The breadth of domestic products of the Lanđin family farm is comparable only to the breadth of the smiles of the hosts who welcomed us in their home at the "beginning of Kraj" (which means End in Croatian). This is how the Banić family, who live in the Pašman village of Kraj, just before the sign that separates it from Tkon, determines their position. At the beginning or at the end of Kraj, that is, at the "border crossing", as Rozalinda Banić tells us, a particularly interesting gastronomic story develops, awarded with numerous labels of the Croatian island product (HOP)!
"We produce liqueurs, brandies, jams, dried figs, tomato concentrate, bonito in oil, various teas, hot peppers", says Rozalinda, who has 12 products with the HOP label, and Banić family produces another five to six liqueurs that will just get that label. This is nothing special for a person who was nominated for the Most Exemplary Croatian Rural Woman in front of Zadar County in the all-complex 2020! And yet, Pašman is so generous that fig brandies and chamomile and laurel liqueurs are common here, which would be a difficult exotic for many. If liqueurs made of magnolia, sage, olive are added here, then the level of the island's wealth but also the imagination of Rozalinda Banić is revealed!
Banić family defends the tradition of cattle breeding on Pašman, so father Ivan takes care of the sheep, and mother Marica is in charge of cheese-making and milking. It excels in that because we tried young sheep cheese in homemade olive oil and were delighted with the flavours that will become more pronounced over time. The son Benjamin, young hope of Pašman agriculture who reflects the somewhat optimistic future of the island given the growing number of young families who do not go to large urban centres, also helps in all this. Her husband Ivan sails, and her daughter Mihaela is an expert supplement to the entire family farm since she graduated from the study of karst agriculture at the University of Knin.
Vegetables are grown in large greenhouses. Pašman is in its entirety here, because you can find tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, melons, watermelons and various other vegetables. Pašman has always been an island of rich green leafy vegetables boiled with a little olive oil and salt, sometimes with a piece of bacon. It was often cooked with lentils, ie beans, fava beans, lentils, chickpeas. Cuttlefish with broad beans was especially famous in Kraj, and Marica tells us that she was so fed up with this dish that she enjoyed more "bread and salami". This Baustel legend is not far from the historical reality because Marica worked in the Biograd Nets and Packaging Factory.
Banić family also has a fishing trade, together with fishing tourism, which is yet to come to life, so a few lucky guests will get acquainted with the way of fishing in Dalmatia. Every contact with bonito will be exceptional, and we tried our gift very quickly with pasta and sauce, and we were delighted with the preserved flavours of this desirable bluefish. Its flesh is strong and yet mild, which gives a superb gastronomic pleasure even though bonito has been somewhat neglected for centuries. Old legends say that a flock of bonito predicts strong winds at sea, but it is likely that a flock of bonito more announces excellent fish on the grill or on the "poor" broth. The voice of disapproval can only come from Marica who would rather eat bacon than a flock of bonito!
"I make liqueurs and dry products when it rains," Rosalinda tells us. Fortunately or unfortunately, Pašman is rich in sunny days that invite work in the field or in nature, where wild Mediterranean plants are usually harvested. Course by course, Rozalinda also acquired the titles of fisherman, shepherd, vegetable grower, herbal grower, cheesemaker, beekeeper and olive grower. Not bad for an island family farm in which a lot of time has been invested, but also a lot of love. After all, without a strong will and commitment to this work, there are no results!
The products of the Lanđin family farm are best found at various fairs in Zadar County and beyond, especially in summer. The recorder in island products especially appreciates jelly made from madrones, a great dessert that we tried ourselves and which is a phenomenal combination of sweetness and citrus from the Croatian south. In this combination, we found the original flavours of such a rich and generous island as Pašman!
Kraj 152, 23212 Tkon, island of Pašman
+385 91 782 20 55 | Rozalinda Banić
Photos by OPG Lanđin and Cristiano Diaz