There are so many new things of interest on Hvar that I am discovering, and I am excited about promoting them. How about this fabulous gem deep in the back streets of old town Vrboska. Exquisite!
There are many places which sell wine on the island, and there are many traditional konobas (wine cellars) to visit, but none combines the two as well as a little building in the back of the old town of Vrboska. Not just a konoba and not quite a restaurant, Pinjata offers something probably unique on Hvar, and it was a pleasure to spend a fascinating hour there this weekend.
Part of the Hvar Winemakers Association, whose 13 members are slowly beginning to bring unity to the island’s wine message (and will be holding a series of public tastings this summer), I think I am correct in saying that Pinjata was the first of them to do organised tastings in a konoba environment.
So many cellars get passed off as an authentic konoba, with the insertion of a wine barrel or equivalent, but few have the quality of detail that exists at Pinjata. My favourite part of the tour was the step down from the main room into a smaller storage room; to the left, racks of bottles dating back fifty years, to the right new oak barrels, and in the middle a delighful bench and table – just enough room for a couple to relax with a glass and take in the ambiance.
The konoba, the whole complex, is beautifully presented, from the wine press and water tank in the courtyard to the traditional artefacts which are dotted around the konoba itself. Hidden away in the back streets, just behind the main church fortress, the building is not the easiest to spot, but it is well worth the effort – it is perhaps 15m behind the church down the central street.
A second surprise was hearing that Pinjata was quite busy with tastings, despite the tourist season being not yet in full swing. Two groups of fifty guests each had passed through the konoba, leaving delighted at this true snapshot of authentic Dalmatia.
Pinjata is the first stop in the excellent wine tour of Secret Hvar, whose excursion takes people on a Hvar wine experience which extends beyond the mere tasting of wine. After Pinjata, Secret Hvar takes guests to the Romanesque tasting rooms of Andro Tomić in Jelsa, giving a comprehensive wine experience on its highly recommded tour.
What further sets Pinjata apart from the rest is its menu, something so simple and yet rarely available in a formal setting. Perhaps best described as ‘Dalmatian tapas’, the konoba offers portions of various nibbles for sale with the wine – Dalmatian ham, cheese, cheese in olive oil, fish paté, olives, sardines and other local specialities. Wine can be ordered by the glass, 0.25, 0.5 or full litres, and the prices are extremely competitive.
The owners, who speak English and German, are passionate about what they do – as can be seen by the attention to detail in their property – and the knowledge they impart is as impressive as the things on view.
All the wines on offer for tasting are produced by the family, and include Bogdanuša, Parč, Plavac and Pinjatino čorno, and there are also various rakijas to be tasted, as well as prošek.
All in all, a wonderful Dalmatian experience, and well worth seeking out. For more information and to book, call them on +385 (0)21 774 262