Andro Tomić meets The Independent… in Gariful’s semi-submarine.
A few days ago, I received a message from Zagreb asking if I would be interested in a visit to Hvar from The Independent. They were in Croatia to do a story for the EU, and the suggestion was an interview with unofficial Croatian EU spokesman Andro Tomić.
Nobody can wait for EU accession more than Andro. Not because of the new markets opening for him, but because of the stream of journalists asking for his views on the Prošek scandal. Because of his stylish profile and Romanesque winery, he has become the face of both the Prošek scandal and Croatia’s EU entry, all of which has been good for business – sales of Prošek have doubled. Swiss TV two days ago, The Independent today, Ukranian TV tomorrow. Things should quieten down for him after July 1 – he has done a magnificent job.
We thought it might be rather fun to suggest presenting Andro in rather a different way, as well as promoting Hvar’s newest tourist attraction, the Gariful semi-submarine, at the same time. One of Andro’s most popular wines is his white Sveti Klement, produced from grapes grown on the island of the same name, so what better way to start the interview than with Andro quaffing a glass in a submarine en route to the Pakleni Islands.
On hand as you would expect was the Gariful catering service. The restaurant recently launched a yacht supply service, in addition to yacht and wedding catering, and now they can add submarine catering too…
Apologies to people who had tickets for the submarine and were slightly delayed, and many thanks to Gariful for the temporary use of the vessel – my first time inside, and at 80 kuna a person for the 30 minute ride, it is a great family attraction for the island.
Then it was time to head back to the heart of wine, and the Tomić winery in Jelsa, where the kids joined us as we were departing for the lavender festival straight after. Andro has held many interviews in the last two months, but I am not sure he has faced such tough questioning from the tag team of The Independent and Total Hvar Junior simultaneously…
The interview was conducted over a glass of wine in his magnificent cellars, and we were soon joined by a group of 22 travel agents from Benelux, who were on a familiarisation trip to Hvar with boutique specialist Hvar Tours. MUCH more about this as soon as we get the photos from a spectacular event in Malo Grablje last night – I have never seen the village look so magical.
It was great to spend time with The Independent, who went home with lots of Hvar wine information – and a bottle or two – and the promise that they will be back in September.
To learn more about the Sveti Klement, Hvar TV filmed the 2012 harvest, a really fun day out. It all happens at Vlaka, one of the least visited and most interesting places on the Pakleni Islands. Find out why in the video below.