Taste the Mediterranean: Split Festival Brings Together World’s Top and Local Chefs

Daniela Rogulj

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From October 6 to 9, Split will become the gastronomic center of the Mediterranean. The international festival Taste the Mediterranean brings the top world and local chefs to the city, whose restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars and Gault & Millau points. Chefs from seven countries will be guests at the Split restaurants Dvor, Kadena, Kinoteka, Hotel Park, Zora Bila, and Zrno Soli. Together with the host chefs, they will prepare six-course Mediterranean gala dinners accompanied by top wines, reports Dalmatinski Portal.

Chef Zlatko Marinović Noštromo will prepare an exclusive feast for the festival participants at the opening evening. The city’s Fish Market will be turned into an elegant restaurant for the occasion.

For the first time during the festival, ‘Nights of Split restaurants’ will be held, an event organized by Taste the Mediterranean and the Tommy retail chain, a premium partner of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival, which recognized the value of this event for presenting and promoting Split and Split and Dalmatian gastronomy. The restaurants included in this program, 15 of them, will offer a special three-course Mediterranean menu and wine at a popular price to the citizens of Split and tourists on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, and provide them with a unique enogastronomic experience. The restaurants include Atlantida, Bajamonti, Brasserie on 7, Bokeria, Corto Maltese, Dujkin Dvor, Fantažija, Konoba Fetivi, Konoba Marul, Mazgoon, Laganini, Pandora Greenbox, Portofino, Sidi bar, and Šug. The tastes and aromas of the Mediterranean will be felt at every step of the city, and Split, as an authentic Mediterranean center of rich cultural and historical heritage, will show a wide range of its gastronomic offer: from fine dining to taverns (konobas).

The festival’s main events will take place at the Briig Boutique Hotel, where the participants of the panel ‘Catering during and after COVID’ will gather on Thursday, October 7. The pandemic has hit tourism worldwide hard; not only has it affected the decline in catering turnover, but it has also imposed new rules and models of winning over guests and meeting their needs. Chef Vesna Miletić, Jelena Tabak, president of the National Association of Croatian Caterers, chef Ippei Uemura, Filip Verbanac, director of the Department for Spirits, Coffee and Catering Coca-Cola HBC for the Adria business unit, and Ivo Vrdoljak, restaurant owner, will uncover how professionals from the hospitality sector are coping with new challenges.

The importance of waste management in the hospitality and hotel industry will be discussed at the ‘Zero waste’ panel on Friday, October 8, and its participants are Nataša Kalauz, CEO of WWF Adria, chef Lionel Levy, president of the French association Gourméditerranée, Suzana Musa, CEO Veneficus, and Francesco Pantalone, General Manager of the Bellevue Hotel in Mali Lošinj.

Exchanging experiences and networking with other Mediterranean countries and the education of pupils, students, and professionals are the main goals of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival. Therefore, the program also includes culinary masterclasses of top foreign and domestic chefs and workshops for students of the private catering school Oliva Allegra, high school Aspira and high school Jure Kaštelan in Omiš.

The panel discussion ‘Learn and make your dreams come true’ is also intended for young people who want to invest in their knowledge. Kruno Rozić, head of education at the Raise the Bar Academy, will present how young chefs, waiters, and bartenders can win a Coca-Cola Academy Raise the Bar scholarship for training in prestigious world culinary schools. In addition, confectioner Tea Mamut, chef Nikolina Putica, chef Deni Srdoč from the Rijeka restaurant Nebo, and Tonči Drlje, head of gastronomy at the Aspira High School, will all share their inspirational stories of education in an international environment.

Taste the Mediterranean has established extraordinary cooperation with Spain, the festival’s partner country, for the second year in a row and brings its specialties, wines, and olive oils to Split. In addition to the cooking show at the Briig Boutique Hotel, Spanish products will be presented by chef Maria Jimenez Latorre. At the Park Hotel with chef Goran Šikić, they will prepare a gala dinner with specialties from their country.

The festival’s exclusive wine tastings will be led by excellent wine connoisseurs Alen Gulan, Siniša Koceić, and Rajner Rogulj from Split’s Vinolike. At the same time, Dr. Mirella Žanetić will especially present Spanish extra virgin olive oils.

A group of chefs from the French association Gourméditerranée is also coming to the festival to present the gastronomy of Provence and the south of France in the best light, as well as the great world event Gout de France.

On Saturday, October 9, the festival participants will discover the beauties of Omiš and the Cetina river canyon and enjoy the delicacies of Radman’s mills and Arsana Tasting House in Omis.

It will be an exciting promotion of Split and Dalmatia as the leading Mediterranean eno gastronomic destination and promote Croatian Mediterranean identity, food, and heritage.

Taste the Mediterranean is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Tourism and CNTB, Split-Dalmatia County, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, and the Split Tourist Board.

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