Festival Taste the Mediterranean for the first time in Hvar!

The 5th international Festival Taste the Mediterranean took place 1-3/6/2018 in the historic Arsenal building, in the centre of the town of Hvar.

Ingrid Badurina Danielsson i direktor TZ Hvar, Petar Razović sa chefovima i predavačima

Chef Vjeko Bašić, Konoba Boba

Chef Sandra Tahirović, Zora Bila

Tuna carpaccio by chef Hrvoje Zirojević

Chef Coline Faulquier

In cooperation with the town of Hvar and Hvar Tourist board, under the auspices of the Ministry of culture and of the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of regional development and European Union funds and Croatian National Tourist Board. The prestigious culinary guide Gault&Millau, whose first Croatian edition was recently published, also joined the Festival.

The programme of the festival included culinary workshops, tastings, educational lectures and a small Mediterranean market on the Hvar central square. Several exclusive dinners completed this unique Mediterranean experience. 

Wine tasting in the famous Tomić winery in Jelsa was held the evening before the Festival opening, on Thursday, May 31, for distinguished guests of the Festival.

On Friday, June 1, in a restored building of the Arsenal, the Festival was officially opened by the Mayor of the town of Hvar, Rikardo Novak, and those present were addressed by Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, the director of the Festival Taste the Mediterranean and Petar Razović, director of the Hvar Tourist Board.

The programme started with a masterclass by Tea Mamut, young pastry chef whose pastry shop O'š kolač in Split won "The best POP trophy" by the restaurant guide Gault&Millau Croatia 2018. The Festival continued with the culinary demonstration by chef Vjeko Bašić, from the restaurant Konoba Boba in Murter. Chef Bašić, recently named Chef of the year 2018 by the Croatian edition of the restaurant guide Gault&Millau, prepared a traditional dish of the island of Murter - cuttlefish with broad beans.

The programme continued in the afternoon, with lectures about the Mediterranean diet. Jelena Petrov, from the Public institution RERA in Split presented the international MD.Net project, whose aim is to connect Mediterranean regions, while Sonja Karoglan Todorović, the director of the ECOLOGICA Institute spoke about the link between "terroir" and food, and Marija Roglić, the head of the LAG5 local action group from Pelješac talked about mosaic landscape and innovative gastronomy. 

The next masterclass was held by the Italian chef Giulio Terrinoni from the restaurant Per Me in Rome, crowned with one Michelin star. Chef Terrinoni prepared red mullets in an innovative way, and showed impressive culinary skills thanks to which he has become one of the leading Italian chefs. 

The first day of the Festival was concluded with an exclusive four-hands Mediterranean dinner at Palmižana, in the magical garden of the Meneghello family, which was sold out in a heartbeat. The dinner was prepared by the French chef Lionel Levy (from the restaurant Alcyone, InterContinental Marseille- Hotel Dieu, crowned with 3 Gault&Millau toques and one Michelin star) and Jerko Krstulović, chef of the restaurant Meneghello. The guests enjoyed Mediterranean specialties: chef Levy prepared his creative interpretation of the French bouillabaissea (in the form of a milkshake) and octopus "picada", similar to the Dalmatian peka, and chef Krstulović prepared gregada, a legendary dish of the Meneghello family. The dishes were served with Meneghetti wines and the highlight of the evening was the serving of the huge bowls of gregada. The Mediterranean tradition of sharing, the combination of a common Mediterranean identity with the diversity of a particular region.

The programme continued on Saturday, June 2, with a culinary workshop by chef Sandra Tahirović from the famous restaurant Zora bila in Split, crowned with 2 Gault&Millau Croatia 2018 toques. Creative, summery creations, decorated with edible flowers, provoked enthusiastic audience response.

Sonia Mlayah Hamzaoui, doctor of sociology of diet and nutrition from the National Heritage Institute in Tunisia, held a lecture on the sociological and cultural values of the Mediterranean diet.

A burning topic of this year's Festival was the problem of food waste and how to stop it. All the chefs demonstrated how to prepare a dish by using the ingredients to the maximum extent possible.

Marie-Helene Gaildraud from the French association Treize evenements, from Marseille, held a workshop for the little ones in the course of which she drew attention to the growing problem of food waste, and the workshop was accompanied by culinary demonstration by chef Lionel Levy who prepared a dish in a way that nothing was thrown away!

