The International Festival "Sea Pearl" is the biggest culinary competition in this part of Europe, and its 14th edition took place from April 9 to 13 in Supetar on the island of Brač. The event combined competitions of professional chefs and European tourist catering schools (middle and high) with master classes and lecturers from around the world, round tables, oenological workshops, cooking shows, gastronomic exhibitions, tastings, presentation of the international and local cuisine (themed evenings), gastro tours and an unavoidable entertainment program.
"With Sea Pearl begins the tourist season in the biggest place of the island of Brač, Supetar", says Alma Harašić Bremec, head of the ŠKMER cooking academy. The Sea Pearl began fourteen years ago when the cooks were still unknown on television. It was a great project by Miro Bogdanović, who started connecting the chef of the Mediterranean. His vision and persistence were transferred to his team. "Cooking is a profession very much asked for, so the first day we move with young hopes, middle and higher catering schools from home and abroad. Mutual exchanges and experiences will be their great benefit and they will see how much they can progress if they are trying and gaining discipline, "notes Mrs. Alma. There are also older colleagues from whom one can learn the little secrets of great masters.
The chefs came from over twenty countries, from Europe and from distant Asian countries. "We are particularly pleased to be here with the chefs from Malta, and they will cook Maltese dishes. We are happy to compare Malta with Brač, as this island is twice as big as Malta, but it is a major spot on the tourist map of the Mediterranean, "notes Alma. For the first time, there was a competition in pizza making, so there were many "pizza masters" on Brač, which is a contribution to this part of the culinary arts. There were also pizza blending with the craft beers, among others with the craft brewery Barba, led by Siniša Anđelić.
Slavonia and its specialties were also presented, which are more and more famous in the culinary world and beyond the Croatian borders. In addition to the Slavonian evening, education on wines from Slavonia and Podunava was carried out. Sommelier Damir Zrno has run a wine tasting from the Baranja, Erdut, Feričanci and Đakovo vineyards. Apart from Slavonia, guests could also enjoy Croatian thematic evenings and Dalmatian evenings, each day full of master classes where famous Croatian and foreign chefs performed.
Croatian chef of the year Hrvoje Zirojević also attended the Sea Pearl. He is vice president of the association and from the very beginning proudly works on this event. His title was given with the full merit of making his own seafood specials, Alma says, and at the event he has presented himself with a unique squid cake. It was a real story of love for the sea and the bliss for the senses. With such gastronomy, Croatia is on the right path to extend the tourist season, but further efforts should be made to ensure that gastronomic events are planned earlier, says the president of ŠKMER.
On the Sea Pearl there was also a great culinary legend Stevo Karapandža, and here is what two masters told our author: