Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Croatia: Always More To Learn

I've essentially wrapped up my coverage of my September trip to Croatia, and you can find all of my articles at All About Croatia. I'll certainly write more about Croatia, and have a few ideas percolating in the back of my mind, but my current 20+ articles should give you an excellent overview of this fascinating country, especially its food and wine. It's a country you should learn more about, and you should sample its wines if you get the opportunity. And if you're considering traveling to Croatia, I'd give it a hearty recommendation.

I only spent ten days in Croatia, so I captured more of a surface understanding of the country, which I enhanced with additional reading and research. I engaged in a deeper dive into the Komarna appellation, giving me a better insight into this new region and wine production. I explored some of Croatian's best known food dishes, visiting several excellent restaurants, checked out some of the country's historical sites, toured some museums, and visited a number of different towns and cities. Despite all I did while I was in Croatia, there is certainly plenty more for me to learn about and experience, and hopefully I will return to Croatia one day.

Here is some of what I'd love to learn about, to expand my understanding of this compelling country:

1) Cuisine: 
I'd like to experience more examples of some of the dishes I've already tried, to experience their diversity, from the Peka to Brudet, Buzara Mussels to Crni Rižot. These are iconic dishes, yet they can be made differently, dependent upon the ingredients which are used. I want to taste the range of Croatian cheeses, to ascertain their differences, to experience the types available from various parts of the country. I also would like to know more about Croatian olive oil, which is said to be some of the best in the world. And it would be interesting to experience more of the different cuisines available in regions of Croatia I didn't visit, like Istria. Plus, I'd love to enjoy more Ston Oysters!

2) Wine:
There is so much Croatian wine that I'd still love to experience or investigate more fully. During my trip, I tasted a single wine from some wineries, yet I'd like to taste more selections from those wineries, to better ascertain the quality of those wineries. There are other wineries I've read about, which have intrigued me, but which I haven't sampled their wines yet. I'd like to taste wines made from other indigenous grapes that I haven't yet experienced. I'd also like to taste deeper into wines made some other grapes, from Rukatac to Plavac Mali. In addition, I'd also like to try more Sparkling Wines and more Skin-Contact wines.

3) Prošek:
I haven't yet tasted Prošek and I'd like to remedy that. Prošek is a traditional sweet dessert wine from the southern area of Dalmatia, Croatia. It is made using dried wine grapes in a manner similar to passito. It has a lengthy history but was mired in controversy when the EU decided the name was too similar to Italian Prosecco and prohibited the use of the term "Prošek." It seems like a silly decision as the two wines are quite different, and Prošek can point to a 2000 year old history.

4) Bikla:
I'm very curious about this oddity, though I suspect it might be something I'd only like to experience once. Bikla is a traditional mixture of red wine and goat milk, mostly common to the Vrgorac region of inland Dalmatia. It's usually made after the harvest, is even given to small children, and there's an annual Bikla festival. It doesn't sound appealing but there must be some reason for its popularity. And I'm game to try it.

5) Rakija:
Though I tasted several Rakija, brandy spirits, during my time in Croatia, I'd like to learn more about them, and taste more of the range of flavors available. It almost seems like Croatians make Rakija from every type of fruit available. They also add numerous other ingredients, herbs, spices, money and more. There is so much diversity, plus many people still make Rakija at home. I had enough during my trip to whet my curiosity, and now I'd like to better sate that curiosity.

6) Other Regions:
There are plenty of regions and islands in Croatia that I didn't visit, but which I'd love to see. For example, I'd like to explore Istria, a region that has some Italian influence and which is known for its truffles and olive oil. Plus, Istria is known for vampires!  There are plenty of wineries there too. In addition, I like to travel to some of the Croatian islands in the Adriatic, such as Vis, Brac Island, and Hvar, which commonly have wineries, and sometimes indigenous grapes that only grow on those islands. Plus, these islands often have lengthy histories, extending back at least to the ancient Greeks.

7) Culture:
With Croatia's long and rich history, there are more historical sites and museums that I'd like to visit. For example, I'd love to see the Pula Arena, one of the best preserved Roman amphitheater's in the world. There are a number of medieval castles which can be explored, and museums showcasing the intriguing history of Croatia. I'd even like to check out the newly opened Museum of Chocolate in Zagreb!

And Croatia is also simply beautiful. Who wouldn't want to return?

No comments: