My group of nine awesome Aussies, Kiwis and Americans agreed a cooking class was the way to go! All except Bryan from Melbourne, who definitely didn’t want to be part of this almost all-female adventure into the traditional ways of preparing, cooking and devouring foods of the Mediterranean! Mind you, he loved the devouring part but was not keen at all to come along, and it showed!! But with a little ‘encouragement‘ from Kaye, his lovely wife, he dragged himself along and ended up not wanting the day to end!
We reserved our class at the SKMER COOKING SCHOOL in Split, (Chefs of the Mediterranean and European Region),. We were to spend a day preparing food and learning about wines of the Dalmatian Coastal Region with Chef Željko Bremac and his lovely wife Alma.
At 9.00am we met Chef Željko at the Split Green Market to choose and buy some fresh produce, then walked across to the fresh fish markets to check out the catch of the day best suited to our seafood cooking class. The choice was incredible..!
WHAT TO CHOOSE? As we selected our seafood we knew this was going to be a cooking class to remember! From the markets we walked to the nearby school and were delighted to find delicious finger food waiting together with a number of Dalmatian liqueurs and grappa, assuring the group started the class in a ‘happy frame of mind’ Nobody should attempt to cook on an empty stomach! Now it was down to some serious kitchen work preparing our feast!
AND WHAT DID WE COOK?
Chef Željko explained our menu for the day...Pasticada of fresh and smoked tuna, carpaccio of sea bass, risotto of shrimps, (including freshly made fish stock and white wine,) truffle with creamy gnocchi, fresh green beans, vegetables, kale cauliflower and potatoes mashed with garlic and olive oil, a borlotti and bean bake, (delicious) spinach and ricotta filo pastry roll, fresh bread, and for dessert cream caramel (rožata) and an Imotski Torta ..But were we capable of mastering such cuisine?
We were grouped into pairs, and our lovely Becky from the USA (above and below) was paired with the previously not so keen Bryan from Melbourne, who soon started showing some promise and soon took over the task from Becky, and as you can see she didn’t take that insult too lightly! Ha Ha..Have another glass of wine Becky!
Our lunch was delicious, and we all marvelled at how well we had prepared and cooked our meal with the help of Chef Željko who was continually looking over our shoulder, checking and reassuring us on our efforts. The red and white wines served were of excellent quality and enjoyed by all, particularly the Mali Plavac (little blue from the Peljasac Peninsula and a wonderful drop from the vineyards of Ante Sladić in Plastovo near Skradin..
As for the desserts, they were to die for and somehow we managed to fit them into already full tummies, scraping our plates clean and enjoying a glass of prošek, a dessert wine that really hit the spot.
OUR CLASS OF HIGH ACHIEVERS!!!! By 3.00pm it was time to depart and roll down the hill, back to our hotel. Certainly, a day to remember. Thank you, Alma and Željko for a totally brilliant day at the Skmer Cooking School in Split…..and look at the smile on Bryan’s face! (Third from the left)