Follow The Steps Of Anthony Bourdain In Croatia
November 27, 2012 - Croatia
It took Anthony Bourdain, the famous chef and world traveler, quite a while to discover Croatia and its bounties, he admitted. But then it blew his mind and palate! When you see it all in the Croatian episode of his TV show "No Reservations", you might wish to follow his footstep around Croatia...
Since the country and its cuisine are so plentiful and diverse, for his first trip Bourdain chose the northern part of the Adriatic: Istria and northern Dalmatia.
Reaction to the episode, has been ecstatic and overwhelmingly positive. Love him or hate him - Bourdain can be a divisive, acerbic personality with a raw, uncensored sense of humor - the "Coastal Croatia" episode is an extremely entertaining, informative, and well-produced piece of travel journalism.
Certainly Anthony Bourdain's own reactions to his experiences in Croatia fueled much of the elation mirrored by his viewers as we watched him suck on briny oysters and garlicky mussels; hunt for Istrian truffles with "Shotzy the Wonder Dog"; skewer sashimi tuna; gorge himself on shark liver pate, fish tripe and lobster; drizzle "amazing spicy Croatian olive oil"; carve succulent slivers of Paški cheese; savor slow-simmered Skradin risotto; and swirl and swallow several liters of local wine. Often Bourdain could not contain his amazement and surprise, exclaiming over and over again, „Holy s*** that's good".
Bourdain is now famous for his often hilarious, sometimes offensive yet always entertaining one-liners.
Bourdain's "Coastal Croatia" travels began in Istria, where he visits Rovinj and Motovun.
Motovun is one of the most beautiful, preserved and popular old Istrian medieval towns, with a spectacular view of Mirna River Valley. Motovun Forest is the best place for hunting the famous Istrian truffle and the nearby village of Livade is considered the truffle capital of Istria. You probably won't have your own truffle hunting guide as Anthony Bourdain did, but at least you can enjoy this precious underground jewel in local restaurants, taverns and family farms.
The journey then continued to Dalmatia, where Bourdain visits Boškinac restaurant and winery on Pag island in central Dalmatia. The island of Pag boasts such goodies as the celebrated Pag cheese and lamb, and Boškinac restaurant and winery is something like a shrine of local gastronomy. Run by a brilliant chef and great enthusiast Boris Šuljić, Boškinac combines high-end cooking standards and the best of local ingredients and tradition. They also produce great and unique wines from forgotten local varieties like Gegić.
There Anthony is treated to Boris Šuljić's delectable cooking - a multicourse extravaganza that is one of the finest culinary experiences in Croatia. All dishes were paired with Boškinac's "awesome" wines, which are produced from Šuljić's vineyards in the fields across from the restaurant. The Boškinac red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is widely considered to be one of the best Bordeaux-style wines in Dalmatia.
From Pag, Bourdain traveled to BIBICh winery in Skradin, where, simply put, he seemed to have the time of his life, asking, "Why, oh why, is there so much amazing wine in this country?"
Alen Bibić is a real visionary. He built a successful private winery in secluded Dalmatian hinterland, used underrated local varieties to make high-quality labels and he was one of the first exporters of Croatian wine to the USA. Yet he remained a friendly, down-to-earth and fun-loving guy. Tastings in his cellar can be spectacular when the wines are paired with imaginative dishes prepared by Alen's wife. Check out why Eva Longoria fell in love with Bibić's dessert wine Ambra.
Many of the dishes are local specialties with recipes that vary by region and village-to-village.
Ante Pižić, the gentleman who prepared the Skradin risotto at BIBICh winery, will not reveal the recipe, saying only that it is a family secret dating back over 200 years. He did however tell that tradition dictates that only male members of the family can prepare it, and the whole process takes four days, 12 hours of which are spent over a fire, cooking and stirring. The Slow Food movement is a traditional way of life in Croatia.
Many more people will soon be discovering Croatian wines and enjoying what we have always known: the wines are great, the winemakers all have great stories, and Croatia is an amazingly beautiful country with a rich food and wine heritage.
In the words of Anthony Bourdain,"this is world class food; this is world class wine; this is world class cheese.... If you haven't been here yet, you are a f****** idiot".
And even if you are not an "idiot" or have already been to Croatia, then perhaps you watched Bourdain as he relished in the marvels and beauties of Croatia and knew one thing for sure: that you must go back as soon as possible!
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