More international exposure for Croatia’s regional cuisine.
All fans of the television channel 24Kitchen know the name Donal Skehan from the travelogue show “Grandma’s Boy”. The young Irish singer, television presenter, writer, chef and photographer cooks in the show with Italian grandmas, searching for original Italian recipes and dishes. Each show ends up with the judgment of demanding Italian grandmas who rate Donal’s dishes. The Irishman eventually almost always earns their praise, and is usually seen wearing a big smile, reports Novi List on September 1, 2015.
Donal is a self-taught chef who began cooking at the age of four when he made his first pancakes. On Friday, the good-humoured Irishman, who now has his new series, was in Medulin in Croatia with the team from the television channel who were filming the new season dedicated to Europe. They were shooting in the olive groves of Goran Zgrablić, one of the founders of the Taste of Croatia website. In recent days, the filming took place all around Istria. During the last four days, Donal prepared black risotto with the famous chef Marina Gaši from Novigrad, searched for truffles in Buzet, tasted the wines of winemaker Dimitri Brečević, and tried fish with David Skoko from the famous tavern Batelina in Banjol.
For Skehan, this is his first visit to Istria. He was attracted by the fact that everybody describes Istria as an undiscovered culinary destination with excellent food, wine and olive oil. So he decided to include Istria in the series which will be shown on the Food Network starting from January. Istria will be presented alongside Istanbul, Stockholm, Krakow, Budapest, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Puglia, Ikaria in Greece and San Sebastian in Spain.
“I have come to Istria because I have heard that Croatia has a wonderful gastronomic scene and I knew immediately that I have to come here. Actually, I have already been to Croatia, I have sailed on the Dalmatian coast which is amazing. It was a long time ago, but I remember it was really fun. Although I was not particularly interested in gastronomy back then, I have already heard about Istria. I knew that I would eventually return to Croatia”, said the lover of good food who fell in love with Istria at the first sight.
The reason that he was surprised is that he did not expect such a wealth of ingredients, foods, good wines and olive oils. “I never thought that in Istria you have truffles. And the olive oil is fantastic as well. It is obvious that Croatia is currently experiencing a gastronomic revolution, because you not only have great products, but you also have people who are enthusiastic about food. For example, I have spent some time with Skoko whose restaurant is considered to be one of the best in Istria. He showed me how they fish, and the people who go fishing with him are waiters in his restaurant. I love such stories. In Istria, there is a great passion for local food”, said Skehan.
He will film his new series until mid-September. “We started shooting in early May and we will film in ten European destinations. This is a great project since I visit destinations that were on the list of places I have always wanted to see. Since I love travelling and food, for me this is a perfect project. Unfortunately, in each destination we spend only four days, but you do get a feel for the destination.”
When asked what his favourite cuisine is, he charmingly answers Istrian. “Istria is really on a high level, even though my wife is Swedish so I am supposed to say the Swedish cuisine. In Krakow, I was also stunned by their offerings. It was very interesting in San Sebastian because they have the highest concentration of restaurants with Michelin stars in one place. However, I was more impressed with home cooking. They really do have one of the most authentic culinary scenes I have ever had the opportunity to see”, said Donal.