Dubrovnik is renowned for its summertime music festival in July and August but there’s a good excuse to visit the city in May when it will host its own International Wine & Jazz Festival.
Running from 24th to 27th May, the festival will feature jazz singer and pianist, Diane Schuur, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, conductor and clarientist, Miachael Kissinger and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
The festival will blend jazz, blues, pop and crossover classical musicians. Visitors will also enjoy award-winning Croatian wines, fine artists and craftsmen from throughout the region, and an outstanding array of Dalmatian cuisine.
From October 1 to 9, 2012, the Croatian island of Krk will host the Days of Olives Festival. I love olives. I’ve always loved olives. Most people grow into them but not me. I loved them as soon as I could eat solid food, so a festival dedicated to my favourite snack needless to say got me a little bit excited! The event will showcase the fabulous health benefits of olives and you’ll even have the chance to witness and take part in a unique harvest. Local hosts will also serve up the homemade snack to the sound of a sopile which I’m told is a woodwind instrument similar to an oboe. Then there’ll be a feast in the evening, with Croatia’s best chefs all competing to prepare the best olive-based dish.
The winter is the best time to indulge in mussels on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia and Croatia. This is a very simple recipe for steamed mussels and ensures the taste of the fabulous, succulent mussels shines through and is not dominated by any other ingredient.
Here’s my foolproof recipe…
1kg mussels, with the beards and any barnacles removed, any open mussels should be disguarded
250ml white wine (Malvasia would be ideal)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Put oil, wine, parsley and garlic into a stock pot and heat until it reaches a simmer
Place the mussels into the pot
Put a lid on the pot and allow the mussels to steam for 4 to 5 minutes
Serve when the mussels are open, with bread to mop up the sauce
Dubrovnik is one of our favourite places in the whole world so we’re always excited to see a good offer to make travelling to this luxury and must-visit destination. This spring and summer the Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast is offering Double Rooms from €99 on a B&B basis. Alternatively, the Family Package (minimum three-night stay) in a two-bedroom sea view residence including, bottle of wine & fruit basket, buffet breakfast, buffet dinner starts from just €292 per person. And then, for the ultimate in indulgence, the Spa Delight package includes two-night accommodation in a standard room complemented with one spa treatment per person and the hotel’s delicious buffet breakfast from €119 per person including VAT!
Dubrovnik’s Sun Gardens is one of the country’s first fully integrated resorts offering a five star 201-room Radisson Blu Hotel, beautifully designed private residences for sale and for rent, three swimming pools, kids’ club, an extensive beachfront with a wide range of watersport activities, a world class spa, 13 restaurants and bars, and its very own promenade of market shops.
Just 20 minutes from the bustling Old Town, Dubrovnik Sun Gardens enjoys a privileged location and offers a haven of tranquillity in a unique waterfront position. Regular ferry services from the resort’s marina transport guests straight into the heart of the Old Town and the hotel also provides a regular shuttle bus service.
With the spring and summer months just around the corner and a host of cultural festivals and celebrations fast approaching, preparations at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens are in full swing – book now before it’s too late!
The Old Vine Festival, held in Maribor and the surrounding winegrowing regions takes place between the 18th and 26th of September 2010. The festival honours the city’s 440-year-old vine (of which there is a permanent, all-year exhibition, where visitors can learn about the vine) officially the oldest in the world. The festival itself is a celebration of local food, wine and folk music. However, the most significant event is the traditional grape-gathering ceremony which takes place on the final day of the festival.
The events take place on Grajski Trg and Glavni Trg (main town squares), around the old Lent district of the city and on the surrounding wine roads. Here you can purchase fresh regional produce from the street displays. You will find all manner of local produce on offer, including pumpkin seed oil, potted plants, flowers and fruit. Plus you will have the change to taste traditional Slovenian recipes cooked up in cauldrons by local chefs.
This summer from the 10th of July to the 25th of August Dubrovnik will host its 61st Summer Festival. Following the tradition and on the occasion of the Festival of St Blaise, the Dubrovnik Festival concluded the previous festival season and announced the new one. Thus, a DVD dedicated to the Festival’s 60th anniversary was presented on 31st of January at Fort Revelin. It was also an opportunity for the presentation of the first Festival TV productions (On the Terrace and Acis and Galatea), which are ready for the media market.
Dora Ruždjak Podolski explains:
“While preparing the theatre programme we followed the key guidelines: the Dubrovnik ambience and the Festival Drama Ensemble gathering, which is a special kind of representation of the Croatian Theatre. The premieres will include Gogol’s play The Government Inspector, directed by the Slovenian theatre director Jernej Lorenci, and the play by the Croatian playwright and novelist Tomislav Zajec The Delivered, directed by the Zagreb theatre director Franka Perković. The Government Inspector by Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol, the founder of the modern Russian realism, is a satirical play dealing with human nature and negative instances, but it is also a comedy of characters and situations.
