One of the largest non-profit wine associations in the world has chosen the Croatian region of Istria as its wine region for 2017.
Munskänkarna, a Swedish and Finnish wine tasting organization, established in Stockholm in 1958, has over 25,000 members and 170 sections all over Sweden and other world countries.
In previous years, the organization proclaimed world regions like Lower Austria, Montsant and Priorat in Spain, as well as Napa and Sonoma in the US, as its wine regions, but this year, due to climate peculiarities, beautiful landscape and exceptional wines produced by Istrian winemakers, Istria was a logical choice for Munskänkarna members, said Vinistra.
On proclaiming Istria as the wine region of the year, representatives of the Munskänkarna association are touring Istria to visit winemakers in Istria as well as tourist facilities in order to start a concrete cooperation with Istrian winemakers in 2017.
At a ceremony in Porec a few days ago, numerous Istrian winemakers presented their wines such as Agrolaguna, Benvenuti, Coslovich, Monte Rosso, Kabola etc. Lena Sthal, the chairperson of the board of the Swedish association, the president of the Vinistra association Nikola Benvenuti, and the Swedish Ambassador to Croatia Lars Schmidt also attended the ceremony.
On this occasion, the Swedish ambassador emphasized that this cooperation only indicated great economic potential between the two countries in a variety of industries and that finally the Swedes would have the opportunity to enjoy excellent Istrian wines at their homes.
''We are convinced that this is a new start of opening Istria to markets of northern Europe. It is important to say that the opinion of the association Munskänkarna has a great influence on wine imports and creates a wine scene in Sweden and neighbouring countries. Furthermore, our success is the result of our efforts, hard work and commitment, as well as of our investment in education of winemakers, all in order to raise the quality of wine production'', concluded Benvenuti.
On the 1st of April the five surveillance cameras that scan the entrances into the historic Old City centre of Dubrovnik were activated. Apart from video surveillance these cameras will also be used to count the number of visitors who enter the city. This is all part of the project introduced by the Dubrovnik City Council “Forget the crowds, respect the rules and information,” and a million Kuna was invested into this project.
With the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site a magnet for tourists and cruise ship passengers in the summer months the walled city is often extremely crowded. The Stradun, the main street that runs through the centre of the city, is often so packed with visitors that it is impossible to move. Without doubt one of the main reasons for these crowds is the number of cruise ships that arrive throughout the summer. There are days that five or more cruise ships dock in Dubrovnik meaning that upwards of 15,000 passengers a day.
The new project would limit the number of visitors to the Old City of Dubrovnik to 8,000, when this number is reached the city would then be closed to visitors. These new surveillance cameras were installed in order to count the number of guests.
Data from the first day of the video surveillance showed that from 7.00am to 10.00am 2.074 visitors entered the city. On the 1st of April there was a cruise ship docked in the Port of Dubrovnik, Viking Sea, which was carrying several thousand passengers. However as the tourist season hasn’t even really started the fact that over 2,000 visitors entered in just a three-hour period could be raising alarm bells with the authorities.
A new musical event is being launched this spring – Dubrovnik Musical Spring. From the 18th to the 28th of April classical concerts with fill the city with music. This new festival is being organised by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and will bring a blend of youth and experience.
During the ten days the 90-year-old orchestra will have a range of honorary conductors. The concerts will take place in the Revelin Fortress and the Franciscan church. Some excellent soloists will perform including Aljoša Jurinić, a finalist of the Chopin Piano competition, violist Hiwote Tadesse, winner of the Grand Prix prize at the International competition of young musicians in Moscow, Đana Kahriman, concertmaster of the DSO and the winner of five first prizes in national competitions; Matija Novakovic, principal DSO bassoon whose interpretation is adorned with an exemplary technique and stylistic culture.
Visit the website of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra for more information - http://web.dso.hr/en/
Spring has combined with summer this year to bring unusually high temperatures to the Dubrovnik region. The weekend saw highs hit 26 degrees and blue skies were the order of the day.
Tourists took advantage of the warmer temperatures by diving into the Adriatic Sea, even though sea temperatures are around 16 degrees. The iconic Banje Beach is still relatively empty and even the sun beds haven’t been taken out of their winter storage, the warm April weather seems to have taken many other businesses in Dubrovnik by surprise.
