The splendour of Mediterranean gastronomy presented at the Taste the Mediterranean festival in Split
The 9th International Taste the Mediterranean Festival was held in Split from Wednesday, October 6, to Saturday, October 9, bringing together 25 top world and local chefs whose restaurants were awarded Michelin stars and Gault & Millau toques. Split, as an authentic Mediterranean centre, has shown a wide range of its gastronomic offer: The Festival began with fine dining, expanded to city taverns and restaurants, and ended in the magical landscape of Omiš and Cetina canyon, where foreign chefs and guests of the festival in Arsana Tasting House and Radman mills discovered traditional Dalmatian specialties.
Chefs from seven countries were guests in the Split restaurants Dvor, Kadena, Kinoteka, Hotel Park, Zora bila and Zrno Soli and together with the host chefs prepared gala dinners of six or more courses accompanied by top wines. The Taste the Mediterranean cocktail by Botanist cheered up the Festival guests on a rainy evening. The exclusive feast at the opening dinner in the Split fish market was prepared by chef Zlatko Marinović Noštromo, whose original recipes were paired with the wines of the Krauthaker Winery. At the Park Hotel, chef Goran Šikić and cheffe Maria Jimenez Latorre presented the rich Spanish gastronomy. The Mediterranean specialties of chef Braco Sanjin and guest chefs Lionel Levy, Fabricio Vežnaver and Clement Higgins in the Kadena restaurant were excellently accompanied by the wines of the Istrian Winery Degrassi. The dinner signed by chefs Hrvoje Zirojević, Laëtitia Visse and Antony Germani in the Dvor restaurant was paired with wines from the Tomić Winery. Chef Marko Đurašević with guests – chef Michael Gollenz and chef Ippei Uemura – prepared dinner in the Kinoteka restaurant, and Italian heroic wines were paired. The participants of the Festival in the restaurant Zrno Soli were hosted by chef Stjepan Vukadin, and his guests were chefs Anastasios Paraskevaidis, Jure Tomič and Claude Krajner. At the Zora bila restaurant chefs Sandra and Dane Tahirović, hosted chefs Coline Faulquier and Deni Srdoč, as well as the Galić Winery.
“I am extremely glad that we have further expanded the content and offer with the ninth Taste the Mediterranean festival. With our numerous partners, we have realized a successful international event, which in the best way promotes the Split-Dalmatia County as an exciting gastronomic destination. It is equally important to us that we bring renowned chefs to the Festival, ready to selflessly share their knowledge and experience, especially with future chefs – students of catering schools. That is why we are optimistic about the 10th jubilee festival “– said Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, director of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival.
For the first time as part of the festival, “Nights of Split restaurants” were held in cooperation with the Tommy retail chain, a premium partner of the Festival. For two evenings, the Split restaurants Atlantida, Bajamonti, Brasserie on 7, Bokeria, Corto Maltese, Dujkin dvor, Fantažija, Konoba Fetivi, Konoba Marul, Laganini, Mazzgoon, Pandora Greenbox, Portofino, Sidi bar and Šug, offered a special three-course Mediterranean menu with a glass of wine at a price of up to 210 kuna. This unique enogastronomic experience of the Split citizens and guests was completed by Bobis’ famous Split cake.
The Festival was opened by Split Mayor Ivica Puljak and Sandra Herman, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. The central events were held at the official Festival hotel Briig Boutique, where interesting panel discussions were held on the challenges of business in the hospitality industry. The panel “Restaurants during and after Covid” was attended by: Jelena Tabak – President of the National Association of Croatian Caterers, Filip Verbanac – Director of the Department of Spirits and Catering Coca Cola HBC for Adria, Ivo Vrdoljak – owner of the restaurant Zrno Soli, chefs and restaurant owners Vesna Miletić (Tač) and Ippei Uemura (Tabi, Marseille). They especially emphasized that the biggest problem for the hospitality sector is the lack of quality workforce, which can guarantee top service.
The panel “Zero Waste: the importance of waste management in the hospitality and hotel industry” brought together Petra Boić Petrač – WWF Adria’s communications director, Lionel Levy – president of the French Gourméditerranée, Francesco Pantalone – director of the Bellevue Hotel in Lošinj, and Suzana Musa – director of Veneficus. A very lively discussion also developed on the panel “Learn and make your dreams come true”. Young cheffes Tea Mamut and Nikolina Putica, along with chef Deni Srdoč, shared their experiences from education in Croatia and abroad with the panel participants, while Tonči Drlje – head of practical workshops of “Aspira” and Kruno Rozić – head of education at Coca-Cola Raise the Bar Academy revealed how to win scholarships for further education. The panel discussion at the Festival was moderated by Dubravka Tomeković Aralica.
The unique masterclasses led by the chefs who participated in the Festival were attended by students of the Oliva Allegra School of Tourism and Hospitality, Aspira Business School and also Jure Kaštelan High School in Omiš, which hosted chef Ippei Uemura on the last day of the Festival. It was in Omiš that foreign chefs had the opportunity to explore traditional Dalmatian specialties. “Soparnik”, prosciutto, žižule (jujube), frogs’ legs, anchovies, octopus, homemade bread, peka (baking lid), fritters and rožata (crème caramel), in the most beautiful way possible, completed the picture of the richness of the Croatian Mediterranean diet.
Taste the Mediterranean has established a special cooperation with Spain, which is the partner country of the Festival for the second year in a row and presented its specialties and wines in Split, while the tasting of their olive oils was led by Dr Mirella Žanetić. The Festival was also visited by a group of chefs from the Gourméditerranée association, who presented the gastronomy of Provence and the south of France, as well as the great world event Gout de France. The Italian event “Vini da terre estreme” presented “Heroic wines of Italy”, whose tasting was led by Siniša Koceić, Alen Gulan and Rainer Rogulj.
Taste the Mediterranean Festival was held under the sponsorship of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport and the Croatian Tourist Board, the Split-Dalmatia County, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and the Split Tourist Board.
Photo: Jadran Babić and Iris Ban for TTM