Captivating Croatia cordially invites you to join us and our Chef-Led culinary adventure! Escape with us to exotic Croatia for a week-long, food-centric vacation of a lifetime.
Chef Richard Gruica will be our Chef-Guide for this culinary excursion, which takes place Sunday, November 3rd to Sunday, November 10th, 2019. Get ready to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world as we visit several regions in Croatia, each brimming with culinary history and lore.
Our home base for half of this tour is the Istria area of Croatia, which is in the Northern part of Croatia and is very close to Italy. This peninsula area is known as the Tuscany of Croatia. Istria simply soothes the soul with captivating and compelling scenery which is only enhanced by the amazing food and wines of the area. Truffles, meats, cheese and wine dominate the culinary landscape. The home for the remainder of the tour will be Central Croatia, where Croatia’s extraordinary coastline sparkles with jewel-like emerald hues. The tour will offer an intimate behind the scenes experience, featuring lavish backdrops and breathtaking landscapes that rival those anywhere else in the world. The tour focuses on delicious local foods, wines, and the amazing history and sights in and around these areas.
Embracing his roots in Croatia, Richard Gruica created Captivating Croatia with the dream of sharing authentic experiences that explore the incredibly rich and varied cuisine of Croatia. He is a longtime member of the Slow Food movement and was a guest speaker at the 2014 Terra Madre Balkan Conference, at which he saw the immense beauty and diversity of Croatia, ultimately igniting the fuel for Captivating Croatia.
Richard’s extensive research has led him on paths to some of the finest examples of tradition, craft, and small production, but more significantly, to the people that have a true passion for what they do.
Arrive at the Zagreb airport and immediately get whisked off for a sweet pick me up to the nearby town of Samobor where we will stretch our legs and get a sugar rush as we sample some of the best desserts and pastries in Croatia paired with some delicious coffee and the imbibe in Bermet, at the world’s oldest producer, where we will sample this deliciously tasty spiked wine. (Will have to make changes based on arrival times, but most flights come in between 10 and 12, so this usually works) Afterwards, we will check into our hotel and enjoy a break to unwind and freshen up before we head out for dinner in the wine country just outside of Zagreb, where we will experience an introductory taste of Croatian cuisine served up with a gourmet twist and a view to die for. We will head back for to the hotel so that everyone can rest up for our adventure tomorrow.
Our day begins with a tour of the heart of Zagreb, including the Dolac Farmer’s Market, Croatia’s largest market where you will get a perspective of all the variety being offered seasonally. After leaving Zagreb, we will drive to the Istrian Peninsula. Istria is one of Croatia’s most revered spots, with some saying it is Croatia’s most amazing region, brimming in history. It is the PERFECT setting for our gourmet food and wine adventures, especially as the theme of the remainder of the day is TRUFFLES! We will venture through the countryside dotted with hilltop villages until we get to our hotel. After settling into our hotel we will gather for a short trip to start our truffle adventure. We will partake in a truffle hunt led by the cutest truffle hunting dogs and after the hunt, we will enjoy a cooking lesson in front of the fireplace on how to best prepare these edible treasures as we indulge in a truffle degustation meal, featuring EVERYTHING Truffle.
Two things that pairs the best with truffles are wine and cheese and today, we have crafted an amazing day featuring the best of these elements with the added bonus of some history. We begin the day with a short ride to Pula, a seaside town that is over 3000 years old and is famed for its Arena; one of the world’s best preserved Roman Amphitheaters. Once in town, we will take part in a private food/history tour of the arena and the antiquities as we stroll the city streets, stopping at several spots for food and drinks along the way. Afterwards, we will visit one of the top winemakers in Croatia, who is known as the “Bad Boy” of Croatian wine producers for a private tour of his winery and tasting of his award-winning wines. The day is capped off in fine style as we head to our favorite goat cheese farmers, whose farm dates back to the 14th century and whose goats graze on close to 200 types of plants and herbs, which produce some of the most astounding cheeses. We will visit the production area and see how they are made before sitting down for a meal on the farm.
Meat and cheese is the theme of the day as we visit the area’s best meat and cheese producers for tasting of their products. We will then make our way to the cutest craft distillery you have ever laid your eyes on and indulge in a tasting of rakija’s, locally made and potent fruit brandies before visiting the most picturesque town in Croatia for a meal…featuring truffles! Yes, once wasn’t enough!
Today, we will be experiencing a brand-new area in Croatia as we venture along the gorgeous Adriatic coastline until we visit Rijeka for a lunch/cooking class featuring local seafood we pickup. from the fish market. After lunch, we will venture down the coastline to Nin, one of the oldest salt works in the world and take part in a tour featuring history dating back several thousand years. We will then visit Zadar, a historic old town full of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes where we will stop and enjoy two of Croatia’s most famed and unique attractions – the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation before continuing down the coast to Sibenik, our home for the rest of the tour.
We will get on the water and get a firsthand peek at the mussel and oyster production famous from the area. Get ready for a seafood tasting straight out of the sea, all the while working up our appetites for our short trip to Croatia’s premier winery, where we will enjoy a wine and food pairing lunch of your dreams. We will cap off the day with sunset boat trip along the coast and get to visit an abandoned fortress from the time of Napoleon.
Today, we experience Krka National Park, which 1 of the 2 Croatian National Parks that contains lakes and waterfalls and is always featured in videos on Croatia. Our time here will be spent exploring the walkways full of lush vegetation and scenic beauty. We will enjoy a gourmet lunch after leaving the park, before heading back to the hotel.
Departure Day. Guests will gather for breakfast at their own leisure, before departing for the airport via private transfer.
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