From October 7 to 10, Split was the gastronomic centre of the Mediterranean - the seventh edition of the international gastronomic festival Taste the Mediterranean was successfully held. The festival, which celebrates gastronomy, Mediterranean food, cultural heritage and lifestyle, brought together top chefs crowned with Michelin stars and Gault & Millau streams in the Mediterranean bloom, along with numerous lecturers, panellists and gastro enthusiasts from around the world.
After an extraordinary dinner on the stone tables of the Split Peškarija, which chef Zlatko Marinović Noštromo turned into the most luxurious restaurant on Wednesday night, decorated with flowers, olive branches, grapes and other Mediterranean fruits, the guests enjoyed the finest fish specialties and oysters to the Papal broth whose recipe dates from 1177, on Thursday morning, at the Briig Boutique Hotel in Split, followed the official opening of the 7th International Taste the Mediterranean Festival.
"This festival contributes to the promotion of Croatia as an oeno-gastronomic destination. And in the new circumstances, the exchange of experiences is one of the most important elements for joint European tourism promotion", said Tonči Glavina, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara welcomed guests to a city that exudes Mediterranean culture at every turn. "It was not easy to organize the festival in such conditions, but all the chefs responded with enthusiasm, although it is extremely difficult for everyone," said Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, director of Taste the Mediterranean, who also mentioned the action of "two to twelve" Croatian caterers affected by the corona crisis.
Following a panel on the importance of the Mediterranean diet in the development of sustainable tourism, at which the Spanish Ambassador to Croatia, H.E. Alonso Dezcallar de Mazarredo spoke about the Spanish experience. As part of the Day of Spain, the partner country of this year's festival, a presentation of Spanish products from "jamon iberico" Spanish prosciutto, to cheese and salted anchovies and olive oil was held, and delicious snacks were prepared by the most famous Spanish chef, Maria José San Roman, from Monastrell restaurant in Alicante, which is also an ambassador of the Spanish Mediterranean diet and has one Michelin star.
"We are united by a common climate, with the same ingredients, and each of us has his own culinary identity related to the traditions of our countries" said the chef who arrived in Split with a group of top chefs from other countries. These are Flora Mikula from France, Beatriz Gonzalez from Mexico, Keiko Nagae from Japan, Georgiana Viou from Benin and Dina Nikolaou from Greece. All of them have joined the newly established Mediterranean Women Chefs platform, which advocates for a better position for women in gastronomy. The panel dedicated to this topic was hosted by the French Ambassador to Croatia, H.E. Gaël Veyssière and Gender Equality Ombudsman Višnja Ljubičić. All chefs held masterclasses for students of Split catering schools, TUŠ and Oliva Allegra, and were joined by pastry chef Dragica Lukin, chef Vesna Miletić from the restaurant Tač and the youngest Croatian chef Monika Ninčević, from the restaurant N.20, from the ACI marina Piškeri. Chefs Ippei Uemura, who presented the Japanese fish processing technique using Mediterranean ingredients, chef Marin Rendić from the restaurant Apetit by Marin Rendić from Zagreb, who held a masterclass for Aspira high school students, and chef Fabricio Vežnaver and chef Hrvoje Zirojević also taught at the schools.
As part of the Spanish day, a tasting of Spanish wines was organized, led by Siniša Koceić and Alen Gulan from vinolike.com, and an exclusive Spanish dinner at the Median restaurant of the Briig Hotel was prepared by chef Maria José San Roman and chef Jerko Roso. The famous Split chef Ivan Pažanin, in his restaurant Štorija, hosted the top Istrian chef Fabricio Vežnaver from the restaurant Pergola from Zambratija, near Umag. Their menu included specialties such as Adriatic shrimp with apple and almond, lamb T-bone and deconstruction of apple pie, and the wines of the evening were selected labels from the Krauthaker winery.
The top dinner in the Zrno Soli restaurant was prepared together by chef Ippei Uemura and chef host Stjepan Vukadin. At the same time, the kitchen of the Zora restaurant was occupied by women: five foreign guests with local chefs Sandra Tahirović and Vesna Miletić prepared a women's spectacle of taste paired with the wines of the Testament winery.
Taste the Mediterranean has established a special cooperation with Greece, so the event was visited by the mayor of Aristoteles, Mr. Stylianos Valianos and the mayor of Cassandra, Anastasia Chalkia. The delegation was received by the Mayor of Split, Andro Krstulović Opara, and the Mayor of Šolta, Nikola Cecić-Karuzić. After the presentation of the unique wine of Mount Athos and the gastronomic event Kouzina Feast, guests enjoyed the top menu of chef Toni Miloš paired with wines Veralda Xtrian Brut 2017, Jakopić Rose 2017, Pošip Dom Kalebić 2019, Tomić Illyricum 2016 and Jakopić Sauvignon 2017 .
The exclusive final dinner of the festival was held in the restaurant Bokeria kitchen & wine, where the guest chef Hrvoje Zirojević, from the restaurant Laganini, Palmižana and the hosts - the chef team Klara Maleš, Karla Katavić, Maša Zeleni and Ante Tutavac joined forces.
The rich three-day program was filled with wine workshops, culinary masterclasses, presentations, panels and exclusive dinners, and the Taste the Mediterannean festival once again highlighted the importance of sharing experiences, learning from top professionals and other cultures - to promote beauty, customs, gastronomy and the way of life of beautiful Mediterranean destinations.
Find out more about the festival at: http://www.tastethemediterranean.eu/hr/
Photos and Text: Danira Orešić, Light Komunikacije, www.lightkomunikacije.hr