Gospoja - Lady of Žlahtina


We didn’t know what’s for lunch. Driving through the little settlements (like Kras) to reach the clifftop town of Vrbnik on the eastern coast of the island of Krk, was too quick to see what is going on between old stone mansions. We were in hurry. The deal was struck, if we will eat finger food, we will do it quickly, and then go straight to Šilo, a small tourist village where our journalist and driver Edi sings that night. He sings in klapa, a traditional Croatian coastal a cappella group. In the end, we did have some finger-food. A lot of it!

Gospoja is the name of Toljanić family agricultural cooperative. The name itself comes from the nearby church of Our Lady of Health (yes, Gospoja means Lady). Mr. Franjo Toljanić is one of the most famous producers of Žlahtina and the whole family works together in the company. From an ordinary wine cellar, Toljanić Family made a beautiful wine and tourism business, including quite modern Wine Hotel Gospoja.

Gospoja is the name of Toljanić family agricultural cooperative. The name itself comes from the nearby church of Our Lady of Health (yes, Gospoja means Lady). Mr. Franjo Toljanić is one of the most famous producers of Žlahtina and the whole family works together in the company. From an ordinary wine cellar, Toljanić Family made a beautiful wine and tourism business, including quite modern Wine Hotel Gospoja.

Gospoja produces Žlahtno beer too!

The date of our arrival was wrong, but no surprise came from the kitchen. The chef Dalibor Perinčić and his staff made us a beautiful and elaborate menu and we toasted with almost every drink from the Toljanić cellar. Cosy fig brandy opens conversation and after a particular starter consisting of homemade curd and deep-fried mullet with herbs, along with olive oil and tomato spread, followed with soft and dry sparkling wine Gospoja, both the staff and we knew where this dinner is going: to our utmost enjoyment and delay to the concert later.

Well, the staff started to smile when they’ve realised we are a real bunch of fun, often pointing to our bellies and measuring whose stomach grew bigger in last few months. Fortunately, they did realise we do this work seriously, taking photos from every angle and writing down scents and aromas of magnificent work they are doing. But we weren’t prepared for a cold plate of just anything imaginable:

Quail eggs marinated in a secret sauce, delicate octopus carpaccio in citrus fruit emulsion, refreshing John Dorry (kovač) and bass (brancin) carpaccio, soft Kvarner scampi tartare, beautifully smoked anchovies with cumin and oregano, innovative anchovies tartare with Žlahtina emulsion, surprising tartare made with four spicy vegetables, excellent lamb pate with pumpkin seed oil, specific Žužić Krk prosciutto with a surprising wine must emulsion, soft-and-spicy sheep curd served in hot peppers, superb goat cottage cheese, and two spicy marmalades! We also tried the Gospoja’s signature wine, Žlahtina Toljanić, the most awarded Žlahtina in last twenty years; a light and refreshing wine would be among our top choices for the summer wine (not to mention the Nancy Sinatra’s strawberries and cherries too).

Driven by the gastronomy desire, the pieces on the plate soon vanished, but was instantly replaced with the main course (yes, we were surprised too that the plate was not the main thing)! One cannot omit lamb in Vrbnik! Originally good taste of the lamb chops served on rich cheese fondue spread, with excellent homemade potatoes, and thinly sliced black truffles without undesired taste or smell (how did they do that?!) adorned our table.

It is rare nowadays to find real Krk šurlice: Gospoja does it! Obviously, someone in the kitchen learned well how to make just right form and just right al dente taste of this festive Krk dish. We didn’t have in our ears the sopile music (traditionally, šurlice come as a hot appetizer at the weddings followed with sopile), but we truly enjoyed the mild beef stew and potato topping. Another traditional dish with a clever twist was Adriatic scampi risotto served with dried figs. Full taste of fresh scampi and figs make a sweet and mild combination. And it blends well with Red Wine Gospoja, a mixture of red grapes with pure dark-red colour and delicate aromas.

It is late and Edi needs to start singing, but we all readily forgot that our journalist is the leading expert for desserts. In Gospoja they’ve might knew this, as the sweet finish was a spectacular sight. After Gospoja red wine and forest berries sorbet, we enjoyed grapes crème brûlée, forest berries strudel, cheesecake, raspberry crème brûlée served on the white chocolate spread, mousse of South African grains. As it suits to Vrbnik, we toasted with semi-sweet Sacramental Wine, the only wine in Croatia besides Traminac from Đakovo that has approval from the Catholic Church! The toast goes to the health and prosperity of excellent staff in Gospoja!

And yes, Edi did make it to the concert, it was a just lovely end of a great day!

You want to eat in Gospoja too? Contact them here:

51 516 Vrbnik, Frankopanska 1 Tel: 00385 (0) 51 669 350, Fax: 00385 (0) 51 857 463 info@gospoja.hr, reception-vinotel@gospoja.hr www.gospoja.hr

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