It was arguably the biggest promotion of Croatia’s fabulous gourmet story of the year.
One of the biggest rock stars on the planet tucking into a lunch of outstanding Dalmatian quality by a renowned chef that so impressed him that the table applauded the chef when he appeared, and the rockstar asked for the chef’s phone number, pronouncing it one of the meals of his life.
Bono’s visit to the island of Hvar was short, but it was incredibly sweet from a promotional point of view, and his posting on the official U2 Facebook page of his experience with chef Hrvoje Zirojević at Laganani on Palmizana has so far spread the social media word to 123,000 people in terms of ‘likes’ and almost 5,000 ‘shares’.
The report of Bono’s meal at Laganini is our most popular story of the week, and you can read more about what was on the menu here.
With such a quality Dalmatian gourmet experience, it was to be expected that there might perhaps be some Dalmatian white in the glass with which Bono posed for his Facebook shot.
And indeed there was…
A little discreet background check revealed that the wine in question was indeed Dalmatian, and also one which had attracted the attention of the rich and famous already.
Just a little further south of Hvar lies the island of Korcula, birthplace of Marco Polo and home to two white wine treasures, Posip and the delightfully vowel-starved Grk.
Growing on the sandy vineyards of the village of Lumbarda, Grk is one of Croatia’s premier white wine varieties, and one in extremely short supply. The biggest supplier, Bire, produces between 30-50,000 bottles a year, some of which found their way to Bono’s table. So short is the supply that the winery limits sales of Grk to visitors of the winery to just two bottles per person, in order to ensure that there is wine tourism throughout the year. This has led to one of my favourite wine stories in Croatia, versions of which I have heard from different sources.
The story goes that part of the powerful Kennedy clan were on holiday in Dubrovnik from the United States, having dinner in an exclusive restaurant in the Pearl of the Adriatic. So taken were they by the Bire Grk served with the meal, that soon after they appeared at the Lumbarda winery on Korcula.
“We will buy two pallets,” (or 1200 bottles) came the satisfied American order.
“We are sorry, but we have a policy of selling just two bottles per customer.”
“We are the famous Kennedys. We will have two pallets.”
“We are the not so famous Grk winemakers. You can have two bottles.”
There was a compromise of sorts – the Americans returned to Dubrovnik with two bottles each, then proceeded to buy the Dubrovnik restaurant’s entire Grk stock at full restaurant prices…
100% accurate? Perhaps, perhaps not, but the very fact that there is such an anecdote is testament to this exceptional wine.
Chef Zirojević’s menu sounded exceptional and – washed down with such a spectacular Dalmatian white – it is perhaps no wonder that Dublin’s most famous songwriter was waxing lyrical.
To learn more about Grk Bire, visit the official website.