On the sun-drenched terrace of the Televrin Hotel, pleasure moves across the tables. Pleasant conversations with the locals of Nerezine grow into an unexpected insight into the history of this beautiful hotel that adorns every view from the centre of Nerezine, a small place at the foot of the hill Osoršćica, after whose highest peak this hotel was named. We arrived in Nerezine to enjoy the spring flavours of young island lamb, and we didn’t even know how rich this place is with heritage and stories!
After the first few sips of Velebit's Hajdučka travarica, we learn that the owner of the Televrin hotel, Martina Pütz, is sitting next to us at the table. She and her late husband Karl-Heinz renovated this hotel and run it with a lot of dedication and love. Outside, a spring burin wind is blowing, only slightly moving the boats in the port, but the sun is already shining well on Nerezine, a place that lived for centuries as a home of farmers and shepherds, and then the people turned to the sea and fishing. Nerezine still has a small shipyard that was and remains famous for its craftsmen and making of wooden boats.
This tradition seems to be reflected in the menu of the Televrin restaurant. A quick deal with the waiter Miro Bjelanović brings us to an interesting plate that embodies the whole story of the hotel. It’s a perfectly cool and refreshing tuna carpaccio stuffed with dried figs on a chicory and lettuce base, and it’s as if the German spirit is adding its presence with mustard poured all over the dish. Televrin is known for this dish, Miro tells us as he pours Merlot from the Istrian Laguna winery.
Peering into the interior of the restaurant, we come across a series of old paintings that take us back to some past times when there was a big hat in Nerezine. Here are pictures of the building of today's hotel, which was erected between 1905 and 1909. Before that, it could not even exist, explains the owner Martina, pointing to an old picture of Nerezine. Namely, the port was all the way to the square, and in today's park, boats and fishing boats were moored. The building was thus literally built on a maritime estate and to this day stands on concrete pillars on the embankment!
Today in Televrin, guests enjoy thirteen double rooms and two suites, all of which have retained their flair of the Austro-Hungarian Riviera. Televrin was built by that state and it was the seat of the municipality of Nerezine. In those early years of the twentieth century, Nerezine had a ferry line twice a week with Rijeka on which agricultural products were transported, but also emigrants who sought their happiness in the distant seas or the new world. Later, the building served as a kindergarten, school, local home, and when it was taken over by Lošinjska plovidba, a restaurant was opened here. Today, it is difficult to determine a better function for Televrin than the dream of the Pütz couple.
All those Nerezine people who came, went and stayed in this place, enjoyed special occasions in a typical dish of the Kvarner islands - lamb žgvacet. Unlike its better-known Istrian cousin, which is made from chickens, on Cres and Lošinj it is made from Cres lamb and Cres sheep, which is an autochthonous Croatian sheep breed on these two islands. Cres sheep stay outdoors all year round, grazing herbs that are fragrant, clean, spiced with salt brought by the bura wind and caressed by the sun.
We additionally enjoyed the mastery of chef Jozo Paradžik, a young chef who replaced Herzegovinian karst with Lošinj's nine years ago and who combined šurlice with extremely tasty lamb, masterfully made to be soft and full of flavour. Jozo tells us that spring and autumn are the best times to enjoy the gastronomic achievements of the island of Lošinj, because then the culinary art and island tradition can be highlighted enough. In summer, when tourists flock in large numbers, the poor gastronomic knowledge of guests does not leave much room to return to the old recipes of the sea, garden and pastureland.
Antonio Belušanec, a waiter who comes from Macedonia, arrives and entertains us with the famous dessert from Televrin: pancakes with vanilla ice cream and forest fruits. For this sweet beauty, it is worth pulling all the way to Lošinj, an island of fragrance that will delight every true lover of peace, olive groves, the sea and typical Mediterranean vegetation.
Televrin Restaurant & Hotel
Obala nerezinskih pomoraca 21, 51554 Nerezine