Mačkovec is a place where Međimurje valleys turn into the Međimurje rolling hills, and this is precise location where adorable restaurant “Mala hiža” (a small house in local dialect) is situated. The cuisine here is among the best in Croatia, thanks to the owner Branimir Tomašić, whose touch is visible in every meal on the menu. That is why everyone can say Mala hiža is not only a restaurant, it is a place of good memories!
Handmade pasta, home grown products, carefully chosen high quality meat, freshly made sauces, and traditional methods in making foods are the starting points in gastronomy of Mala Hiža. Followed by excellent wines, this restaurant clearly deserved to be the best one in continental Croatia, which is an award given this year.
There is a witty story of how this restaurant came to life. Mr Tomašić decided to make a restaurant in his old orchard in Mačkovec. But, he couldn’t get the permit to build a solid object on this ground. Thus, he found an old and devastated hiža – a traditional wooden house near Zagreb built in 1887 – and transferred it to Mačkovec. From 1996 up until 2001 it was diligently refurbished in its old authentic style. And here we have today a representative restaurant of unusual history, excellent cuisine, and indeed a spectacular interior. The ambient is elegant, romantic and intimate, with a feeling of house warmth.
Our arrival was based on autumn menu of the restaurant, but began with a very typical Međimurje dish, Tiblica Meat. It is a high calory salty meal made from the better quality fresh pork, which is put in a special pot, tiblica, usually made from wood. Inside the meat is conserved in salty lard. This meat is first rinsed with salt and garlic, and then it is being left in its own salty juice for a few weeks. The salt should enter into the meat well, and this was a traditional way to preserve the meat. After that, the meat is smoked, boiled, or baked, and then put in tiblica. It is again preserved inside the pot for a few weeks.
Among famous and rich Međimurje soups we have tried autumn’s favourite, pumpkin soup. Delicious and creamy, it is part of the autumn menu in Mala Hiža, consisting also of pheasants and ducks, pumpkin dishes, rich pork meals, and small game.
Photos by: Mala Hiža