Badnjak (Christmas Eve) Means Only One Thing – Free Bakalar!

Total Croatia News

There were a few things I didn’t get used to during my time in Dalmatia. I never quite developed a taste for the local favourite, blitva (Swiss chard), my father-in-law will confirm I was not the most regular helping hand in the family field. 

And I never quite got into eating a seasonal essential, bakalar. 

I am not really sure how to describe it. Basically, it is dried cod, imported from Norway, then soaked for 24 hours minimum and prepared with garlic, potatoes and a host of other goodness. The smell is horrendous, and I am still recovering from doing my wife a favour when she was the tourist board director in Vrboksa by agreeing to transport a huge pot of the wretched stuff from its preparation in a restaurant in Jelsa to the waiting crowd in Vrboska. I was trying to de-codify my car from the smell for weeks. 

A little like tripe, liver and Bertie Bassetts liquorice allsorts, it was something you either liked or you hated. 

I am clearly in the minority, however, as most people here love the stuff. And tomorrow sees a very nice tradition, as local authorities all over the region will be serving up free portions of bakalar in squares all over Dalmatia with (I think, from memory – the only thing that got me through the experience), a glass a three of wine. 

Whatever your feelings are about bakalar, it is a very social occasion which brings the community together, whether or not you are a fan, and it is an ideal introduction to the holiday season. 

Jelsa will be hosting their bakalar event tomorrow at 11:00 on the main square. See you there!


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