The sweetest Istrian festival, the event Sweet Istria in Vižinada, on Monday, August 14, duly marked its silver jubilee: as many as 241 collections of homemade cakes were registered for the 25th edition of this all-Istrian exhibition of traditional Istrian cakes. We won't say that all these cakes were baked by housewives, because among them 120 there were also several men, but we will assert that the skill of preparing traditional Istrian cakes is successfully passed on to younger generations, since among the contestants was an 11-year-old girl from Krasica, a 12-year-old girl from Oskoruša in Bujština, but also a fifteen-year-old boy.
The day before the big festival, all the cakes were evaluated by an expert jury consisting of Sandra Živolić, Franjo Milotić (both are professors of cooking at the Eugen Kumičić Vocational School in Rovinj), Deputy Prefect of Istria Jessica Acquavita, gastro-journalist Davor Šišović and Klaudija Pilato from the Concettino bakery-patisserie. It was judged in nine categories, and the champions were declared in each category: Renata Gašparini from Višnjan for fritters, Marija Pastorčić from Pazin for sugar cookies, Mileva Pastorčić from Vela Traba near Pazin for paštini, Nevija Gardoš from Krasica for bucolaj, Danijela Koraca from the village of Vejaki from Višnjan for pinca, Dorjana Tončić from Livado for kroštula, Jolanda Hrastić from Vela Traba near Pazin for povetica, Nevija Lukšić from Pazin for pandešpanja and Brigit Ferenac from the village of Ferenci near Vižinada for breskvice.
In the school sports hall in Vižinada, all the cakes were displayed and offered for tasting and a charity sale, which raised funds for the outdoor classroom of the Vižinada Regional School.
In Sweet Istria, a sweet Istrian and world record was presented: Alida Vadanjel from the pastry shop Antica from Pazin, kneaded and baked the largest sugar cookie in the world! This mega-candy measures 60x40 cm, weighs 3.30 kg, and 2 kg of flour, 0.7 kg of sugar, half a kilo of butter, 2.5 dl of oil, and 10 eggs were used in its preparation. Peel of 2 oranges and 4 lemons and 5 dkg of ammonia. After the presentation, the largest sugar candy in the world was offered for tasting to the visitors of Slatka Istria. The guests from Barban presented the Barban wedding, prepared by Mirjana Prgomet, another traditional dessert that has been successfully revitalized and saved from oblivion.
During the evening, housewives Davorka Ritoša and Laura Kešac showed how to prepare pandešpanja, one of the most valued Istrian desserts made from only three ingredients, at Maraston House. Top wines and oils from the Vižinada area are offered for tasting in the park near the old school.
A sweet evening in Vižinada was concluded with cultural and entertainment programs, with performances by the brass band ZT Vižinada and the Replay band and Mladen Grdović.
Text: Branka Mihaljinec, www.premium-image.hr
Photos: Sebastijan Skoko