“Modernity is actually the main reason for including The Government Inspector in the Festival programme. In spite of the time that passed after the play’s first performance, Gogol remained equally intriguing and actual ever since. He created characters that became the synonyms for human laziness, stupidity, selfishness, light-mindedness and corruption. A member of the Slovenian younger middle generation of theatre directors, Jernej Lorenci will undoubtedly explore the motifs and reasons why Gogol’s characters have become «grotesque monsters» of the modern time. By exposing them, he will again reach the human core, on his deductive way from the outside towards the inside.
“Tomislav Zajec’s play The Delivered (2009) is the last part of the trilogy, which also comprises the plays Dorothy Gale (2007) and The Astronauts (2008). An assistant lecturer at the Zagreb Academy of Theatre Arts, Tomislav Zajec (Zagreb, 1972) has published three collections of poetry and four novels, and has written eight original plays. The Rescued is a story of nine people who initially meet at the moment of a car accident. Precisely a year after that, we see them facing the consequences of the accident, but also of that what they are. The play depicts a profoundly personal struggle of each individual for finding a rescue within the frame of his own life. It reveals the fact of how lonely we have been in this struggle, and of this struggle being nevertheless familiar to all of us, yet painfully the same in is essence. Franka Perković was chosen to stage this play particularly for her ability to give the crude realistic form a poetic expression, along with her well-known «gently cruel» direction style. She has also successfully directed a number of plays by younger Croatian playwrights such as Ivana Sajko and Dubravko Mihanović, and has staged several plays by Miroslav Krleža in a modern and engaged manner.
“One could say that her «specialization» in the Croatian drama is a welcome novelty at the Festival. Still searching for appropriate venues for their plays, both theatre directors will make their debuts at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and thus enrich its theatre programme.”
The repeat performances will include the last year’s premieres of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Ivica Kunčević and Vojnović’s one-act play On the Terrace, directed by Joško Juvančić, as well as the best performance in the Year of Marin Držić, The Miser, directed by Ivica Kunčević.
The rich and varied music programme continued the practice of featuring big orchestras both at the beginning and closing of the Festival. The programme will commence with the concert of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir directed by Ivan Repušić.
Maestro Repušić, the current Festival music director says:
“On 11 July, they will perform one of the best -known classical cantatas Carmina Burana in the memory of Maestro Vjekoslav Šutej. Owing to the outstanding interpretation of this piece, Maestro Šutej became renowned worldwide. As the former Festival music programme director, Vjekoslav Šutej – who conducted Carmina Burana at the Dubrovnik Festival as well – wished the piece to become a standard Festival programme item.
The Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan, the excellence of which is proved by Maestro Ricardo Chailly’s eight-year artistic directorship, will perform the closing Festival concert on 25 August. Both concerts will take place in front of St Blaise’s Church, the venue which symbolises the opening and closing of the Festival. Other outstanding concerts include two appearances of the corn player Radovan Vlatković with the Wiener Concert-Verein of Vienna, who will perform the works by W. A. Mozart and L. Sorkočević. Among other highlights are the baroque concerts of Händel’s and Vivaldi’s arias with the brilliant Croatian counter-tenor Max Emanuel Cenčić – who will thus make his Dubrovnik debut -, the piano recitals of Nikolai Lugansky and Boris Berezovsky and the lied recital of Zoran Todorovich, who will perform the pieces by Bellini and Puccini. Worth mentioning are the performances of the violinist Gilles Apap with the Zagreb Soloists, an intriguing duo – Stefan Milenkovich and Edin Karamazov, the Cellomania Ensemble with Monika Leskovar and Giovanni Solima, the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and the returning Festival visitor the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Repušić announced the continuation of the chamber opera tradition at the Festival, with Croatia’s first class performers. The world renowned singer Giorgio Surian, the Orlando Prize winner Valentina Fijačko and the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra will perform Pergolesi’s La Serva padrona and Telemann’s comic cantata Der Schulmeister under the baton of Tomislav Fačini.
In addition to the traditional performances of the folk ensembles Lado of Zagreb and Linđo of Dubrovnik, the Festival has prepared several off programmes.
Discover your sea legs and romantic Rovinj this year, with a luxurious sailing break in Western Istria, Croatia. The recently opened five-star Monte Mulini is offering couples the chance to learn a new skill, and more about each other, during a five-night stay which includes a 3-day sailing excursion along the lively coast of Rovinj.
Western Istria is a sailor’s paradise with crystal-clear waters and huge variety of flora and fauna make this coastline a natural paradise. For three days you can explore the 22 islands and islets on your own personal sailboat, complete with English-speaking skipper to coach you through the sailing basics. By the end of the trip you will know how to lift, lower and trim the sales and honed your skill at other essentials, including simple manoeuvres and weighing and slipping anchor.
