April 5. 2023 – If you know that Croatia has an eastern part, you know it’s where the wine and gastro region of Baranja lies. And if you know about Baranja, you know about Karanac – good for food, festivals, and even crypto. Among its most famous events is the Spring Fair, where traditional food, music, and dances are presented and celebrated. The central part of the whole thing is the Smokehouse Princess award given out for the heaviest slab of bacon, of course.
As Glas Slavonije writes, this time, the winner was Matija Povoljnjak from Jagodnjak, a 12-year-old with just a little help from his father. The boy brought the heaviest bacon, weighing 19.5 kilograms, to Saturday’s Spring Fair in Karanac, which was declared this year’s smokehouse princess.
His father, Zlatko, the owner of the OPG of the same name, taught Matija the secrets of the pig and pork business from an early age.
“Dad gave me a pig that I took care of. When she became a sow from a piglet, we did the butchery and left a big slab of bacon. It needs to be seasoned, smoked, and later dried in the air”, Matija explained after a dozen slabs of bacon were weighed and he was announced the winner. When asked about the fate of the smokehouse princess, Matija, with a smile, answered briefly: “We will eat it.”
OPG Zlatko Povoljnjak produced last year’s smokehouse princess as well, which weighed 15.6 kilograms. This year’s “silver” was the Lovrenčić family bacon weighing 19 kilograms, and the “bronze” was the OPG Kopljar slab of 16.50 kilograms.
Before the bacon weighing, an interesting game was played, which the organizers called “Who hangs the longest.” All those interested had to hold a 7.3-kilogram ham with both hands outstretched. The longest time anyone held it was 3.45 minutes, by Mario Sokač, who did not have to return the ham to the organizer since the prop itself was the main prize. All participants paid five euros to participate in the competition, and all the proceeds were donated to an ill resident of Karanac.
Considering the rain, this year’s fair in Karanac attracted a relatively large number of people. Among the visitors was even a TV crew from Korea. The offer was slightly more modest than usual, but everyone could find something for themselves.
“We also organized this fair to preserve our local products, which you can taste and buy directly from the producers. These are not products found in plastic wraps or under lights in retail chains. These are all ours and local. This festival only shows that we are on the right track, because the number of visitors is increasing year by year, and we haven’t done anything special. We’re just doing what we’ve always done. Not even us, but our grandfathers”, said Vladimir Škrobo Bajo, the event’s initiator.
Matej Perkušić, the Baranja Tourist Board director, is happy with the turnout. He reiterated that similar events complement Baranja’s tourist offer, especially since more accommodation is requested in Baranja during their events.
For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.