One of the leading ladies of Zagreb's culinary scene, chef Vesna Miletić from Tač restaurant, held her culinary workshop in the afternoon. She used samphire picked along the seashores of Hvar for the preparation of her dish and thus charmed the locals sitting in the audience. Indeed – can it get more Mediterranean than that?

The guests from Algeria, chef Ahmed Ramdane Cherif and chef Farid Rabhi of the exclusive hotel group El Aurassi aroused great curiosity of the audience. The chefs from the African coast of the Mediterranean presented their cuisine in the best possible way by skillfully preparing colorful, playful dishes with lots of different flavours and there were many questions from the audience concerning Algerian Mediterranean cuisine.

Evening party for all participants and guests of the Festival Taste the Mediterranean, took place on the beautiful fortress Španjola, and represented a real moment of exchange and sharing. The chefs jointly prepared delicious Mediterranean bites and dishes: "lamb with peas", "spaghetti pecorino e limone", "chard strudel", "pasta with broad beans and cuttlefish", mini "couscous" triangles, tripes and more.

The guests had the opportunity to taste the wines from famous Croatian wineries: Tomić, Carić, PZ Svirče and Zaninović from the island of Hvar, and Kabola from Istria.

The third and final day of the Festival began with a culinary workshop by one of the greats of Croatian gastronomy, chef Hrvoje Zirojević, who together with his young but established team from the exclusive restaurant Laganini on Palmižana, showed how hard work, discipline and perseverance are the preconditions for excellent cuisine. Chef Zirojević prepared four different dishes, masterful creations which amazed the audience, especially foreign and local chefs, professionals who carefully followed the presentation. An hour was not long enough for all the questions for chef Zirojević coming from the audience.

Then the French chef Frank Renimel, from Toulouse, owner of the restaurant and boutique hotel En marge, crowned with three Gault&Millau toques and one Michelin star, prepared a dish of imaginative presentation in the form of a coral, and the last culinary workshop of the Festival was held by chef Coline Faulquier, from Marseille. In the spirit of the main theme of this year's festival, the young finalist of the French Top Chef and Gault&Millau young talent 2017, prepared a dish with leftover ingredients, using only what was left in the kitchen after all the culinary demonstrations, mostly vegetables and herbs. She created a "celery risotto" but without rice! The audience was amazed by the delicious flavour of the dish and there will be many daring to prepare it at home according to the presented the recipe.

It should be noted that all the chefs of the Festival Taste the Mediterranean used olive oil, the unavoidable backbone of the Mediterranean cuisine, for the preparation of their dishes. It was the multiple award-winning extra-virgin olive oil from the Božić olive oil refinery in Svirče.

The Festival was concluded with a lecture held by professor Zorka Bibić from Hvar, who reminded the audience why the Mediterranean diet is included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, and how the island of Hvar and Brač are Croatian representatives on that list. She presented traditional dishes and ingredients of the island of Hvar, some of which have already disappeared, while others, unfortunately, are increasingly losing the race with fast food and foreign influences. The lecture inspired all those present, mostly domestic audience, to  engage in a lively discussion on how to valorize the Mediterranean wealth of Hvar and the entire Dalmatian coast and how to bring back autochthonous ingredients and include traditional dishes on the menus of local restaurants.

The Festival Taste the Mediterranean deals with these questions from the very beginning with a desire to preserve and promote the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean way of life, and to present Croatia, especially Hvar as a desirable wine and gourmet Mediterranean destination. For the first time, the Festival was held in Hvar, which marks 150 years of organized tourism during 2018. Our wish is to celebrate the 151st anniversary, and many others that will follow, together with the town of Hvar, and with our friends from all over the Mediterranean, but also with all those who love and appreciate the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean way of life.

Producers from the Mediterranean market:

OPG Visko Haladić, OPG Nedjeljka Jurin, OPG Stančić, OPG Ankica Dedić, Šulog d.o.o., OPG Bartul, Obrt Škatula, OPG Marija Tudor Šore, Udruga Klub Hvar, OPG Marija Vodanović, OPG Stivena Mateljan Pajina