmatia cooking tour, but without Trifun it is impossible. Another tradition gone…but at least I still go to Benkovac to buy this superb cheese when he is around.
i would love to try the cheese.
i have never heard of the tradition of greeting people with honey and water. do you know anything else about it? thanks.
This is the tradition of local Serbs in North Dalmatia. They also greet people with bread and salt. Unlike us, they have kept some loong gone customs and traditions. Part of the reason is that they have lived in the remote areas for centuries (most of them are not ethnic Serbs but the remains of the original population dating back to the Illyrians). Due to Turkish wars, the population changed incredibly and the area’s original inhabitants were dispersed in the 16th and 17th century with people from the hills and mountains of Bosnia moving in…
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