April 27, 2019 – The second day of this year’s Korculanske Pjatance Korcula Spring Food and Wine Festival took an outstanding look at one of the pillars of Dalmatian society at Bistro Radiona – ‘marenda’, the Dalmatian brunch.
Korcula in Spring is mesmerising. This is my second visit to the island of Marco Polo at this time of year, both to the excellent Korculanske Pjatance Spring Food and Wine Festival. It is fast becoming one of my essential entries in the calendar, for it has everything Croatia could – and should – be offering in its shoulder months.
But how to beat the incredible start of the opening day, where Konoba Maha in Zrnova played host to an extraordinary display of local nibbles, washed down with tequila and a copious quantity of Korcula’s famed Posip and Grk wines? The wise ones among us kept a little space for the evening spectacle – and arguably the event of the festival – a 5-course special at Lesic Dimitri Palace, paired with Korculan wines and introduced by Master of Wine Jo Ahearne.
What could possibly compare to that, I pondered to myself, on an early morning stroll (see video above), taking in the breathtaking gorgeousness of this historic old town jutting out into the Adriatic?
First up on day 2 was ‘Marenda – the Art of Dalmatian Brunch’ at Bistro Radiona, a waterfront restaurant a short walk from the old town.
Marenda is a double-edged word for me, and for many years, it had a really negative connotation for me.
State institutions have an official break in the middle of the morning, also called Marenda. It is so-called as the hard-working officials who have been pushing paper around for at least a couple of hours, close the office and go for a coffee break and perhaps a snack. Nothing wrong with that, you might think. The only problem for those visiting officials in places like the tax office is that one never knew the time of the marenda, and so a locked office might be your reward for coming at the wrong time. And not only that – the normal marenda time was half an hour, just enough time to enjoy a nice leisurely coffee and gather some strength to push more paper around until lunchtime. So when I saw an advertised marenda time of 10:30 – 11:00, I would make sure I was in position by 10:59. Only to find that half an hour often became 45 minutes or an hour. Ah, life on a Dalmatian island.
But then there is the other type of marenda – the actual eating. The so-called Dalmatian brunch. And as I was about to find out, the Art of Brunch at Bistro Radiona on Korcula was a feast indeed.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I liked the warm welcome above.
And you can’t go wrong with a little prsut to kickstart proceedings.
We took our places at our table for two, our first mission to do battle with this wonderful plate of oysters.
A little marinated anchovies never hurt anyone, and I particularly enjoyed the fragrant rock samphire and caperberries. A really strong dish, which tasted every bit as good as it looked.
A little goat and fava bean stew.
While my friend opted for the limpet and sea snail tagliatelle.
The sea snails were quite chewy and easily prized from their shells.
There were more courses available, but I had had more than enough. Until the selection of traditional Korculan desserts came out.
And who can resist a little light rozada?
A truly exceptional presentation of the art of marenda. I will be back!
To learn more about Korcula, check out the Total Croatia guide, Korcula in a Page.