At sunset, the sea turns golden around Pašman, a light wind sways the pomegranate branches on which the dim multi-coloured lights are spread, while the sweet smell of immortelle penetrates a few lucky people who enjoy under the canopy. This is how we imagine the future meeting in the family farm Mađerić in Pašman. Not far from this dream. Ljiljana Mađerić just needs to set up a couple of tables and chairs in her magical garden, because everything else is already there. Nature has made sure that her family always has work to do because Pašman is an island extremely rich in plants and immortelle of our Mediterranean climate!
While we wait for the chairs and summer, we try the great products that Ljiljana makes in her home. She comes from Bosnia and from a family that has always learned about plants in nature to preserve the health of loved ones. She later enrolled in phytotherapy and aromatherapy courses and gained expertise in natural health, which she has used in her work for over twenty years. While her husband works on a ship, and her children Lucija and Ivan study in Zagreb, Ljiljana lives in love with the sea and Pašman, fascinated by plants from the island. As we listen to her life journey, we try out the items on display.
We try the latest product from the Mađerić family farm on toasted bread. It is an olive spread that is specific because it does not have the astringency that can be found in some similar olive-based spreads. This spread was done with anchovies, and the idea for it came during an expert trip to Provence. This is a great combination of flavours, as bitter olives and salted anchovies combine into a balanced spread. The new product is a complete hit!
Then we try the tuna pate on which Ljiljana put sea fennel, creating another great combination of flavours! Sea fennel is harvested by the sea, on rocks and in the sand, in May. Great for cleansing the body, sea fennel is put in brine and can be used all year round. Its taste is divine, so in ancient myths, it was the food of the gods.
Fritters are unavoidable, unusually soft and extremely tasty, and with them is a whole range of sweet marmalades, of which Ljiljana especially likes the mandarin one. There is also pomegranate molasses here, which is conceived as a topping for ice creams and cakes but goes great in a variety of sweet combinations. Marmalades are also made from figs and bitter oranges, there is also lemon jam. The syrup is currently being made from sage leaves and flower, which is also a big hit. Along with the mountain of fritters that Ljiljana prepared for us at the speed of light, there are also shiny candied almonds on the table. Many of these sweet things carry the Croatian Island Product (HOP) label. No wonder everything sells fast, so be quick when choosing a product!
When the plant harvest season starts, Ljiljana is best found on the slopes of the Pašman hills. Herbs are used for teas, brandies, liqueurs, spreads, but also for essential oils. The Mediterranean islands have already given their soul to aromatherapy because it is pure nature, there is not much traffic, and a whole part of the island is semi-wild, uncultivated with olives. Speaking of olives, the HOP label is also carried by extra virgin olive oil, which the family makes from about three hundred olive trees. No wonder for an island covered in olives!
There used to be a vine next to every olive grove, but today Pašman does not have much of its own wine. Here, too, the Mađerićs are in the lead because they take care of 800 vines of Plavina and Babić, from which they make bottled wine Branko, named after Ljiljana's father-in-law. The drinkable black blend of these two very Dalmatian varieties goes great with the products we have savoured and each glass requires another. While still standing on both feet, we look at a wall filled with teas from every plant we can think of.
Dreamy puppets watch us as we try the delicacies of the Mađerić family farm, which seem to be wondering, dreaming or fantasizing. Behind them are angels who keep lavender soaps, but also other cosmetic products, among which the most famous are immortelle face cream and St. John's wort balm. We also found an Easter corner that replaced the winter offer, and will soon arrive in the summer as well, with boats and other common summer vistas. All this is done by hand, using mostly natural materials such as cut vines or various discarded papers. In moments of inspiration, images with motifs of fantasy and bright nights are created here.
We certainly would not lack inspiration in this beautiful garden with camellias, pomegranates, roses, but somehow the best artistic expression comes to us after drinking a great prosecco that enchants with its dull copper colour and sweet-honey taste!
All this is part of the magical world of the Mađerić family farm, and it is not difficult to reach:
Pašman 3, 23262 Pašman, island of Pašman
+385 98 943 20 51 | Ljiljana Mađerić
Photos: Cristiano Diaz