- Small private groups of like minded friends and family groups.
- Personalised tour itineraries according to our guest’s interests, age group and budget.
- Accommodation according to our guest’s preferences, ranging from luxury hotels and villas to boutique B&B, Agritourism properties oozing ambience and hospitality.
- Yacht and boat charters, with suggested sailing routes with excellent captains and crew members
- Emphasis on sustainable and responsible tourism.
A recent group of 6 Foodie and Wine buffs, from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, visited Croatia for the very first time. Their expectations were high! Following a 7 day luxury cruise Split to Dubrovnik on a small authentic timber gulet boat where they were treated to great traditional Dalmatian meals on board, they were also treated to some of the very best of Croatian wines and wine tastings at various Island vineyards discovering wine varieties of grape that they had never heard about before! Wine tastings were taking on a whole new and exciting meaning to this group! ..They were so impressed, and following the cruise I prepared an 8 day itinerary on land. First stop was a degustation 6 course menu and wine tasting at BIBICH Vineyards near Skradin…an hour north of Split.…they were so impressed, they bought boxes of BIBICH wine to take home to Australia…! Here they found first class cuisine and world class wines as far as they were concerned..they were in awe of this establishment, the 500 year old restored vineyard of Alen Bibich. Their other extraordinary culinary event was enjoyed at the multi award winning restaurant of PELEGRINI in Šibenik..Not knowing what to expect, but trusting in my recommendation they entered the restaurant at 12.30pm …4 hours later they finally dragged themselves away…calling me to rave over the quality of this fine dining restaurant that continues to be acclaimed as Number One in Croatia 3 years running! The attention to detail, the explanations of the cuisine and wines by waiter and sommelier were so appreciated..One of the group, an avid photographer photographed each bottle of wine, every cork and every glass of alcoholic beverage along the way…Here is the email I received following their return home to Australia……
Hi Robyn, We have fabulous memories of our time in Croatia and we will definitely be back. We saw so much over our 2 weeks but feel we barely touched the surface. Carpe Diem is a great gulet made extra special by Frano, Lorena and Nico. We are seriously thinking of heading north from Split towards Istria in 2019.
The land part of our holiday was equally terrific. We would especially like to thank you for helping put together a well paced 8 days with lots of variety Our driver Marin was a champion, great sense of humour and lots of tit bits of information. I am not sure which of our two special lunches I would but first, both were outstanding with world class food and wine. Our Bibich Wines arrived safely back home and will bring back great memories in years to come. Each of the guides you arranged for us were delightful individuals with excellent English and they gave us a much better understanding not just of the sights but of the history and character of Croatia.
Thank you again for all your efforts in ensuring our holiday went smoothly, especially in helping us to check in Split. Sorry we did not have the opportunity to say good by properly, Tony and Anna had made a mistake on their departure time so we had to rush to the Airport. All 6 of us loved our time in Croatia it over delivered in every way and we can’t wait to get back again. Best Regards, Dinah & Peter Davis.
There have been many other similar groups, during this recent summer..a mother and her two adult daughters from Sydney spent 10 days eating and travelling around the countryside..while based in Split they took a number of organised day trips … to the Krka River Falls where they had platters of cheese and prosciutto, Dalmatian Ham at it’s very best, bowls of mixed salads, tomatoes and cucumbers that were bursting with flavour always served with home baked breads…and high quality virgin olive oils always on the table, and ready to be drizzled on the fresh bread! They were in love with it all and especially The Babić wines of the local Krka region..
Another small group visited The Island of Hvar and after touring around some of the little fishing villages, they were taken to an old Dalmatian village of Vrisnik up in the hills above Jelsa for lunch. Here they met Andro, the proud owner of Konoba Vrisnik, his old stone family home belonging to his ancestors has been lovingly restored and here is where so many of my guests have been very impressed with the food, and Andro’s red wine..a local variety called Bogdanuša grown in his vineyard, the friendly calming ambiance, and warm personalities of Andro and his family. On this occasion we found Andro checking on the peka..he explained the way the meats were being cooked..a mixture of veal, lamb and chicken..One of my guests was allergic to MSG, so I asked Andro if there was any MSG stock cubes or any flavor enhancers in the delicious split pea and ham soup. Andro was horrified..his face screwed up and he flung his arms in the air in absolute rejection to my question! Enhancers in my soup? I would never use such enhancers in my soup! NEVER! The Aussie group so appreciated the dining experience, their expectations were more than satisfied.
In Australia …marketing of travel to Croatia seems to be primarily by word of mouth.. ‘Would be’ travellers hear from their friends about the beauty of the Dalmatian Coast about the freshest seafood prepared as only the Dalmatians know how…basically on the grill over the coals…brushed with olive oil, salt and basted with a sprig of rosemary from time to time…or a tuna steak grilled to perfection while covered and partly steamed , yet grilled…resulting in the most delicious and succulent piece of tuna you’ll ever taste! …and the high quality of the wines. Many of them opting for visits to some of the local vineyards, and more recently our Aussies are hearing about the other gourmet regions of Istria, and the Zagora Region around Zagreb, the Hinterland Region inland from Split, and the Southern Konavle Region near Dubrovnik, oysters and Mussels in Ston, The World Class cheeses of Island Pag in Northern Dalmatia, and the lamb of Island Brač. But as I said, marketing is mainly by word of mouth..and I think this is one of the best forms of promoting any travel experience.
