Friday, October 17, 2014

Eating on Hvar

We absolutely loved the Croatian cuisine! Everything was fresh, local and delicious! While we did make most of our meals with produce we purchased at the market in Stari Grad, we had a few memorable meals out and about.
Fresh produce on the island
Antika- located on a side street in Stari Grad, we randomly chose this spot because it looked slightly off the beaten path. We were very lucky we did because we had a delicious meal. Kent ordered beef medallions with truffle sauce and I had a fresh tuna steak that was perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary. The waiter was very entertaining and the music was a mix of the best classic rock songs.

Konoba Kokot- technically described as in Stari Grad, this charming family-run restaurant is actually in the village of Dol, which sits in the mountains above Stari Grad. We arrived later in the evening so unfortunately we missed the sunset, but we imagine it would have been incredible from this location. We started our meal with complimentary shots of a herb schnapps then ordered the sheep cheese appetizer, which was made with milk from the owner's flock of sheep, one of the only remaining flocks on the island. We were told that the restaurant's specialty was local boar so Kent ordered a burger and I ordered a ragu with gnocchi. I got the better deal. While we were stuffed to the brim, a complimentary dessert of fried dough balls covered in cinnamon and sugar arrived, shortly followed by another free offering of carmel custard. We could barely walk by the time we left! And we had doggy bags that provided the following day's lunch.
View of the island from the village of Dol
Taverna Milina- we stopped at this small beachside village located halfway between the beautiful beach of Uvala Dubovica and Hvar City. While Kent had originally researched a restaurant online before we set out, when we arrived, we couldn't remember where exactly it was located so we stopped at one that looked crowded and offered a lovely waterfront location. It's always a risk when you pick a restaurant based on its view but this time we got lucky! Taverna Milina had fresh seafood pastas in heaping proportions. I ordered a tuna salad and seafood linguini while Kent got a caprese salad with lobster gnocchi.
Beautiful seaside setting at Taverna Milina
The beautiful beach of Uvala Dubovica
Giaxa- after a rainy day on the island, we looked to Giaxa to provide us shelter from the storm. Unfortunately they were completely booked inside but offered us a table outside under an awning. Given we were already drenched, we said fine. The menu looked incredible so I chose the octopus salad and stuffed gnocchi with asparagus sauce (I know, so much gnocchi on this trip) and my fiance got the shark salad and fish with vegetables. When the amuse bouche and fresh olives arrived, we were very excited for this fine dining experience. However, the food did not live up to it's promises. It was generally flavorless and over cooked. To top things off, the heaviest rain came during our main course dropping a waterfall all around us. The only bright side was the friendly staff.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Holiday on Hvar

We hit the Homeaway jackpot! The beautiful house that we rented on the island of Hvar, outside the town of Stari Grad, in the tiny village of Rudina, was exactly what we were looking for: relaxing, close to the water and ruggedly beautiful. The wonderful couple, Mare and Ankica, who's family has owned the land for more than 500 years, stayed in the home next door and provided helpful recommendations about what to do each day and told colorful stories about what life was like in the former Yugoslavia.
Mare and Ankica with Heffe
We spent our days exploring the island, hiking on the rocks around the Bay, preparing meals with fresh food from the garden, dining out at delicious restaurants and drinking local wine and brandy.

The structure of the house is more than 500 years old
The Kabal peninsula is a 10 min. walk from the house.
The highlight of our stay was the incredible meal Ankica prepared for us. It consisted of bruschetta with anchovies, sheep cheese and olives, squid ink risotto, Octopus peka, fresh salad and tomatoes, flan, plums and local white wine. All of the ingredients were fresh and came directly from the island. Mare and Ankica were so nice, they let us keep the leftovers!

Ankica preparing the peka
The finished product: Octopus peka, a Croatian specialty