Watch What You Eat! Delicious Food Festival in Pula

Total Croatia News

In Pula this weekend? Consider yourself lucky.

Sights and monuments aside, we all know what we’re most likely to do when visiting a foreign city: eat. We eat (and drink) our way through the local gastronomy scene, as anything that has to do with food is the fastest way to get a grip of a certain culture. From open markets to restaurants only locals know about, it’s the gourmet offer that will stay etched in your memory the longest. 

We have plenty of traditional food festivals here in Croatia, and they all deliver what they promise in the title: dishes indigenous to certain towns or regions, all prepared either by professional chefs or experienced locals who have been honing their cooking skills in their own households for decades. You’ll never leave disappointed, except if you were late to the party and came only to find the plates and serving pans cleaned out by the merry crowd.

However, there’s a festival in Pula this weekend that takes the notion of traditional cuisine even more seriously. Watch What You Eat (Pazi što jedeš), a manifestation that’s about to take place from October 20 to 22, has an especially heartwarming theme this year: transfer of knowledge about food preparation, and preservation of certain flavours in Mediterranean cuisine.

Those who dedicated their lives to food, those who grow it, those who research it and write about it, all of them have collaborated to bring this project to life, reports Novi list on October 19, 2017. In the span of three days, the participating experts will hold numerous engaging activities: art workshops and storytelling sessions for kids, cooking workshops where visitors will be taught how to prepare traditional types of pasta, educational lectures about nutrition, ecology and sustainable development… Everyone will surely find something to their liking; even if you’re not up to attend workshops and dig your palms in some pasta dough, you can take a look around the Eco Fair where more than 30 producers will present their products ranging from fruit and vegetables to milk, honey, medicinal herbs and other natural wonders. All producers have eco certificates; you can find them throughout the weekend between 10:00 and 19:00.

The festival kicks off on Friday, October 20, with an opening ceremony at 12:30. Around 13:00, you can sample some Pazin Cukerančići, phenomenal Istrian cookies dusted with sugar (cukar/cuker in dialect, hence the name). In the evening, starting from 19:00, there’ll be a presentation of a craft Pale Ale named Kampanjola, produced by Eko&Bira from Istria.

On Saturday, there are multiple workshops about nutrition, raw food and aromatherapy. However, one particular event takes the spotlight: Chatting about cookbooks (Ćakulice o kuharicama), a panel that will present the results of an ethnological research project. Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb spent a few days in Pićan in Istria earlier this year, researching and documenting knowledge and skills in traditional food preparation. They interviewed local ladies and peeked into their old recipe notebooks, learned about traditional Istrian cuisine, and filmed a documentary about their findings. That’s what I meant about taking tradition seriously – not only enjoying its many facets, but making an effort to learn more about it, to immerse yourself in it, and to create something valuable that will pass on the knowledge. Definitely worth a view!

Watch What You Eat ends on Sunday, a day that starts with an eco breakfast and ends with a pasta-making class and a raw-food workshop. Use the last opportunity to check out the eco fair and get some goodies to bring back home… and start looking forward to next year’s edition that will focus on places where food is made and consumed – Watch Where You Eat!

Learn more about the festival here and on Facebook.


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