Cro-ATE-tia

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Anyone who loves to travel will know that part of the adventure is all of the eating. If you’re anything like I am, you want and you want it ALL.

July saw the husband and I taking on five different parts of Croatia and to be honest, we had no idea what to expect. From Dubrovnik to Hvar, Split, Bol and Korčula, every part took my breath away. You see the pictures of the beaches and buildings (all of it “postcard” material) but you really don’t know what you’re going to get until you actually get there. Luckily, I’m all about the journey, baby.

From the sights to the smells, tastes and sensations, Croatia is simply magical. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. So much so, that I found myself inspired to write a little something on this Dalmatian jewel.

Brace yourself, you’re going to get hungry…

Pretty stuff

Okay, so the eye candy factor in terms of architecture is higher than a college student at Coachella. For reals. It honestly looks like most of the buildings have been styled by a team of fashion’s very best. With doorways and shutters adding bold pops of colour alongside the patterns of some old granny’s broeks (or bed sheets) hanging from a washing line above you, it’s pretty damn epic.

Beach, please

The beaches, although mostly pebble, are really something to behold. And if I’m being honest, I’ve never seen such clean water in all my life. The jewel tones were mesmerising, to say the least. Sure, the whole sea urchin thing sucks but chin up, Charlie, you’re in f@*king Croatia.

Plus, if you’re prepared to take the “glass half full” approach, the scorching pebbles under your feet are a bit like a hot stone massage… for free! Or a form of Chinese torture, whatever floats your boat.

A beach in Bol, Brač Island, where most of the beaches are set below trees.

Korčula, the most surprising little island with so much charm.

Swimming in the green caves near Vis Island.

St. Jacob’s beach in Dubrovnik, accessible by a kak-load of steps. (More on those little bastards later…)

The sweet life

Candy is life in Croatia. Seriously. They seem to love all kinds and they don’t discriminate. We encountered several “pay and weigh” sweet shops during our stay and although that’s not really my vibe, I was impressed by the creativity.

Getting my drank on…

*Disclaimer: I am NOT (I repeat, NOT) by any means, a big drinker. I’m always the personal Uber for those I go out with but that being said, who doesn’t LOVE a cocktail? Like any European destination in the summertime, the fruity drinks were in full swing. The back drop provided by the various beaches, cliffs and dramatic sunsets only seemed to make them go down a helluva lot faster. It was lit and so was I!

Cocktails in Hvar along the water. Happy Hour for the win…

At Massimo’s in Korčula, a bar set in a castle, accessible only by climbing up a ladder. Side note: Asked the husband to get pictures of my graceful ascent, had to delete them off of the camera based on the level of indecent exposure. Haibo.

Food, glorious food!

GUYS. THE FOOD WAS FRESH AF. It was terribly exciting! 

Home-grown fruit and veg, freshly baked bread and the most insane markets where everyone brings their A-game. Damn. Their cured hams were the stuff of legends and their cheeses were some of the best I’ve ever had.

Fresh pasta is pretty popular here, as is pizza. It seems like they draw a fair amount of inspo from the Italians. Hey, I’m not complaining because the Gelato was insane. (More on that, later).

These pizza wrap things. Who even knows what they’re supposed to be. To me, it was like a rolled up wrap made with pizza dough and all the fillings (cheese for DAYS). This is actually an example of smart marketing. A sinful rolled up pizza posing as an unsuspecting health wrap… Nailed it.

Caprese salad with Dalmatian ham platter. DEAD.

Gnocchi with salmon and scampi. Shut up and take my money.

Scampi and zucchini risotto with a LOT of white wine, but who am I to tell the locals how to cook their food… By all means, do you, Boo.

Other seafood like mussels and calamari are incredibly popular, too. With locals catching most of their seafood nearby, it’s a win-win for everyone.

We even tried some of their marinated fish. NO IDEA WHAT FISH IT WAS but it was great. Also, YOLO.

Čevapi is a national dish of meat koftas with a sweet pepper relish. It’s a real game changer and is sometimes served with a pita. I don’t discriminate, so I’ll say I enjoy with and without the pita, equally!

The single greatest word to ever start with a P… PASTRY (next to “party” obviously). If there’s something that was consistent across every place we went, it was their bakeries. Winning! Their “burek” is a pastry spiral filled with anything from meat to cheese or even fruit.

Meet the kremsnita – the Croatian cousin of our beloved custard slice. Creamy, dreamy and delectable. All in all, two thumbs up from me. Although, I seldom meet desserts that I don’t like. We all just get on so well.

G is for “GET ME ANOTHER GELATO”

Alongside my daily cocktail, was also a scoop of gelato. (Not together of course, what kind of savage do you take me for?!) Obviously, pistachio is my go-to ALWAYS but there were others I tried and loved like cheesecake, Raffaello, Kinder (after the chocolate), creme caramel and Snickers.

The best gelato of the trip was in Bol. It was light as air and tasted like more. I went back again the next day and I wasn’t even sorry.

The next day… Me, just living my best life.

One final gelato for the road in Dubrovnik. What was the lunch before the farewell stop on the great gelato tour that was my honeymoon?

THIS. *Drools*

But how did I not come home 40 pants sizes bigger?

STAIRS.

ALL. OF. THE. STAIRS.

Guys, holy shit did we walk. Then, when we thought we were both crippled, we walked some more. No one told me that I’d have to climb Mount Everest ten times on honeymoon but that’s okay. It burned off many calories, plus I have calves now too! That’s what I call a result. In all seriousness, we walked over 100km total but it was definitely worth it.

The recipe I’ve chosen for this post is for Rožata, the Croatian version of creme caramel. Flavoured with some Croatian liqueur or Rum and a hint of lemon zest, it’s fresh and deliciously creamy. Better yet, it’s deceptively easy to make and requires very few ingredients. Because you know, I’m poor from travelling now. Side note: does anyone know where one could find themselves a blesser? #askingforafriend

Croatia, I love you. You are such a beautiful place with many hidden treasures. From the friendliness of the people to the vibe of your nightlife, it’s crazy to see what tourism can do for a nation. I will miss your sunsets, your gorgeous foods and all of the incredible sights you treated us to.

Until next time!

Yours in Baking and Bitching, because “xoxo” was too mainstream,

Bron

Rožata

Ingredients:

For the caramel – 8 tablespoons of sugar

500 ml milk
4 tablespoons sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons rose liqueur (or dark rum, or even brandy!)
Method:
1) First, make the caramel by placing 8 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Let it dissolve and fight the urge to stir. DON’T STIR. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until it goes a golden brown. Remove from heat and quickly divide the hot caramel among 4 ramekins. Be careful though because it’s hot and sets fast. Turn the ramekins upside down so the sides get covered too.
2) Set aside to cool down.
3) In the mean time,  preheat that oven to 150°C. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and 4 tbsp sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool.
4) Meanwhile, whisk together your eggs until they come together without causing them to froth. Add the lemon zest and chosen alcohol and combine. Finally, pour the milk in, mixing slowly to combine.
5) Strain the custard mixture through a sieve and pour it into the ramekins. Place the ramekins into a baking dish, spaced apart to not touch each other. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish until 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. DON’T get water on the custard.
6) Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the custards are almost fully set. This will depend on your oven.
7) Remove from the oven and take ramekins out of the hot water bath. Leave to cool down to room temp before refrigerating overnight.
8) When serving, invert the Rožata onto plates. The caramel sauce that you lined the ramekins with will cascade into a puddle around the custards. YAY. Serve right away.

 

 

 

 

 

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