Among the several taverns that make up the gastronomic offer of Kolan, the Giardin tavern is characterized by working throughout the year. Entering into it, we immediately saw a few things: here is the winter social life of Kolan, where all the news comes to mind, as people talk about all things that mark our everyday lives, and travellers and guests are welcomed by the typical people's views "I'm not sure, if we know each other." In addition, the meals are generous, so the brunch here definitely "strengthens" body and soul.
In addition to the droplet of red wine, we try the prosciutto, Pag cheese and salted sardines in the corner of the stone tavern, which somehow shows usual Pag starters. Still, it would not be good prosciutto, and even less salty cheese, if there would be no bora wind that marks the life of the island of Pag. It is up to the wind to depend on whether the ferry flows and whether the Pag Bridge is open for traffic, and in this case, we wonder if it might be better at that moment to be on the island! The brothers Josip and Nikola Kustić are leading this famous tavern, and we did not meet them because they used their culinary skills - in the kitchen! One says, "If you did not eat at Giardin, you've needlessly come to Pag."
Giardin will also include many celebrities, including the late Oliver Dragojević, not long before he left from the world way too early. Here the food is taken very seriously, and as most tourists regularly eat in suspect coastal restaurants full of Patagonian squid and cordon bleu, the Giardin tavern is often a brilliant revelation to guests who suddenly get good homemade food in large portions and at very affordable prices. Seasonal food is, therefore, self-evident. We enjoyed the omelette with asparagus, which announces spring in this part of the island of Pag.
The spring also carries the smells of young lambs, which is particularly good on Pag. The inhabitants of all "sheep" islands in the Adriatic will argue over the opinion which lamb is best – from Krk, Cres or Pag - but our simple conclusion is that it's the best on the plate! There are wonderful old-fashioned recipes on Pag, which include not only lambs under the baking lid (peka), spit-roasted or cooked, but also various varieties of mutton. During the course of the year, however, those who encounter a mutton soup or mutton ragout will be very happy, but it will be easy to find quite special mutton sausages by sheepherder and cheese maker Emil Oštarić.
That is why it was inevitable for us to try in Giardin lamb stew with macaroni. The exquisite and clear taste of young lamb is bliss for our palate, and strong macaroni talks about generations of experiences of making an island pasta that is a little bit "harder" because it is true to the old ways when additional ingredients were scarce. Pag lambs never live indoors. All their short lives are spent outdoors. They suck milk which has all the necessary good stuff in it that makes such a legendary Pag cheese. Recipes bring the smile on the face and strengthen the brand of Pag lamb, sheep and cheese. Of course, in Kolan we can say that the best lamb is on Pag! Still, we do not want to offend other Croatian regions that are doing a great domestic lamb.
On our trip to Kolan, we were accompanied by the Tourist Association manager Mrs Ivančica Zubović. Although from Zagreb, she married on the island and remained there, and she immediately became involved in making cheese and curd. Despite being not overly delighted with dairy products, she makes beautiful curd which we tried in a sweet version with pancakes in Giardin, and the Kolan’s mayor Marin Pernjak joined us with a glass of wine. This sweet ending of the gastronomic tour of the tavern Giardin shows how much the island of Pag is, although bare and rocky, blessed with aromatic herbs and sheep, olive oil and fish, all giving a wonderful island culinary mix! There is only praise for Kustić family’s work, and for all travellers, the destination is the centre of Kolan, where you can easily see the Giardin tavern!
Vanđelje 1A, 23251 Kolan
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