Plava Kamenica first spoke to the owner of Đurina Hiža and Reshetka, Nikola Božić, at the Zagreb Burger Festival in the autumn of 2020 about his pioneering project – breeding of the first herd of Croatian wagyu cattle.
A year later, the Đurina Hiža restaurant in Varaždinske Toplice, one of Croatia’s most respected meat addresses, will present its first dishes with the first Croatian wagyu at two dinners in February.
With Davorin Štetner and in cooperation with the Jastrebarsko veterinary station, Božić started breeding wagyu-holstein cattle in Žumberak Nature Park at 750 meters above sea level in Tihočaj. Until now, this crossbreed could only be heard about as a curiosity from Japan.
“This farm is the result of two of my desires, which I have been working on for years,” Nikola Božić said to Plava Kamenica then. “I have been dissatisfied with the general quality of meat available in Croatia for a long time, and it became clear to me that sooner or later, I will have to start breeding to get the quality I want to work with,” Božić said, adding that his other motive was smarter cattle breeding.
“I have been dealing with meat for years; I have visited many places in Croatia and, with some exceptions, but I think that the general level of breeding is very poor. When I saw the conditions in which cows live on some farms, I began to understand vegans,” says Božić. He found out that there were wagyu and holstein hybrids in Croatia at the fair in Gudovac, and he found them in Međimurje.
Crossbreeding holstein cows and bulls that produce wagyu beef has been widespread in Japan and Australia for years. Wagyu beef is known for its almost perfect marbling, an intramuscular fat that is impossible to imitate, but cattle have a mild and timid nature. By crossbreeding with Holstein, they get characteristics to adapt more easily to breeding in European and American climates. Although it does not achieve the highest Japanese quality levels, wagyu from Western breeding is becoming increasingly popular due to its availability and delicious meat. Spaniards came the furthest with a marbling of 6/12 and the Americans with 9/12, which is phenomenal.
Nikola Božić is one of the fiercest examples of the endurance of the Croatian restaurant industry. The pandemic seriously threatened the business of Đurina Hiža and street food brand Reshetka. Still, Božić was one of the first to launch nationwide delivery during the lockdown, which resulted in the new brand Deda ide po veti and new meat product lines such as Low & Slow. With the restaurant reopening, everything they risked and did during the pandemic began to return to Đurina Hiža, says Božić.
The first dinner dedicated to Croatian wagyu beef, announced for February 18, is sold out; the second will be held on February 25 for a maximum of 25 guests. There will be wagyu burgers and steaks on the menu, and if you don’t get a place at this wagyu dinner, you can buy it and try to prepare it yourself!
Varaždinska 70, Varaždinske Toplice
Friday, February 18 and Friday, February 25, 2022
The number of places is limited to 20 to 25
Reservations: [email protected] or 098/9562435
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