“I have never eaten a piece of frozen fish in my life,” said the guide who met us at the airport and escorted us to our hotel in Split.
This was my first inkling of what to expect in Croatian cuisine. The guide knew I was interested in food and had read my blog.
Fresh, locally sourced and always seasonal: all the goals we in the West, or at least the Westside of Los Angeles, strive for.
We saw gorgeous fields of lavender and sampled fresh lavender honey. We saw wild bushes of caper berries and found the capers in jars at the local markets.We saw luscious seasonal fruit and ate the best nectarines and peaches we had ever tasted.
We met women from small villages who brought home-baked goods, filled with seasonal greens and feta, to the weekly open air markets.
In all the open air markets we also found homemade candied orange or lemon peel. This is a slightly bitter, crunchy, sweet, chewy slice of deliciousness. My Croatian guide and I tasted samples at all the stalls until we found the one that had the perfect combination of sweet, orange and bitter. I brought home one bag to photograph and serve at my next party, but it disappeared before I could take any pictures. My friends and taste tasters did their job well.
Each night at dinner, the fish was so fresh, there was no “catch of the day” but catch of the hour. Vera wasn’t as excited as I was to meet the whole fish before it went to the grill, but I thought it was great.
We also ate amazing local oysters, prepared three ways and a special Ston Cake made from walnuts, and almonds, and pasta.
Everywhere we went, there was an abundance of just caught fish, glorious succulent fruit, seasonal vegetables and a philosophy that says “use everything you have and honor the season”.