Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Olive oil is one of the most famous products of the island of Krk. From time immemorial, olive groves have been planted on the island, especially on its western side, around the town of Krk, and around Punat. Olive roads have long since become a tourist attraction and a great walking place in spring and autumn, and it is not without reason that the ancient Romans called Krk Insula Aurea or the Golden Island. But to make a sequence of dishes that would reflect the tradition of olive growing on the island of Krk is a little harder. Chef Dalibor Perinčić took care of that in the Maris restaurant, which is a proud gastronomic addition to Camp Omišalj!
At the instigation of the Omišalj-Njivice Tourist Board, Maris decided to offer a range of dishes based on seasonal ingredients and in cooperation with Krk producers. So November and December will be marked by cod, while asparagus will surely be found here in the spring. An exciting year-round culinary story on the northern tip of the island of Krk is a hit and gives Omišalj an important gastronomic spot for lovers of local flavours. As we listen to these ideas, presented to us by Ana Buovac, chief receptionist, we enjoy a first-class biska and think how the view of the outdoor pool and Rijeka across the Kvarner Bay is beautiful even when it rains, let alone when the sun shines.
On the table comes fresh tuna cut in sashimi style, on a pesto of various homemade olives, in which there is a gently peppered daikon beet, with reduced soy sauce on the side. The freshness and full taste of tuna are impeccable, and how could it not be when tuna is caught in the immediate vicinity of Omišalj. This part of the Kvarner Bay is deeper and corresponds to tuna, so Big Om is held here every year, it is one of the oldest and largest fishing competitions in our country that specializes in catching big fish. Thus, the taste of Adriatic tuna, which is traditionally fished in Kvarner from the coast, and Japanese flavours, which reflect probably the world's most famous cuisine that uses tuna as the main ingredient, merged in Maris. The pesto is full of olive flavour and blends into a beautiful seafood appetizer. Trojišćina, an autochthonous Vrbnik wine from the famous Šipun winery by Ivica Dobrinčić, goes great with tuna.
To be honest, Krk is known for its olives, but rarely for any of the more famous olive oil. It is a great pity for the island so historically tied to olive groves. Today, they are very parcelled, and a number of different olive oils are produced. Happy are those restaurants that have their own oil production, while others have to make ends meet. For a serious restaurant like Maris, it is important to have top quality extra virgin olive oil in larger quantities, so they opted for Dalmatian oil from Masvin in Polača. Although located in the middle of the camp, Maris is an a la carte restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at the service of guests who spend the night in about a hundred mobile homes made in Croatia. Omišalj thus gets a great camp, whose restaurant is open to anyone who comes by. At the same time, it is another step towards breaking the negative image, given that the average Croat thinks only of tankers and oil when Omišalj is mentioned, and it is actually a beautiful old town with pleasant tourist facilities in its surroundings.
Krk is also known for its cheeses, so we were delighted by the crispy dough quiche with sheep and cow cheeses, served with a selection of marinated olives with aromatic olive oil. Three Krk cheeses are hidden in this delicacy: Otočan (from the famous Krk cheese manufactory Magriž in Kornić), Ricotta and goat cheese from local family farms. Beautiful and unobtrusive cheeses blend perfectly into warm quiche, and olives only enhance this Krk mastery.
Cheese-making is a by-product of long-term animal husbandry on the island, especially sheep breeding. In the central part of the island of Krk, mostly on the plateaus around Vrh, Kras and Kornić, hundreds of sheep graze and the famous Krk lamb is made there. As a pledge, Maris offered Krk lamb meat cooked on low heat for ten hours and then baked at low temperatures and finely seasoned with orange and honey sauce. Heavenly taste indeed! The crust "earth" made of olive oil was served as a side dish, which we consider to be the best earth we have tried so far! This is a very beautiful and imaginative selection of the combination of lamb and olives because the chefs certainly had a lot of imagination and visual solutions that reflect the island of Krk. Along with the lamb, we drank red wine Sušćan or Sansigot, another leading wine of the Šipun winery.
Camp Omišalj itself takes care of sheep, as well as donkeys, ponies, goats and chickens that are located on agricultural land in the vicinity of the camp. This creates a fertile and sustainable source of food because it is not only meat, milk and eggs that come from here, but also vegetables. It all ends in a kitchen that is open to guests, making lunch a great experience with an overview of all the ingredients of the dish. Culinary masterpieces and sweet endings of the journey to island flavours are made here, and in our case, it was Olive brunch lemon cake, a biscuit cake with lemon mousse and white chocolate glaze and light olive oil, beautifully arranged to dessert perfection.
We will definitely be waiting for new menus from the Maris restaurant, and you can try them yourself if you come to Camp Omišalj:
Vodotoč 1, 51513 Omišalj
+385 51 588 636