Dishes and wines of the south
" we promised to return because this first 2021 trip organised by the Bailliage simply had to be repeated "
After much anticipation and uncertainty due to the pandemic which forced us to postpone several gatherings and trips, we finally set out for the south of Croatia, still respecting epidemiological measures in force. Our itinerary: Komarna; the beautiful town of Dubrovnik; Šipan Island located within the Elaphiti Islands all of which make this part of the Croatian coast simply irresistible.
Our first destination was “Rizman Winery” in Komarna, owned by the Štimac family. Hosted by Professionnel du Vin Damir Štimac who welcomed us with glasses of excellent brandy. Home-made prosciutto, cheese, anchovies and fresh oysters followed served with 2019 Pošip Rizman (fresh, alive, minerally from the limestone soil) and Pošip Nonno (mature, concentrated, creamy and delicious, nurtured in wooden barrels). We shared our impressions. Both wines had their fans.
Frog and eel brodetto from the Buđoni Tavern, a traditional dish prepared in the Neretva Valley, was next. Partnered with mighty wines, namely Tribidrag 2019 and Primus Plavac Mali 2016 which perfectly accentuated the delicious bites.
Lastly, freshly cooled watermelon slices were served with Rusula Rosé.
On to Dubrovnik, we dined at the “Proto Fish Restaurant” which, under the leadership of Chef Boško Lonac, prepares only dishes using fish from the Adriatic. Our host was Maître Restaurateur Kosta Vukota. Fresh oysters and Champagne to start; an excellent cod risotto partnered by 2020 Nerica Pošip; scallops on parsnip and beluga lentil cream; fish baked in the oven, served with vegetables and accompanied by the excellent Karman Malvasia 2019. The perfect dinner ended with an even greater perfection: Dubrovnik cream cake.
After a restful night, in the morning we walked around the old city of Dubrovnik before catching the boat to Šipan Island. Dinner was at Kod Marka owned by our hosts Chef Marko Prižmić and his son, Maître Restaurateur Džino Prižmić. Skate and sardine marinade with vegetables grown on Šipan set the scene followed by delicious melt-in-the-mouth octopus cakes.
Chef Marko proved his mastery in the kitchen with his “harbour risotto” which owes its distinctive taste to shrimp, cuttlefish, mussels and other sea beauties. No wonder it disappeared quickly from our plates only to be replaced with another dish of a simple name - shrimp “Marko style”, delicate with a truly special flavour. Lobster pasta a delight for both palate and eye. Pictures were taken from all possible angles before tasting the dish.
Kod Marka is known for a special dish called fish “popara”. Chef Marko proved with his culinary skills that a modest meal prepared by poor families in this region since ancient times can be a true delicacy and a special experience. “Popara” is made by pouring hot water and fat over old bread and flour. Chef Marko enriches it with red mullet, red fish, white hake and grouper in a beautiful, tasty sauce. This “popara” dish gives the pleasure of new flavours. And enjoying a meal we never would have thought could be so delicious.
The dessert also “kept” us on the island because Marko Prižmić prepares meals exclusively from foods that either swim around or grow on Šipan. The carob cake was special, delicious, juicy.
Time came for those returning to Dubrovnik to say farewell to those staying on Šipan overnight.
Finally, for every place we visited and every restaurant we promised to return because this first 2021 trip organised by the Bailliage simply had to be repeated.
Photos courtesy of Conseiller Gastronomique Radovan Marčić and Tea Mardešić