Secret Dalmatia cooks for homeless

We are lucky to have met dozens of great people in our line of work. Many amazing people are working with us with one goal: to provide great experiences for travelers. One of them is Lana Iljadica who is not only our dear friend and one of the best guides ever but also a person with love for everyone. She runs a project called O La La 366 – the goal is that volunteers team up any day they can and cook one meal for the people in need. You can find out more on their FB page (in Croatian): https://www.facebook.com/groups/123892347724030/?fref=ts

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So, as Mariana who is part of Secret Dalmatia does this whenever she can, we got the April 17th as “our” date. It is always easier when you have a professional managing everything and actually knowing what to do when cooking for 30 people so it was time for another great person we are blessed to know. Tatjana happily accepted our invitation and we were all meeting in front of a supermarket in Trogir on the 17th.

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At Tatjana’s

The shopping was quick as there were 5 of us and with a great list so next stop Tatjana’s Trogir home. Many will recognize it being featured in Adrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods Croatia but this is also a place where we have our, now famous, cooking class and special “behind the closed doors” experiences.

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And cutting and chopping and peeling…

Tatjana assigned the tasks and Mariana, Dubravka and Marija were quickly at their stations with aprons on.

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I have chosen an important task of documenting everything and cutting the bacon :)))

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It was an afternoon of hard work but also a lot of fun and VERY delicious food!

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Soon, the aromas and scent of some great dishes filled the air and nearby streets outside Tatjana’s 12th century courtyard. It was the time for tasting and packing.

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Banana bread muffins (with chocolate)

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The food for all 33 of the guests was ready by 6 PM and packed. There were three courses + salad prepared. All in unmistakable Tatjana’s creative way! A fiesta of tastes and colors. Anyone who has eaten there at least once will know what I mean 😉

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Starting packing

The dinner was served at 7:30 at the homeless shelter in Split. We did not go with Mariana, Dubravka and Tatiana as we had to go back home but seeing those happy faces was a very rewarding experience according to the girls! Happy to do the same at least one more time this year!

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The cooking team!

If there is anybody else who would like to help and “donate” a dinner, feel free to contact O La La 366 at their Facebook page!

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The heritage of Škopljanci

Škopljanci is a tiny hamlet, part of  Radošić village in the Dalmatian hinterland known as Zagora. Just about an hour north of Split, I usually take a scenic drive over Malačka panorama point that makes this drive extra special. Getting to Škopljanci is easy. The hamlet is well marked with signs for traditional Bikijada: a festival of village Olympics combined with bull fighting. To get a better picture of what is happening there on that day (last weekend of May, usually) this is from their web site:

Olympics in numbers

If we 22. edition of Olympics and Bullfights expressed in numbers, could say like this: almost 10.000 visitors, over two hundred contestants, almost two hundred lambs roasted on the spit, few roasted pigs…

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Bull horns in the tavern

So, when we were invited for a tour and talks about possible cooperation, I was really looking forward to learn more. Also, Škopljanci usually wins every list for a great and authentic experience.

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Stone houses preserved

Family Škopljanac has been protecting and renovating their family’s heritage for years now. The 12 old stone houses have been renovated with special care and they are now housing tasting room, smokehouse, large dining room, ethnographic museum, museum of bull…

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Škopljanac family preparing a light tasting of their super, home made goodies

So we took a walk around the estate. Visiting the entire property takes time as it is fairly big and there is plenty to see.

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Zog za buće or Zog for buće in English (bocce ball court)
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Part of the collection at their museum
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Traditional costumes of the region
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Some sort of a ZOO…

There are some treasures to be found!

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A classic!

The place still needs work in making everything more “polished” but, in general, their offer is of high quality as they offer a very good experience and great food.
A bit too oriented to larger groups coming by coach, I still find this place to offer a pretty authentic experience and be sure to visit at the time of the (in)famous bull fights.

More information (and lovely photos) on their website:
http://www.radosic.com/o-nama/?lang=en

Restaurants in Split – eating out in Split

So this was an exciting summer for all of us who like eating out from time to time. There are many newly opened restaurants in Split following the booming of tourism and increase of number of travelers who choose Split as their destination.
Most of the restaurants are trying to have something other than boring, classic offer like grilled meat and fish and one major new trend is “Dalmatian tapas”. The finest example of small bites with good wines is Pikuleca by Dino Galvagno. We simply love that place although the portions are small and not exactly inexpensive but this is my favorite choice for late night, light food. The tastes are simply superb and unlike anything you can eat on the coast but still respecting the tradition and local ingredients. I would only prefer that it is more Dalmatian and without Istrian wines.

Octopus - at Pikuleca
Octopus – at Pikuleca

 

So, this summer we had opportunity to eat at:
newly opened F de Mar on the western promenade which was ok as the service was sloooow,
Bokeria – God knows what that was. The interior, however, is stunning.
Brasserie on 7 – EXCELLENT burgers (served only till 7 PM grrrrrr)
Uje Bar – quite ok. Will eat again.
Villa Spiza – great as usual
Chops Steak & Grill – Superb steak selection and great service!
Korta – always great!
…and few others.

We particularly enjoyed newly opened Paradigma as the  best (the only?) choice for fine dining in Split with superb dishes and great wine selection. This is their version of octopus!

Octopus - at Paradigma

Turbot - at Paradigma
Turbot – at Paradigma

One of our favorite lunches was served at Restaurant Dvor, Firule neighborhood of Split. Located in a finely restored classic Split  house by the sea, Dvor offers one of the most romantic settings in all of Split. 
The food is always good but the staff seems to be a bot more relaxed than they should. It does not bother me but would prefer more professional attitude. We always enjoy their ginger and carrot soup! 

Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant
Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant

And I also like how they serve classic soparnik for couvert.

Soparnik with olives and olive oil
Soparnik with olives and olive oil

The best seafood we ate at Matejuška tavern. Just a tiny place for locals has been made quite popular due to top position on Trip Advisor. Not sure if they will be able to maintain the quality, but everything we had (tuna and flaunder) was simply superb! This place is also quite inexpensive as the 5 of us ate for 100 Euros (three courses with house wine).

Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska
Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska

There are definitely many great additions to Split restaurant scene and I am glad the town is slowly becoming an interesting place to eat out. Split  – and its guests – deserve it!

Travel in Croatia