Check out our Sunday gallery by Tonci Plazibat
From the 7th to the 9th of April Dubrovnik will be celebrating a delicacy found in the countryside around the city – asparagus. Early spring is the time that this nutritious and healthy plant comes to harvest and for three days a select number of restaurants in the city will celebrate asparagus.
Dubrovnik restaurants will offer specialties such as shrimp and asparagus risotto, octopus salad with asparagus, Adriatic shrimp on a bed of rice and asparagus, sole with asparagus sauce, stuffed sweet potatoes with asparagus and eggs, cannelloni with asparagus, oysters in tempura on a bed of asparagus, and other specialties.
The restaurants participating in this year’s Asparagus Days are: Domino, Eden, Gusta me, Klarisa, Kopun, Lajk, Mimoza, Orka, Orsan, Porat, and Rozario. Celebrate spring and this healthy choice for three days.
You can trust me on this one: I’ve been there. I’ve been there many times, varied roles (bride, bridesmaid, guest, musician, observer). The major advice I can give when it comes to Dalmatian weddings is this: don’t attend one!
That is, don’t attend one if you are a well-behaved specimen of the western virtues, you have a reputation to lose and you don’t have a spare week that you can do nothing but eat and party, because there is a high risk you will have the time of your life and that you will laugh at whatever you called manners and reputation before.
1. Weddings are an institution in Dalmatia. Wait – no. They, in fact, are the central event of an individual’s life: as soon as you are born, your parents get worried and obsessed about your future wedding. Then there is your wedding. And then your children are born and you start worrying and obsessing about their wedding.
2. The volume of attention, time and money invested into the event is scandalous. If you wonder, how can a family of average or under-average earnings afford an opulent wedding for 300 guests in the finest hotel in Dubrovnik, here is the answer: the wedding gifts. – If you are a guest, don’t come with a box of expensive pots and pans. Come with an envelope that includes a tasteful card and 200 EUR (the maid of honour and the best man usually give multiples of this sum). Your gift will not be forgotten.
3. Actually, talking gifts: the wedding gifts are so important, that there is usually a special separate party a few days before the wedding, intended for the wedding guests to drop by at the bride’s and the groom’s parents’ house and hand over the envelope. A special trustworthy person will sit behind a little table like an accountant and scribble your name and the value of your gift into a large notebook.
4. The notebook is worth gold in many families. It keeps track of every single gift the family ever gave or received on occasions like weddings, baptisms, birthdays, etc. In case somebody gave the parents a gift years ago on the occasion of their son’s birth, the same value is expected to get returned in the other direction. It’s the parallel shadow economy, that secures that even the poorest families never reach the bottom. (Long ago, I read an article in the Economist about poverty in the Balkans – the author was puzzled how people in war ragged areas can live on nothing for years. Well, the tradition of giving reciprocity is part of the answer.
5. Here it comes – the wedding day: you join in either at the groom’s or the bride’s parents’ house, depending on which side of the future family invited you. This would be around noon. Avoid shock upon arrival to the rather modest village house you used to visit: it will have changed into a gourmet catering show for the coming few hours. Expect best food. Best wines. Countless delicious home-made cakes. And about a hundred people who will wear the absolute best of what they can afford.
6. Yes: the dress. You, too, should wear your best. Hint: “the best” in Dalmatia is some two or three financial and style categories higher than “the best” in London. Some local ladies actually do spend their monthly salaries on outfits when invited to weddings. As regards the bride’s wedding dress and look, it is likely that you won’t recognize the girl when she comes out of her parents’ house. Some of the dresses would make Kate Middleton just stare in awe and disbelief.
7. The music: in case you actually want to talk to someone at the wedding, use the total of ten or fifteen minutes you have throughout the day. The rest of the time, everybody, but EVERYBODY will sing (and dance, at the later hour). Music is a crucial element at a Dalmatian wedding and the best musicians get sometimes booked a year in advance. The basic ensemble that will accompany the wedding until dinner consists of accordion, guitar and double-bass. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, hum along and have a drink. You’ll get into it eventually. At dinner, there will usually be a pop band (don’t count on them playing international hits, though; domestic pop is a requirement at weddings). Oh, and don’t expect anyone to have a speech. Why talk? Love is in the air, everything else is in that wonderful red wine.
