A Festival to remember
From October 7 to 10, Split was the gastronomic center of the Mediterranean due to the 7th edition of the international gastronomic festival Taste the Mediterranean. The festival, which celebrates gastronomy, Mediterranean food, cultural heritage and lifestyle, brought together top chefs crowned with Michelin stars and Gault & Millau toques, along with numerous lecturers, panelists and gastro enthusiasts from around the world.
During an extraordinary dinner, on Wednesday night, on the white stone tables of Split’s Fish market, that chef Zlatko Marinović-Noštromo turned into the most luxurious restaurant, decorated with flowers, olive branches, grapes and other Mediterranean fruits, the guests enjoyed his finest fish specialties, such as oysters and sea eggs, sea anemones and trips from monkfish and the Papal “brodetto” whose recipe dates from 1177. The official opening of the festival was on Thursday morning, at the Briig Boutique Hotel in Split.
“This festival contributes to the promotion of Croatia as an eno-gastronomic destination. And in the new circumstances, the exchange of experiences is one of the most important elements for joint European tourism promotion “- said Tonči Glavina, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, while Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara welcomed the guests to the city that exudes Mediterranean culture at every turn. “It was not easy to organize the festival in such conditions, but all the chefs responded with enthusiasm, although it is extremely difficult for everyone,” said Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, director of Taste the Mediterranean, who also mentioned the action of “two minutes to twelve” by the Croatian restaurateurs deeply affected by the corona crisis.
The first panel discussion was dedicated to the importance of the Mediterranean diet in the development of sustainable tourism. The Spanish Ambassador to Croatia, H.E. Alonso Dezcallar de Mazarredo spoke about the Spanish experience. As part of the Day of Spain, the partner country of this year’s festival, there was a presentation of Spanish products: “jamon iberico”, cheese, salted anchovies and olive oil, while some snacks were prepared by the most famous Spanish woman chef, Maria José San Roman, from Monastrell restaurant in Alicante. The chef is the ambassador of the Spanish Mediterranean diet and has one Michelin star. “We are united by a common climate, a common environment, the same ingredients, but each of us has its own culinary identity related to the traditions of our countries.” – said Maria José San Roman who arrived in Split with a group of top women chefs from other countries. These are Flora Mikula from France, Beatriz Gonzalez from Mexico, Keiko Nagae from Japan, Georgiana Viou from Benin and Dina Nikolaou from Greece. All of them have joined the newly established Mediterranean Women Chefs platform, which advocates for a better position for women in gastronomy. The panel dedicated to this topic was hosted by the French Ambassador to Croatia, H.E. Gaël Veyssière and Gender Equality Ombudsperson Višnja Ljubičić. All chefs held masterclasses for students of Split catering schools and were joined by pastry chef Dragica Lukin, chef Vesna Miletić from restaurant Tač, in Zagreb and the youngest Croatian chef Monika Ninčević, from restaurant N.20, in the ACI marina Piškera. Chef Ippei Uemura, who presented the Japanese fish cutting technique using Mediterranean ingredients, chef Marin Rendić from restaurant Apetit by Marin Rendić in Zagreb, chef Fabricio Vežnaver from the famous Istrian restaurant Pergola and chef Hrvoje Zirojević, from restaurant Laganini on Palmižana had their own masterclass.
As part of the Spanish day, a tasting of Spanish wines was led by Siniša Koceić and Alen Gulan from vinolike.com, and an exclusive Spanish dinner at the Median restaurant of Boutique Hotel Briig was prepared by chef Maria José San Roman and chef Jerko Roso. The famous Split chef Ivan Pažanin, in his restaurant Štorija, hosted the top Istrian chef Fabricio Vežnaver. Their menu included specialties such as Adriatic shrimp with apple and almond, lamb T-bone and deconstruction of apple pie, and the wines of the evening were selected labels from the Krauthaker winery.
The top dinner in Zrno Soli restaurant was prepared together by Japanese chef Ippei Uemura from restaurant Tabi in Marseille and chef host Stjepan Vukadin. The food was paired with the exceptional wines of Tonči Marijan’s winery, from the island of Hvar. At the same time, the kitchen of Zora bila restaurant was occupied by women: five foreign chefs guests with local chefs Sandra Tahirović and Vesna Miletić prepared a women’s spectacle of taste paired with the wines of Testament winery.
Taste the Mediterranean has established a special cooperation with Greece, so the event was visited by the mayor of Aristoteles, Mr. Stylianos Valianos and the mayor of Cassandra, Anastasia Chalkia. The delegation was received by the Mayor of Split, Andro Krstulović Opara, and the Mayor of Šolta, Nikola Cecić-Karuzić. After the presentation of the unique wine trail on Mount Athos and the gastronomic event Kouzina Feast, guests enjoyed the top menu by chef Toni Miloš paired with wines Veralda Xtrian Brut 2017, Jakopić Rose 2017, Pošip Dom Kalebić 2019, Tomić Illyricum 2016 and Jakopić Sauvignon 2017.
The final dinner of the festival was held in the restaurant Bokeria kitchen & wine, where guest chef Hrvoje Zirojević, from restaurant Laganini, on Palmižana island and the Bokeria’s kitchen team joined forces to prepare the exclusive dinner.
The rich three-day program was filled with wine workshops, culinary masterclasses, presentations, panels and exclusive dinners. Taste the Mediterranean festival highlighted once again the importance of sharing experiences, learning from top professionals and other cultures – to promote the food, the wines, the gastronomy and the way of life of the beautiful Mediterranean destinations.Find out more about the festival at: tastethemediterranean.eu.