At the end of a long day on the water, the Hotel Monte Mulini is a luxurious haven for couples. The true romance of its location is evident immediately on arrival, as its dramatic glass wall over three levels greets guests as they check-in with undisturbed views of the sea. The remaining public areas are similarly designed to maximise natural light and all guest rooms benefit from balconies offering fantastic views of the chic pool area and the surrounding bay and nature reserve.
For a bit of well-earned pampering, spend some time in the Hotel Monte Mulini’s spa. Set over two levels with reception and treatment rooms on the upper level, above the pool and sauna area, the Monte Mulini Wellness Centre includes a VIP Salon with zones which can be booked by individuals or couples for individually designed treatments which last for up to four hours.
Gourmet couples are well catered for at Hotel Monte Mulini. Mediterraneo is the hotel’s à la carte restaurant with 54 seats in a spacious terraced area for alfresco dining and relaxation on warmer days. While guests sample delicious Mediterranean fusion cuisine they can enjoy fine views of the pool area, the bay and romantic sunsets. On cooler evenings a further 118 covers are available inside, but guests still benefit from the views.
The traditional Croatian Wine Vault restaurant on the lowest level is a fine dining restaurant with 60 seats serving French delicacies, with an extensive wine list including the best labels from Croatian and around the world.
Rovinj itself is Croatia’s Blue Pearl of the Adriatic with its cobbled streets, Venetian architecture, natural forest parks and beautiful churches and chapels is a short stroll along the marina from the hotel and offers endless opportunities for aimless wandering. One of the most picturesque towns in the Mediterranean, the old town is perched on a narrow peninsula high up on a hill, crowded with terracotta-roofed houses and crowned by the 18th century Church of St Euphemia, the bell tower of which dominates Rovinj’s skyline. A central square is edged with lively cafés and restaurants spreading out on to a charming harbour crammed with sailing and fishing boats – all in all perfect for watching the world go by.
The Hotel Monte Mulini’s luxury sailing break is available between 15th May and 11th June and costs €2,750.00 for two people. Included are five-nights accommodation in a deluxe room, with a full buffet breakfast, and a 3-day charter of a private yacht and skipper.
Yet another East European find in Waitrose, this time a bottle of Croatian red wine! Croatia is renowned for its wine, particularly its red which is hearty, rich and intense in flavour and colour.
Plavac Mali is produced at the Svirče Winery on the island of Hvar, located on the Adriatic. The vineyard is noted for its quality wines. This particular bottle is a ripe, smooth red, from the Plavac Mali grape. This grape variety, indigenous to Hvar, is closely related to Zinfandel and so the wine has a very similar style.
The Plavac Mali is soft enough to drink one its own but makes an ideal pairing to beef dishes such as cevapi served with ajvar. Alternatively serve with a delicious Sunday lamb roast. Packed with notes of punchy berry fruits this bottle is simply delicious and would not be a poor accompaniment to an abundant cheese board.
The number of tourists visiting Montenegro is increasing each year and so it came as little surprise to hear about this new development in Lustica. Orascom Development Holding AG plans to build a fully integrated town covering a total area of 6.8million square meters in Lustica, in the municipality of Tivat on the Mediterranean’s Traste Bay. The project will create 2,350 residential units, hotels, a town centre, a marina on the Adriatic Sea and an 18-hole golf course. The first phase is expected to be open by 2015.
Orascom Development will retain a 90 per cent stake in Lustica Development AD Podgorica, while the Government of Montenegro will hold the balance. This project is Orascom Development’s third in Europe and is a further extension of the company’s integrated town model. Now operating in nine countries including Switzerland, United Kingdom, Egypt, Oman, Morocco, UAE, Mauritius, Jordan and Montenegro, the group portfolio covers approximately 141 million square meters.
The last few days in the UK have been sunny and warm, so it seemed only right to enjoy some summer food inspired by the Adriatic region. This salad is quick but so delicious and makes an excellent starter, light main course or side dish. Serve with some great chunks of fresh wholemeal or granary bread.
This is such a great fresh dish with fantastic flavour and super cheap if you opt to use tinned sardines. Plus, do not forget, sardines are a great source of those all important omega-3 and I truly believe what they say, fish is brain food!
Ingredients (serves 6)
8 large firm ripe tomatoes
1 large red onion
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp good olive oil
18 – 24 small cooked sardines
75g black pitted olives, drained well
salt and freshly ground pepper
(I used smoked salt but regular salt will be fine)
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Slice the tomatoes very thinly
Arrange the tomatoes on a serving plate
Top with slices of red onion
Mix together the white wine vinegar, olive oil and seasoning and spoon over tomatoes and onion