Tag Archives: Berries

Goranska borovnica – in the highland paradise of forest berries

We are sitting beneath a vast oak tree and enjoy splendid elder flower juice. It is made by Nataša Kozlica, owner of the family farm Goranska Borovnica (Highlander Blueberry) and it just suits great in already warm end of spring. She is accompanied by three generations of her family, a dog, and a cat. Oh yes, also a wooden bear looks at us, as part of the education garden where school kids come to learn more about self-grown herbs and students have their practical work.

But the basis of this family farm is in traditional Gorski kotar favourite fruits and sweets, the forest berries. The gift of the mountains and woodlands, berries were unavoidable part of the locals’ diet for generations. Today, they are essential part of every highlander menu, and not only in its sweet part. Local game dishes, such as bear or venison, regularly come with blueberry sauce or cranberry jelly, giving a perfect blend of pure meat and sweetness of berries.

Throughout summer people go into the forest to pick berries and make grandma-style jams and juices. At Goranska Borovnica, they plant it. One can find here strawberries, raspberries, currants, American blueberries, elder, and blackberries. A mix of forest berries is a basis for Kozlica’s refreshing liqueur, which we readily enjoyed at the estate.

It seems idyllic but there is a great deal of effort and risks behind this work. Everything is done beneath open sky, and fruits can ripe at different times, thus adding to the unpredictability of the whole process. But the end result is pure taste in various products that can be found in the farm’s souvenir shop.

Here guests can find authentic highland souvenirs, like wooden and ceramic products, homemade teas, soaps, candles, postcards. Especially appealing is the Fužine basket, rich with the fruits from the farm. And if you feel tired, why not spending a night or two here? Apartment Polić is just next to the farm, and is run by the oldest members of the family. Their piercing blue eyes keep the wisdom of the rural life in the mountains, while the agricultural knowledge of Mrs Kozlica makes this farm one of the best in the whole Gorski kotar region.

The family also prepared us cake with their fruits and guided us through the farm, where also a forest log cabin is situated for any guests seeking peace and quiet of woods. Information tables can be seen all around, giving interesting information about plants, animals, waters, and forest; indeed, a tour many of us should take in order to bring back memories of childhood visits to the woodlands.

Obrt Borovnica
Belo selo, Fužine 51322
mob: 00385915124712
pero.kozlica@ri.t-com.hr
http://www.goranska-borovnica.com

Forest berries

In late spring, forests and hills of Gorski kotar suddenly burst in life. Green colour of the trees is mixed with various flowers and natural-grown fruits and roots. Birds are singing, sun is shining, and everything what we dream of the mountains comes alive.

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In Gorski kotar this is the announcement for the arrival of sweet fruits in forests. Various berries have always been part of the Gorski kotar nutrition. And when we say „always“, we really mean since people lived here. Food historians know that the berries have been valuable as a food source since before the start of agriculture, and remain among the primary food resources of other primates. Hunter-gatherers were gathering wild berries in Europe for thousands of years. And they knew why! Berries have been shown to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet, extremely rich in antioxidants.

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We, of course, did not know this, but still on our hiking trips we regularly picked all the berries visible, even the ones dried out on the summer sun. In doing this, we unintentionally did the same thing our forefathers did for centuries.

Gorski kotar is famous for its blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, used often in strudels and other desserts, but also for making of various sweet liquers. In more recent times, cranberries are added to the list. Except of the cranberry juice, which is excellent way to survive summer heat, cranberries found their way to the Gorski kotar table as a basis of sauce added to game dishes. Except of bear steaks with cranberry sauce and gnocchi, stuffed roe loin is also made with cranberries. But if you are vegetarian, don’t worry. Fruits of the Mountains is in fact meat-free event, if you desire it.

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In the morning, berry jams are unavoidable part of Gorski kotar breakfast. Preserved throughout the year, it was a source of natural sugar in the most demanding months. Most lunches and dinners in Gorski kotar will finish with a nice, homemade forest berries strudel, as we have done it in numerous occasions in various taverns all over Gorski kotar. It is a signature dessert of mountain regions and it is indeed difficult to find anyone resisting its sweet-and-sour taste.

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Crisp pastry is filled with beautiful berries and baked, often with only a sprinkled sugar on top, as the berries themselves are sweet enough. Usually, in Gorski kotar restaurants and inns you will find blueberry strudel or mixed fruit, but in its prime time raspberry strudel is amazing. As a rule, all berries are offered in their time of the year, although blueberries can be found in any season.

And if you think strong rakija is specialty of Gorski kotar, think again. Blueberry liquer is very famous all over Croatia, but its origins are exactly here, in the hilly regions between continental and Adriatic Croatia.

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During the summer, Gorski kotar features several berries festivals, Day of Strawberries in Fužine; Day of Raspberries in Skrad, and Day of Blueberries in Ravna Gora. And here are some of the producers who make excellent products with berries:

Highland Blueberry – Goranska Borovnica

Angelina Liqueurs

Matković Blueberry Homestead