Dalmatia

A typical traveler will recommend it for its natural beauty, Mediterranean climate and rich cultural heritage. Many visitors will compare it with Italy. Indeed, the ancient Dalmatian architecture and art are the legacy of the Italian rule from centuries ago. The unique blend of the ancient Roman culture and the local Slavic influences can be observed in many towns and cities across the region, such as Dubrovnik, Korčula, Spilt, Trogir, Zadar, etc.

 

The typical features of these places include glossy promenades, narrow lanes winding through the historic centre, rows of white stone houses with green shutters and possibly (the remains of) fortified walls.

 

A common scene on any postcard from Dalmatia will display a stunning coastline with myriad verdant islands, limpid bays, hidden coves and pristine beaches, as well as city skylines marked with church steeples and ship masts glistening in the summer sun.

flavours of croatia
Gastronomy

Of course, there is so much more to Dalmatia than meets the eye. Apart from the historic attractions and incredible beauty of the natural setting, Dalmatia boasts the most excellent gastronomy. The Italian influence extends as far as cuisine: the practice of eating out in traditional wooden-beamed taverns, the menu consisting of brodettos, grilled fish or roasted meat, vegetables and olive oil.

 

There is always a combination of fresh ingredients and Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, basil, thyme, bay leaves and sage. The traditional dishes of the region which deserve every foodie’s attention include: fish stews, stewed mussels and oysters, pašticada, peka and soparnik.

Prosciutto
flavors of croatia

A typical Dalmatian snack (or cold starter) consists of local sheep or goat cheese, olive oil, home-made pickled olives and the pride of Dalmatian pig farms – prosciutto, locally known as ‘pršut’.

 

The best Dalmatian prosciutto is made on the hinterland side of the Velebit, Mosor and Biokovo mountains.

Seafood

A varied fish menu offered by Dalmatian restaurants typically includes sea bream, sea bass, dentex, John Dory, monkfish, amberjack, cod, tuna, sardines, sprat and pier. There is little variety when it comes to fish preparation styles in Dalmatia – it is either served boiled in a soup or char-grilled and garnished with steamed chard.

 

Other locally caught seafood, such as octopus, squid, cuttlefish and Adriatic prawns can be found in many different dishes: soups/brodettos, the ‘buzara’ stew (seafood sautéed with garlic, olive oil, parsley and white wine) pasta sauces, risottos, pizzas, etc.

 

Shellfish fans will enjoy traditional dishes prepared with fresh mussels in Mali Ston, Pelješac, while the adventurous foodies may like to try frog or eel dishes served by restaurants in the Neretva valley.

Typical dishes
food tours croatia

Meat lovers will be introduced to several interesting meat preparation methods: lamb slowly roasted on a spit, veal prepared in a pot on the fireplace under a heavy bell-shaped iron lid called ‘peka’, marinated beef tenderloin slowly cooked in a fragrant stew made of root vegetables, local spices, prunes or dried figs and red wine (the dish locally known as ‘Pašticada’).

 

Vegetarians and vegans might be interested in trying a traditional chard & onion pie (called Poljički soparnik) baked on a fireplace under a giant lid.

Deserts

Dalmatian dessert lists will invariably comprise at least one of the following: rozata – the local version of crème caramel (particularly favoured in Dubrovnik), fritule – aromatised mini doughnuts, and traditional spiced biscuits and pastry, some of which may be filled with dried fruit, almonds and honey (e.g. paprenjak, smokvenjak, kroštule or the Trogir rafioli).

 

Unfortunately, these authentic desserts have become uncommon in a majority of restaurants across Dalmatia, which apparently prefer to offer international sweets such as cakes, crepes and ice-cream. The good news is that you can still try these old-fashioned treats in traditional Dalmatian taverns (locally referred to as konoba), fine food shops or at local produce fairs.

Wines
wine tours croatia

The warm Mediterranean climate of Croatia’s southernmost wine region is ideal for the cultivation of grape varieties used in making fruity and full-bodied wines. The traditional Dalmatian cultivars, like Pošip, Debit, Maraština and Kujundžuša make excellent white wines, while Crljenak, Babić, Plavac Mali, Dingač and Postup make fabulous reds.

 

The region’s most prolific wine makers cultivate their vines on sunny, sea-facing hill slopes in Kaštela, Hvar, Korčula and Pelješac. However, the hinterland vineyards in the areas of Benkovac and Imotski, also produce award-winning wines.

One of the leading cultivars in California and the most cherished wines in the US, Zinfandel, happens to have its origins in Kaštela near Split, where the original variety is still cultivated, but under the name of Crljenak or Tribidrag.

 

A number of Dalmatian wine makers, such as Bibich, Stina, Plenković and the Dingač winery have built international reputation and their wines are now served in some of the world’s best restaurants. However, recent years have seen a surge in high-quality boutique wineries. These smaller winegrowers producing top of the range artisanal wines are in the focus of our tours.

 

With us you will be able to visit both the prominent wineries, whose wines you are already familiar with, and the exciting small ones, where you will taste their distinctive and highly aromatic wines and receive the full attention of the owner.

wine tours croatia
ECO farming
wine tours croatia

Have you ever wondered what would it be like to live in a remote ancient village on one of Dalmatian islands? Where you literally have nothing to do, but sit in front of your old stone house and glare at the sea, after all farm work has been done.

 

An increasing number of tourists today seek alternative forms of holiday, far away from the hustle and bustle of popular tourist hubs and beaches. Sustainable models of rural tourism, which include high standard of on-site accommodation in converted traditional Dalmatian houses or old farm buildings and practical day courses in growing and cooking local food, are currently in high demand.

 

Moreover, many visitors love to participate in the preservation of cultural heritage and the restoration of old farms and other buildings. Such ‘ecotherapy’ holidays invariably include walking or biking tours or other forms of active tourism, such as farm work activities, harvests, fishing or rock climbing.