Slavonia is inseparable from kulen, kulenova seka, sausages, and various other dried meat products. It is the same in Orahovica. In the middle of the rich Slavonian forest at the foot of Papuk, just a few minutes drive from the center of the town, is the village of Donja Pištana. The picturesque village is proud of its activities, and the Bucić family is among them. This OPG proudly makes some of the most famous components of the Slavonian table. We visited them and tasted excellent kulen, along with the must-have Silvanac from PP Orahovica.
Ivan and Magdalena Bucić produce according to the field-to-table system because they do almost everything on their property. The Bucići came from Selin near Starigrad, hungry for bread. They managed well in the agricultural area, and their descendants continued to enjoy the fruits of generations of work. OPG Bucić grows its own wheat, which is used to feed the treasures. Sows live happily in the hovel, and numerous piglets run around their home until the fateful day comes when they will become a gastronomic hit. This kind of rounded production requires only minimal trips to the store.
Ivan says the big push was the ownership of the family land, tractors, and machinery he inherited from his father. The parents still live on the farm, so the division of work is also harmonious. Father and mother deal with pigs, Ivan with processing, and Magdalena with administration, sales, and marketing. Sowing, ploughing, sowing, and harvesting are those moments when the whole family is in the field, certainly with a lot of joy, which is an old folk custom.
During the tour of the pigsties, the hosts show us the German Landras and the large Yorkshire varieties, the white pig varieties that are by far the most popular in Slavonia. Although the black Slavonian pig is increasingly making its way into the culinary world, the Bucići are sure that the traditional taste of the white pig prevails. Their fattening has been prolonged, so the pigs weigh over 170 kilos. Namely, for a good kulen, you need mature meat, not the meat of a young pig. The best is a pig that has been fattened for about a year.
The most important thing for kulen is to choose first-class meat, explains Ivan. Kulen ripens between 150 and 160 days. There are no additives in this kulen, and the spices are domestically produced. The family grows garlic, while the paprika comes from a trusted producer in Beli Manastir. The salt is sea salt. These are all advantages of family production. As Magdalena says, nothing is put into this kulen that the family itself would not want to eat.
It can easily be seen in the cross-section of the kulen, which has a slightly darker color than those bought in large stores. That red color may look nice, but it is certainly not healthy for our bodies! That is why these meat products can be used to feed people who cannot eat kulen with additives due to health problems. Kulen has its own characteristic smell; it must be juicy and not too dry. It is heart-shaped because it is the appearance of the intestines, but no two kulen are alike in shape. Traditionally, one kulen was made from one pig. Logically, the pig has one intestine, which in processing is called Katarina, so that intestine was kept and used at a particular time. Today, hoses are bought so that production can be maintained.
Slavonian kulen must be a little spicier. The spiciness should not dominate the taste, but it must still be stronger than the sausage. OPG Bucić has found a golden mean so that even those people who cannot eat spicy can still enjoy this kulen. Slavonians know how to enjoy themselves. That means overdoing it, Ivan tells us as he opens a new bottle of top-quality sylvan from Orahovac. Kulen is a durable product that can be kept vacuum-packed in the refrigerator for up to three months. We do not guarantee that even one will last that long because it is too delicious to resist! After all, for three years, Bucići won the champion among culinary artists!
In addition to kulen, as the first and leading product, homemade sausage is made on the estate, and a new product is a mild sausage made from the same meat as for kulen, with pepper and garlic, but without paprika. It is light, for everyday use, and Ivan jokes that he eats it instead of salad. They also make excellent bacon, kulen cut, dry neck sirloin, buncek, cracklings, and lard. Pig slaughtering is done every month and takes a week of work when about 15 fattened pigs are processed.
Two wonderful ponds add to the whole experience of a summer visit to OPG Bucić. The beautiful pavilion next to the pond is where tastings and visits can be organized, and the pastoral nature of the 15 or so sheep who try to keep the grass from getting too high. Given that a large amount of dried meat products and fats are sold on the doorstep, a visit to Orahovica cannot be complete without a visit to OPG Bucić!
Stjepana Radića 53, Donja Pištana, Orahovica