8. There will be at least fifty cars that will need to drive, park, depart and arrive in a long glorious uninterrupted chain in various locations. – First, the guests from the groom’s parents’ house need to get to the bride’s house. In the bride’s house, the party continues, while all of a sudden there is commotion and chaos – quick, everyone! – the entire flock of guests must hurry to their cars, parked in zig-zag pattern all around the house, form a convoy and drive to the church for the actual wedding ceremony. And from the church, you still need to drive to the hotel, for the dinner party. It is a lot of driving of a lot of cars with a lot of drivers who can’t be sober – and the roads around Dubrovnik are dangerously curvy. Close your eyes, if you are one of the terrified passengers and don’t expect the random policeman to stop anyone: he would probably lose his job.
9. If nothing else got you on your knees, the dinner will. It is endless heaps of delicious food. Five or six courses. Often, there would be home-made wine. And in between the courses, there is dancing. Go dance even if you can’t dance at all! Anyway, it is unlikely that the crowd will let you sit or stand in the corner like poor Baby Housman. This is the one great thing about being a foreigner at local weddings: people don’t regard you as a foreigner. They want to make sure you enjoy the wedding just like them. So expect that somebody will just grab your hand.
10. In case you are kum or kuma, i.e. the maid of honour or the best-man: be prepared to travel to Croatia for future birthdays, baptisms and wedding anniversaries. Because you are now part of the family – no joke. (Logistically speaking, it might be easier for you to marry a local and stay.)
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com
Croatian start-up Juvo Home Friends attracted public attention last year when they came up with an idea of using modern technologies to help modern parents in everyday challenges.
The Juvo Home Friend, a team of young innovators, designed a toy to make things easier for parents in the period when their small children make their first steps and begin to explore things around them.
Matija Srbic, the initiator of the idea, and his colleagues Igor Armus, Stanko Krtalic Rusendic, Sara Bajlo, Viktor Viljevac, Ivor Turcin and Ivan Kunjasic came up with this innovative solution after watching an American advertisement in which a boy says that he will never learn to ride a bike, fly or get married because he lost his life in an accident in his home. After that, Matija Srbic did some research that led him to the fact that several million children were injured in their homes only in the United States.
The Juvo toy, which got its name after a Latin word ''juvo'' which means ''to protect, to guard, to help'', is a platform of smart sensors placed on key areas in a house ( kitchen, bathroom, balcony, stairs, and front door). In a case of an unplanned movement of a child, the system sends a signal via a mobile application to parents' bracelet to notify them about child's movement so they can go and check up on the child. At the same time, the Juvo plush toy with a speaker activates in order to distract the child by singing or by a previously recorded voice of the parents in order to give them time to get to their child.
At first, the Juvo toy will be manufactured in Croatia, however, the team does not hide their ambition to target the US market and American citizens due to their spacious houses and higher purchasing power. The product will also be available on the internet, whilst the application will be available for Android and iOS devices.
It is interesting to note that Microsoft chose the Croatian start-up as one of the teams with a promising idea for improving everyday life in the Microsoft ''Imagine Cup'' finals in Seattle last year.
In the future, these innovative sensors could be used for monitoring the elderly or those suffering from Alzheimer's.
Game of Thrones has released a new teaser video for the upcoming seventh season of the globally popular series.
The new teaser gives a little more insight into the penultimate season of Game of Thrones. The season was partly filmed in Dubrovnik, which acts as King’s Landing, with three of the main characters filming in the city for a few days.
Season seven will be released on the 16th of July this year.
Jamie Lannister in Dubrovnik filming for season seven
Considering the fact that the new tourist season is just around the corner, it is high time to think about the perfect destination for your summer holidays.
For those who have pets, especially dogs, we are sure that it would never occur to you to leave them behind to wander around the city while you enjoy your holidays somewhere on the beach.
However, it is not always an easy task to find a beach where dogs and other furry family members are welcome to enjoy refreshment in the sea.
