The sands of Susak Island

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I always wanted to visit Susak. There is something (actually, A LOT  of) unique about that island. Well off the radar, it is a peaceful paradise far away from popular and noisy islands of the Dalmatian coast.

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Beware when entering as there is a sunken pier right next to the harbor

Susak is the only island in the Adriatic completely made of sand. So no complaints about rocky beaches here! It is also not covered by trees but almost entirely by reed and bamboo.

susak-53Being far away from the mainland, Susak also developed a bit differently than the rest of the coast and has some unique cultural differences. Most unique is the definitely the way they (traditionally) dress!

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Traditional costumes for men and women (photo by croatianhistory.net/etf/susak.html)

 

…and you cannot find a sign like this anywhere else!
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The village consists of two parts: lower Susak – by the ferry harbor and upper Susak, the original settlement around the church on the hill.

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A lot of steps!

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Sv. Nikola (1770)

Both have traditional elements and some lovely classic architecture often found on our coast.

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Unfortunately, most of the houses are long abandoned…

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It is often considered that “Pusti me proć” in Split is the narrowest street in Croatia. But it is not…

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The upper village is filled with wonderful details. Quite charming.

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Susak had a economic boom in 1930s while most of the islanders were vintners, fishermen and farmers. Production of wine was significant and everything was exported. The problems started with mass emigration after WW II as the islanders were fleeing just formed Yugoslavia. Most of them rowed across to Italy and then made their way to US. Majority settled in Hoboken, New Jersey. Only 188 inhabitants according to the last census…

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Closed down wine cellar

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There are some lovely views of the bay from the upper village.

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The lower village is also quite pretty.

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The dominant language on the island is English; New Jersey accent:)
And there are some lovely, typically US details, too!

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Susak has a small harbor. Good enough for several smaller boats and yachts.

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And, as on all islands, the life thrives around the harbor and especially when the regular connection comes.

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Soon, life returns to normal, slow pace.

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And we leave beautiful Susak heading north. Hoping to return soon.

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Read more about this beautiful island at: http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/susak.html

 

Secret Dalmatia cooks for homeless

We are lucky to have met dozens of great people in our line of work. Many amazing people are working with us with one goal: to provide great experiences for travelers. One of them is Lana Iljadica who is not only our dear friend and one of the best guides ever but also a person with love for everyone. She runs a project called O La La 366 – the goal is that volunteers team up any day they can and cook one meal for the people in need. You can find out more on their FB page (in Croatian): https://www.facebook.com/groups/123892347724030/?fref=ts

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So, as Mariana who is part of Secret Dalmatia does this whenever she can, we got the April 17th as “our” date. It is always easier when you have a professional managing everything and actually knowing what to do when cooking for 30 people so it was time for another great person we are blessed to know. Tatjana happily accepted our invitation and we were all meeting in front of a supermarket in Trogir on the 17th.

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At Tatjana’s

The shopping was quick as there were 5 of us and with a great list so next stop Tatjana’s Trogir home. Many will recognize it being featured in Adrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods Croatia but this is also a place where we have our, now famous, cooking class and special “behind the closed doors” experiences.

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And cutting and chopping and peeling…

Tatjana assigned the tasks and Mariana, Dubravka and Marija were quickly at their stations with aprons on.

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I have chosen an important task of documenting everything and cutting the bacon :)))

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It was an afternoon of hard work but also a lot of fun and VERY delicious food!

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Soon, the aromas and scent of some great dishes filled the air and nearby streets outside Tatjana’s 12th century courtyard. It was the time for tasting and packing.

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Banana bread muffins (with chocolate)

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The food for all 33 of the guests was ready by 6 PM and packed. There were three courses + salad prepared. All in unmistakable Tatjana’s creative way! A fiesta of tastes and colors. Anyone who has eaten there at least once will know what I mean😉

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Starting packing

The dinner was served at 7:30 at the homeless shelter in Split. We did not go with Mariana, Dubravka and Tatiana as we had to go back home but seeing those happy faces was a very rewarding experience according to the girls! Happy to do the same at least one more time this year!

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The cooking team!

If there is anybody else who would like to help and “donate” a dinner, feel free to contact O La La 366 at their Facebook page!

Ruinart Champagne dinner at Pelegrini

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We have been invited by chef Rudi for an evening of Ruinart champagnes paired with his (always) great dishes. Pelegrini is one of the top 3 restaurants in the Country and always an absolute pleasure to dine at so we could not refuse.

After a short intro by a local importer of Ruinart champagnes, we started with carpaccio of oysters and Angus beef with spices and rice chips.

Next dish was gazpacho with scampi and strawberies-an explosion of tastes masterfully blended together!


Everything so far was paired with Ruinart brut. Our next wine was a superb Ruinart Blanc de Blanc.

A dish that followed was scampi wrapped in smoked pečenica bacon on nori algae with banana gnochi.

Pork ears with potatoe purre and mustard followed. Perfectly balanced dish again!


We moved to Ruinart Rose next and the first dish with this wine was octopus (cooked and fried) on purre of beans.

Next was Dom Ruinart (2004). One of My favorite champagnes! Perfect in every way.


And it went perfectly well with veal shank with baked picant cheese iz mišine. Mango purre was a Superb addition!

Before dessert, we had a strawbery mousse with some sort of jello of olive oil and lemon juice. Pure perfection!

Dessert that followed was a bit of surprise. Very American. Oreo cookie tart with peanut butter and chocolate. Raspberry on top and raspberry coulis.

The dinner ended with their own version of traditional mađarica cake made of carob.


Simply put, Pelegrini did it again! Rudi never fails and always delivers exeptional experience. Ruinart champagnes just Made everything extra special!