Official Album Launch “Deep Into Croatia” by Tomec&Grabber Held at Ambasada Bibich

Total Croatia News

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August 22, 2019 – That Croatia can be interpreted and reinterpreted with music, presented by gastronomy and enjoyed in so many ways, was clearly shown on 17th of August in Skradin, at the Ambasada Bibich, actually a winery, but also much more. This was the official launch of the third album by the dynamic duo Tomec&Grabber (Krešimir Tomec and Marco Grabber). It is actually a music project that started nine years ago with ”Dalmatian Dub” and ”Dalmatian Lounge” as a concept to reinterpret Croatian tradition in a modern, contemporary way. The new album combines modern downtempo/Ethno/house music with traditional sounds from Croatia, so the evening of the launch was dedicated not only to music, but also to great Croatian gastronomy and wine.

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The terrace of the Ambasada Bibich, overlooking the yacht-filled marina, welcomed the guests in minimalistic design adorned solely with tens of wine barrels, from which more than just one welcome drink was offered. Wines from the Bibich winery were served all evening long, including the fresh and crisp rosé, the aromatic and spicy white wine Debit and the full-bodied, rounded Babić. The wines were in absolute tune with the whole idea of the evening, since Alen Bibić in his Bibich wines notoriously and famously combines the respect of the traditional ways of blending varieties and the most modern technologies in his wine production. The „black&white story“ of the evening, with whites and reds in wine (red wines in Croatia are actually called black), and the matching surroundings just as the food – were all consistent.  

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The musical part of the evening was opened by Stipe Širinić, who made a great intro and created an upbeat setting, giving it away to klapa Skradinski Buk. The members of the klapa gave everyone in the marina a taste of traditional acapella Dalamtian sounds, so not only did the guests enjoy their marvelous voices, but anyone passing by had the chance to hear them and enjoy – just as the guests in the comfort of their boats or yachts did. The musical intro led to the official beginning of the evening, where Hana Čičić, one of the initiators of this event,  welcomed all personally, and on behalf of the whole team.

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The gastronomic part of the evening was pure joy. The man in charge was chef Mate Janković who prepared the first two courses. The traditional Dalmatian platter of cheese and prosciutto was recreated in a fritter, while the ”brudet” was reinterpreted in a one-bite canapé. Even more interesting food was prepared by Alen Bibić’s wife, chef extraordinaire, Vesna, who created four courses, all black, all of them a sort of „return to squid“ or squid revisited, winemaker Alen Bibić’s favourite childhood food. A cone of squid with squid cream and so-called squid caviar, black sage tempura, black squid cracker with garlic creme, and a squid roll with smoked chicken. 

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Music critic and promoter Dubravko Jagatić held a short interview with Tomec and Grabber, about the whole idea and the concept of keeping the tradition in a contemporary form. Jagatić expressed the importance of good promotion of the album, but also emphasized how crucial it is to hold the high standard in all areas – music, gastronomy, art and enology. Marco Grabber played music from all three albums and afterwards, the new album was signed by the authors. The promotion of the new album ”Deep Into Croatia” showed the importance of combining great food with good music, and the importance of a musical setting for any form of food – whether you are having a meal at home, on the street or in a restaurant. 

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Good beats and good vibes were not in short supply – and good flavours neither. NinaGina Pastries prepared very impressive sweet bites, all based on what we know traditional, local and ”old”, but made in a very contemporary manner. A reinterpretation of the traditional fig cake with almonds, hazelnuts and truffle honey, Creamy cubes with lemons from the island of Brač, Mini walnut tarts, the traditional sweet fritter Fritula made from choux pastry and served with homemade fig jam – small and sweet, were all a great success. And while many thought that the cherry on the top was already served, out came cheese and olive oil. And not just any oil: it was the best olive oil in Croatia, from the region that was repeatedly named the best for the olive oil in the whole world – Istrian Vodnjan. Four extra virgin olive oils from the Chiavalon brothers – Romano, Mlado (meaning ”young”), Organic and finally Ex Ablis were served.

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The post-desert was completed with the very best of Dalmatian cheese, the one from the island of Pag. Martina Pernar from Paška Sirana brought aged cheeses from 2019 and 2018 which were perfectly paired with the oils and home-baked bread. The celebration of the best food, wine and music continued until the first rays of sunlight. The Slovenian pianist Boštjan Golinar also performed bringing back memories by playing piano classics. No doubt, it was an exceptional evening, beginning with the tradition but expressing the importance of remembering what it is we have in Croatia, and from what can grow from further. The conclusion was unanimous: we have to stick to true values in food, music, wine –  and it is of utmost importance for a successful future to acknowledge the past adequately represent it in the present. 

Photos by Davor Ergo (additional photos by Richard Gruica)

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