To make things easier for you, here is the list of the TOP 10 beautiful in Croatia beaches that are dog friendly:
The Seagull beach (Plaza Galeb) at Duce near Omis in the Split-Dalmatia County
The Cypress beach (Plaza cempresa) at Bol on the island of Bol
The Kazela beach (Plaza Kazela) at Medulin, Istria
The Duboka Draga beach (Plaza Duboka Draga) at Lozice on the island of Vir in the Zadar County
The Kijac beach (Plaza Kijac) at Njivice on the island of Krk
The Simuni beach (Plaza Simuni) at Simuni on the island of Pag
The Mel beach (Plaza Mel) at Kampor on the island of Rab
The Stobrec beach (Plaza Stobrec) at Stobrec near Split
The Podvorska beach (Plaza Podvorska) in Crikvenica
The Lucina beach (Plaza Lucina) at Pasman on the island of Pasman.
Unique just seems like too small a word. The Dubrovnik – Neretva County is full of surprises, from ancient walled cities to soaring mountains and crystal clear seas. But one region is – well unique.
View from Villa Neretva
The Neretva River basin stretches for as far as the eye can see a huge open plain that was formed in the ice age. With the Neretva River as its central point marches and swamp land fold out on either side. This is a fertile land. Every inch of the river basin has been cultivated with irrigation channels running off at 90 degree angles. From the sky it looks like a New York City plan. Citrus fruits, oranges and lemons, watermelons and every vegetable you can imagine, and some you’ve never heard of, have found a place to call home.
“Whilst the rest of the Adriatic coast line is dotted with mountains and beaches the Neretva region is something quite different,” explained the director of the Metkovic Tourist Board. There are two major settlements in the Neretva region – Metkovic and Opuzen.
And not only is the nature different the history is just as breathtaking. The Narona Archaeological Museum is a gem, holding secrets of the Roman conquests. Located in the village of Vid the museum dominates the skyline, it was actually built around a former Roman forum. Inside you will find an impressive and modern museum that houses statues from the time of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, and dating back to 10 B.C. A true enlightenment of the rich history of the area and well worth a visit.
A new museum that has only recently opened in Metkovic, around a five-minute drive from the Narona Museum, is the inspiring Natural History Museum. Due to the regions unusual geography the wildlife is also unique to the area. This new interactive museum wouldn’t look out of place in the centre of London with touch-screen displays and computer graphics to lead you through. The river delta has a diverse bird population and all of the birds native to the region are on display, you can even press a button and hear their calls.
Natural History Museum in Metkovic
But no trip to Neretva would be truly complete without tasting the local cuisine – and there is no finer restaurant than Villa Neretva. It is an adventure, and not just for your taste buds. Just getting to the restaurant is a discovery. As it can’t be reached by roads or on foot there is only one way to go – by boat.
These small wooden boats were through history vital to the region. They carried not only people but goods and more importantly the fruit and vegetables to market. Hop into a wooden boat and after only a minute you are into a land that time forgot. The marsh lands very much resemble the Florida Everglades – but without the alligators. This must be one of the most pleasant ways to reach a restaurant.
Located at the foot of a mountain and with spectacular panoramic views over unspoilt nature the Villa Neretva is THE place to taste local delicacies. Frogs and eels, in all different dishes, are often on the menu – for when in Neretva you must eat like a Neretvan.
As nature sings in the background the food arrives. Our recommendation would be the mixed Neretva Brodetto with frogs and eels, a kind of risotto and absolutely magnificent. Over the years the restaurant has picked up many awards and recognitions and it is easy to see why. Local fine wines are also on offer and the restaurant staff are always happy to suggest a good pairing with your meal.
This is service with a capital S! The hospitality is unmatched and all comes from the central figure of the restaurant, Pavo Jerković, the owner and founder. And it could be argued that he is also the founder of tourism in the Neretva river delta. “Restaurant "Villa Neretva" was opened in February 1990. I opened it after returning to Croatia after 20 years of working in Germany,” explained Jerkovic.
“This region and this restaurant is in my heart and I believe that if you work with a passion then the results will show,” added Jerkovic.
Just try not to get too distracted by the views. The food is glorious and if you even if you don’t want to try the local specialities there is an international menu as well. And the icing on the cake is a relaxing boat ride back after your meal.
Pavo Jerkovic always the perfect host
Telephone - +385 (0)20 672200
Website - http://hotel-restaurant-villa-neretva.hr/en