While travelling in Lokve, you might see everywhere signs of small frogs. They are on park benches, on houses, tourist office documents. And in the very centre of this place stands a Frog Museum. This fascination with frogs is not only from tales, but is rooted in the tradition of this highland place. In not so distant past, almost every inhabitant of Lokve knew how to catch frogs in the nearby creeks and lakes, where the fertile ground made bogs.
There are different varieties of frogs in Croatia, but they all share the need for still water, where they can easily find food and make offspring. Once there were so many frogs in Lokve, it was common to have in spring afternoons and evening a real frog orchestra. It is a long tradition in this place to hunt young frogs in spring. Frog legs are regarded still as a specialty in this region.
The people were poor and they were hunting frogs to replenish their diet. Excellent taste of frog legs became a real treat and it was incorporated as an offer for the first tourists in Gorski kotar. Already in the 19th century did wealthy foreigners arrive in the summer resorts and spas in the northern Adriatic. Nowadays, frogs are endangered and protected.
The old way of hunting frogs is now memorise only by a bit older generation. In warmer March nights, especially after the rain, people gathered with a lamp lit by a calcium-carbon, and went to the creeks and still lake bays. The technique was of greatest importance, as every stone was turn over and frogs should be cached immediately. They were put in a bag and in one night between 200 and 300 frogs could be in the bag. The legs were instantly cut, and the frog eggs were thrown back to the water, for regeneration.
Because no one else was eating frogs, other Croats laughed at Lokve inhabitants. In 1970ies however, frogs became the signature dish and the symbol of Lokve, with a unique manifestation “Frog Night”, where the frogs have jumping competition. In Croatia one can find European tree frog (gatalinka), common toad (krastača), moor frog and European green toad. Of these, only Moor Frog can be eaten, i.e. only the legs of this frog are edible. Usually, the frog legs are deep fried, rolled in flour and scrambled eggs. It is baked for some 20 minutes and served warm, best with tartar sauce and fried mushrooms.
The Frog Museum itself is probably one of the most innovative museums in Croatia. It is rather small and has no vivarium with live frogs, but brings knowledge about the complete life of a frog. The museum is opened in 2006 and consists of private collection of frog figures. Some 3500 of them are featured, and the long-term ambition is to collect over ten thousand figures and enter the Guinness Book of Records. The museum has an educative program for children and organise the Frog Night Competition.
Frogs Museum (Muzej žaba) Golubinjak 1, Lokve 00385 99 305 5077, 00385 51 831 099 firstname.lastname@example.org