Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
The San Francisco based social media experts “Klout” have created a list of the top ten recommended Twitter experts to follow in Croatia and we are proud to announce that The Dubrovnik Times is ranked in third position.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rate its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user's social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.
The biggest Twitter influencer in Croatia is the account of the Croatian National Tourist Board, somewhat unsurprisingly as they have a massive 100,000 followers and is extremely active with stunning photos from all the country. Second on the list is the Twitter account of the popular Australian blogger, “Chasing the Donkey,” created by Sarah-Jane Begonja. And in third position on the list of Croatian Twitter experts is The Dubrovnik Times.
Further down the top ten list are the Croatian Football Association and the account of the Croatian government comes in at tenth position.
The Croatian National Tourist Board is considering opening a branch office in Dubai. The ATM – Arabian Travel Market – travel fair is still continuing in Dubai and Croatia and its tourist offer is being presented.
The travel fair in Dubai is the largest and most visited tourist fair in the Middle East, and is being held this year for the 25th time, around 40,000 tourism professionals are expected to visit this fair.
"The travel fair in Dubai is far more than just the exhibition. It is one of the biggest global events and is of great economic and cultural significance, and represents a great opportunity for Croatia. Our intention is to open a General Consulate in Dubai and also to represent the Croatian National Tourist Board and Croatian Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates,” commented the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli.
In relation to the United Arab Emirates, the Croatian tourism sector achieved 8,600 tourist arrivals and more than 23,000 overnights in 2017. This represented a growth of 78 percent in arrivals and 72 percent in overnight stays compared to 2016.
This dog owner certainly turned heads in Dubrovnik yesterday as she strolled along the Stradun with her pets.
This foreign dog owner was apparently in Dubrovnik for a dog show that is being held. With one of her pack inside a special pram, complete with its own sunroof, this caring pet lover made sure that the pack still went together.
A reader sent us these photos of the “animal kingdom” in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The Peljesac Bridge project will take three years to construct and will be completed by 2022, according to the Minister of Transport, Oleg Butković. The contract between the Croatian government and the constructor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, was signed yesterday in Dubrovnik and the 2.08 billion Kuna project is set to begin.
Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, who attended the signing ceremony, said that this is a "strategic project for Croatia, which will make Croatia's mainland unique, and the south of the country will be integrated with the rest of the country.”
The European Union is co-financing the project to the tune of 357 million euros, or 85 percent of the total costs. The total value of the bridge that will connect Dubrovnik with the rest of Croatia, is around 420 million Euros.
With the signing of the contracts yesterday construction works can now begin, however they could soon be stopped as the Austrian company Strabag has launched legal proceedings in the Administrative Court in Zagreb against the State Procurement Commission. If works aren’t stopped by this lawsuit, then the Chinese construction company will start work where they finished in 2008. The first step will be to make a construction project for the main pillars that will support the bridge, which according to estimates should be completed in six months. This means that if all goes to plan actual construction on site should start by the end of this year.
Croatia is going green as the government have announced an increase in the number of electric charging stations for cars around the country.
According to details from the Croatian Electric Company (HEP) there are currently 46 ELEN vehicle charging stations in Croatia, whilst the company also announced that this year they will install fast-charging stations along the Croatian highways. In 2011 there were only 9,400 electric vehicles in the European Union, but this number has grown rapidly and in 2016 there were 91,000 electric vehicles in the EU.
A senior official in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy commented that the government has plans to increase the number of charging stations throughout the country. Along with this step the government have also announced state subsidies for drivers wishing to purchase electric vehicles.
Croatia will be the backdrop for a blockbuster Chinese romantic comedy movie next year. The renowned Chinese director Jiang Zhongyuan will direct the movie which will star the famous Chinese actors Ma Su, Jiang Xin and Kou Zhenhai. The love story in Croatia, entitled “Summer in Croatia,” will start filming in the middle of next year and it set to hit cinemas in China in 2020.
“This is a great opportunity for Croatia, especially for Croatian tourism. I expect a significant growth in the number of Chinese tourists in Croatia after the realisation of this project,” commented the president of the Chinese Southeast European Business Association, Mario Rendulic.
According to information from the producers the film will highlight the natural and cultural beauties of Croatia, including the Dalmatian coastline, gastronomy and local traditions. The plot of Summer in Croatia is a love story and tells the story of Deng Mengpi who lost the love of her life and started to dream about the time they spent on holiday in Croatia. Six years after she went to Croatia with her boyfriend she travels back to the country to relive her memories.
Wanda Studios Group will distribute the movie in China, which almost guarantees the success of the project, and the film will be shown at 36 cinemas and with such a large market over 13 million people are expected to see Summer in Croatia.
Cooking is all about passion. Live for the kitchen and the kitchen will live for you. We caught up with one young chef in Dubrovnik who has passion running through his veins. Spasel Krešić has had a diverse career so far, from sushi to fine dining, from hotels to restaurants, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. And all along the way he has gained invaluable experience, and he has brought all this to the stunning Dubrovnik restaurant, Bistro Tavulin. “Cooking is not only a profession but also a hobby, a way of life,” explained chef.
How would you describe you style? Are you a traditionalist, a fusionist or a modern lover?
My cooking style would probably be best described as a “freestyle.” For example, I often change the look of the meal on the plate each time I serve it. Even though the ingredients and preparation stay the same it’s nice to be able to use some creativity with each different plate. The taste remains the same but the look is different. So I would say that I have a freestyle, or a flexible style. I wouldn’t say that I am fixed with any one style, but instead try to take the best from all of them. Of course I have a Mediterranean background in the kitchen, and this dictates the ingredients that I concentrate on. Focusing on locally grown and produced ingredients that are grown without any chemicals. Making the most of what Mother Nature offers us here in Croatia, and on the Adriatic. And let’s be honest Mother Nature has been very kind to us in this part of the world.
When did you first become interested in food and cooking? Did you watch your mother as a child?
Ha-ha….yes as a child I remember watching my mother prepare the family lunch. One thing that I remember to this day is at school the teacher asked the class “what would you like to study after school?” Most of my classmates answered they wanted to go to economic university or business university. I stood up and answered “I want to be a chef!” In fact, my mother is also a cook, so you could say that I picked a lot of ideas up from her. I honestly don’t know what else I would like to do in life, for me cooking and food are more than a profession.
Who cooks at home?
Mostly I do, but my wife is learning how to cook. I must say that she is really a great cook already. But when I go home to my parents my mother still cooks for me. Mother’s cooking is always mother’s cooking.
Where and how do you get inspiration for new dishes and new meals?
Mostly at home to be honest. Strangely enough after a long day in the restaurant, especially during the summer months, you would think that after I come home I would switch off and relax. The opposite is the case. I get home and think about new ideas, new ingredients that I could try and different ways of recreating something that I already have on the menu. Like I said cooking is not only a profession but also a hobby, a way of life. Of course also when I go to other restaurants I am curious to taste something new. I try not to be too much of a critic, which is always hard, but take the positives out of every dish.
Who are you cooking idols? Do you watch the numerous cooking shows on TV?
Of course I would have to put my mother in the first position. I have to admit I love watching Gordon Ramsay, he has some brought new life into traditional dishes. I also learnt a lot from my first head chef, Steven Peters, who taught me not only the skills needed to prepare a dish but also the tools to run a kitchen. We have regular meetings in the kitchen to make sure that everyone is “reading from the same page.” What happens at home stays at home, but in my kitchen you need to have a smile on your face and be prepared to work.
What is your favourite meal?
The first meal that I ever prepared “solo” was pasta carbonara, so that would be somewhere on the list. I would probably say another pasta dish – pasta pomodoro. Fresh cherry tomatoes, olive oil, homemade pasta…perfect.
Is Croatian cuisine underrated on a global level? Spanish and Italian cuisines are dominating in Europe, so is there space for Croatia?
I don’t think that our cuisine is underrated at all. Maybe before twenty years Croatian cuisine was seen as poor, but over time the interest from the world, and from leading chefs has increased. A lot has been done over the past two decades to improve the dishes on offer. We have everything on our doorstep. Incredible nature and natural products, from herbs to vegetables, and the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. All we needed to do was learn how to use these tools in front of us. In my opinion we are now up to a world standard, in general the level of restaurants has improved and at Bistro Tavulin we are proud to be included in the Michelin Guide for the past two years.
How difficult is it to find good quality ingredients?
Of course this depends on the concept of the restaurant and what you plan to offer on the menu. If you want to have the best smoked salmon, then you’ll have to go to Scandinavia. As we only use ingredients that are locally sourced we don’t have such a huge problem. As I said before use what Mother Nature has already provided and you’ll be fine. I really concentrate on using home-grown ingredients, for example we make our soups the old-fashioned way and not by using any artificial additives. Seafood comes directly from the Dubrovnik Adriatic. If you give to nature, then nature will give back to you. I can see this in the feedback from guests, and after all the highest compliment for me is a happy, smiling guest.
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The Red Arrows made a flying visit to Croatia yesterday, literally a flying visit, and landed at Zadar. The Red Arrows are the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams, and they showed their skills flying low over the Adriatic coastline where they filmed this amazing cockpit video.
The team uses Hawk jets and act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom is assisting to recruit for the Armed Forces. During the brief visit to Croatia the Red Arrows met with their Croatian counterparts “Krila Oluje” or Wings of Storm.
The video was shot by Sergeant Will Allen, flying in Red 8, as they arrived in Zadar on their way to the Exercise Springhawk in Greece.