Probably the least known region in Croatia is Slavonija and yet it has so much to offer, particularly in the field of privately run Bed and Breakfasts that are now being offered and down to earth agritourism properties. Slavonija (not to be confused with Slovenia) is the region .over in the east near the Hungarian border.. flat fertile fields as far as the eye can see..and once the food bowl of the nation until the EU market introduced European food at very compeditive prices…however, this area still today produces a range of smallgoods,smoked meats and pork rinds, sausages of all descriptions including their famous blood sausage, salamis , jams, marmalades, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, wheat products, sauces and vinegar..The wines of this region are also outstanding..There is much to delight the food and wine hedonist in Slavonija…home to some of the nation’s leading winemakers.
The interest in visiting food and wine producers, particularly local food and wine trails, cooking schools, meeting the people involved, tasting their produce in places of scenic beauty is growing year by year..and I am very happy to be part of this type of quality tourism.
Recently we took a group of Australians to Island Pag on our way north from Split to Istria culminating in Zagreb…Pag is scenically exotic …cheese, salt, lace, olive trees of Lun, ending the day at a family restaurant called Grandfather’s House…and Cheese production home of GLIGORA cheeses.. Pag is a very unique environment…seemingly a wasteland of stone sea and salt..devoid of vegetation due to the force of the strong Bura winds blowing out to sea from the mainland and depositing sea salt across the Northern side of the Island..however this island is very rich in produce, particularly world gold medal Gligora award winning cheeses, ancient 1000 year old olive groves producing first class olive oil, and Pag lamb..a speciality as well as the ancient salt pans where salt has been harvested since the days of the Roman Empire..not to mention the fine laces of Pag!
Definitely a Slow Food Paradise..visiting the vineyards of Matoševic and Meneghetti , Veralda and Klaudio Tomaz in Istria..to name a few…visiting the atmospheric 15th century village of Bale and the hill town of Motovun..here you will find pasta dishes to die for..Sept is the time of year for porcini mushrooms and the local forests are a truffle hunters delight! Coupled with some oft the finest of local wines, sitting and dining on a hilltop village overlooking centuries of Venetian architecture, stone houses and walls, with the famous winged lion of Venice carved into stone adorning the entrances of many buildings dating back at least 500 years…as we walked through the quiet and quaint narrow streets of Bale, I saw a woman in her shop talking to a couple of olive oil enthusiasts..I stopped to listen and she gestured to me to come closer.
Lucky I did..with my Aussies following me..we listened…her story was inspiring ..the ins and outs of producing a high quality extra virgin olive oil, and then showing us how to properly become an olive oil taster..My guests loved this impromptu presentation. Purchasing a few bottles of this liquid gold and later drizzling it over fresh bread was another traveller’s delight.!
Croatia is a place where a discerning traveller can stop awhile and enjoy the environment, the food, the history, and culture, in a country that is considerd to be very safe and where expectations are easily fulfilled.
The Australian traveller is known to be pretty easy going…. They don’t easily get upset..they are not usually demanding…most proprietors say they are delightful guests…however, they do expect value for money, no smoking in restaurants, and good service with a smile.
I am very proud when meeting and greeting my guests…knowing I have a wonderful smorgesboard of places to visit.. I hope I have been able to explain to you the style of tourism that many of our guests really enjoy…Croatia is a place where daily life seems to be moving at a much slower pace than most..certainly slower than the fast hectic pace in Australia..time to wander, smell the roses, explore and indulge in authentic traditional cuisine and local wines that are now being awarded by world wine groups such as Decanter…this is the Croatia my Australians love to discover and experience…out of the way places, away from the commercialised tourist routes… food and wine trails are becoming increasingly popular in Croatia..meeting the local people, the producers, and for those who allow sufficient time ..there is certainly an abundance here in this country to satisfy the senses..and the appetite!
Peter’s Story..Talking about Croatian food and wines..and expectations …Last September I had a group of 8 Australian foodie and wine buffs. On arrival into Split one gentleman called Peter from Perth in Western Australia made the comment..’I have heard Croatia is a beautiful country scenically, the coastline is magnificent, but you wouldn’t come here for the wine…you would more happily go to Italy and France! It was Peter’s first visit to Croatia.. I remained quiet, bit my tongue and 18 days later, after escorting the group through the regions of Dalmatia, Kvarner, Istria and Continental Croatia, visiting many vineyards and tasting a great variety of Croatian fine wines paired with delicious traditional meals ..I asked him to give me his impressions.
On the final evening of our tour I asked him, “Peter, after touring through Croatia, please tell me your impressions of Croatian Food and Wine?” He held his head in his hands, and for a moment he was quiet…trying to think of the best words to explain his thoughts and feelings about what he had discovered here in Croatia..He had travelled from Island Cres in the north to Dubrovnik in the south, sailed through the Dalmatian islands to Zadar, and toured through the regions of Lika and Kvarner to Istria, finally arriving into the capital of Zagreb in the Continental part of the country..he had loved it all, was totally in awe of the diversity and freshness of Croatian Cuisine, and as for the wines..he was amazed, and has definitely added Croatia to his list of BEST COUNTRIES TO VISIT FOR FINE AUTHENTIC FOOD AND WINES:
I felt so happy…he was a tough nut to crack..but Croatia had done it again..another MORE than satisfied traveller…..now back home in Perth and spreading the word!
See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil! What goes on tour..stays on tour!