Secret Dalmatia Blog - Travel Experiences in Croatia

Christmas traditions in Dalmatia

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Christmas is a special time of year in all the Christian world and Dalmatia, as traditionally Catholic, is no exception. But, I am not so much into religious traditions as I am into good food and wine.
This morning we went to Zadar fish market to stack our selves for today and the Christmas Eve.

Cuttle fish

First, as always, we see our regular suppliers :))) This is where we buy squid and cuttle fish. Cuttle fish is 60 Kn or about 8,5 Euros. This lady always has the best cuttle fish! Of course, the key to getting the best stuff is to get to the fish market as early as possible… But this is simply one of the places everyone must visit when in Zadar!
Although the tradition is that cod is eaten on the Christmas Eve: http://dalmatiancooking.com/2007/12/26/bakalar-cod-stew/ any kind of fish is acceptable.

Fish, rays, crabs...

So, cuttle fish is for Christmas Eve and for today we bought brbavice or prnjavice as we locally call them. The latin name is Venus verrucosa or Venus clam as they are called in English.
Now this is a delicacy (as all the sea shells found in the Adriatic for that matter)!
A bit more on the pricey side costing 80 Kn for a kilo (11 Euros) but well worth the money!

Venus clam in tomato sauce

Wife decided to try a simple (but tasty!) recipe from Hvar Island. Venus clam in tomato sauce is probably as ancient as the Greek settlements on the island. Just kidding, tomato – brought from the Americas – was rarely used in Dalmatia before the 19th century and farmers near Zadar accepted it only in the 1950s!

So, for two people:
1 kg of Venus clams, 1,7 oz of olive oil, garlic, 3,5 oz of white wine, parsley, 7 oz of tomato sauce, 3,5 oz of water but you can even use sea water to make it stronger in taste!

Pour the oil and add clams till everything heats up. Add wine and cook till everything boils. Then add garlic and cook for 15-20 minutes till the clams open. Finally,add parsley and that s it!

A glass of Bibich Debit was perfect with this!

The lunch!

Then some sweets: traditional homemade vanilla cookies…

Vanilin roščići

…and then for a walk to burn all those calories and to catch the breath of fresh air after a week of TERRIBLE weather!

The beach

The day ended with a spectacular sunset!

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