A glorious day of culture, tradition, fine dining, wine and song on May 10, 2016, as Hvar Town celebrated the Feast of St. Prosper.
When is the best time to visit Hvar Town?
It largely depends on what you are looking for of course, but to see a community celebrating its traditions and culture in a relaxed atmosphere at the start of another busy tourist season, May 10, 2017 would be a great time to visit Hvar Town – the feast day of patron saint St. Prosper.
What was once unofficially the start of the season, as well as a celebration of the saint has become one of the nicest days in the calendar with something for everyone.
Stall-holders setting up shop with their indigenous goods for sale – behind them the oldest public theatre in Europe, dating back to 1612, a reminder of Hvar’s rich heritage. (With thanks to organisers Udruga Forske Uzonce for the daytime photos)
A variety of attractions and things for sale, there was something for everyone in the all-day fair around the main square, the largest in Dalmatia at 4,700m2.
The view from the terrace of the oldest public theatre in Europe. Directly opposite the San Marco terrace of Suncani Hvar’s Hotel Palace, which would be the scene of the gourmet spectacle later. Hotel Palace is the location of the origins of organised tourism in Europe, which the founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868, just one more feature to this fascinating square. 150 years of organised tourism in Europe will be celebrated in 2018 – it will be a great opportunity to showcase the heritage of Croatia’s premier island.
And there was plenty of song and dance, with the young island ballerinas proving popular once more.
As darkness fell, the music continued, as preparations for the gastro event took place. There is plenty of friendly rivalry (and revelry…) among the restaurateurs of Hvar Town at the St. Prosper event, which is hosted by the island’s leading hotel group, Suncani Hvar, with each participating restaurant submitting three dishes for general consumption, as well as for the judges.
There were plenty of other attractions on show as well, including a cooking class on Hvar fish speciality, gregada.
In an expanded event from last year, there were plenty of visitors taking part including Restaurant Saran from Zemun in Belgrade, whose Serbian dishes proved a hit. Saran has a special relationship with Hvar, as it hosts the annual Days of Hvar Cuisine each year, when the team from Hvar restaurant Kod Kapetana decamp to the Serbian capital and Restaurant Saran becomes a tiny piece of Hvar for three weeks, serving only the Hvar menu. The event has grown in popularity over the years.
There is no party without legendary Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic. Tomic was one of several winemakers from Hvar, whose wines were available for tasting, as well as other winemakers including Kozlovic and Kutjevo. Entrance for the event was under 10 euro, and there was plenty to eat and drink. Several tourists overnighting in the town on boats could not believe their luck, and they got a bargain evening’s quality entertainment in a picturesque spot.
There were medals. Lots of them. Too many for this correspondent to note, especially after so much good wine, but I distinctly remember that congratulations were in order for Paradies Garden, whose neame kept appearing in the medal role call.
The atmosphere, ambience and setting was far better than this correspondent’s photography.
And then the highlight for some (with thanks to avid fan Zdravko Podolski for the photo) – a compelling live performance from Zvonko Bogdan from Vojvodina, which went on into the early hours.
There can be few more spectacular terraces in the region – looking over the historic square, Hvar’s exclusive waterfront and the fabled Pakleni Islands. A wonderful view to match a fabulous day.
May 10, 2017 – mark the day.