There’s really no place like Istria, a land rich with soil, sunshine, coastal towns, hilltop villages and some of the best food in the world. Oh wait, maybe I should rephrase that, the best food in the world. One thing about Croatia that most would agree on, is there is not much diversity when it comes to the types of restaurants from other parts of the world. My theory for this is because why should there be? The creativity of the chefs can turn all their local spices, vegetables, fruit, meat and other delicacies into spectacular dishes that you will never get tired of consuming.
As a true lover of food and wine, I had the honour of attending the Aminess Wine & Gourmet Nights event in Novigrad. On the 4th Friday of the month, Aminess Maestral Hotel, or more precisely the Oliveto restaurant welcomes famous chefs and drink experts to host the night with a delicious 6-course meal. On April 27, David Skoko and Dragan Jovanovic prepared a world-class menu and paid so much attention to each and every detail and flavour. With each dish, top sommelier, Suwi Zlatic from Austria paired a beautiful wine.
The first dish was fresh Adriatic mussels topped with a crisp that gave the appetizer such a nice crunch. We then ate something that was very non-Croatian, ramen. I am a huge fan of ramen and have eaten it all over Japan and I have to say David Skoko really mastered it! It was so nice that he was able to put his own touch in it and please everyone’s palette. We then tried everything from a light fish to pork and finished with beef. This menu proved to have something for everyone and if you are ever unsure if you like something or not, it is a great opportunity to try a variety of dishes. I didn’t waste a bite and found all of them to match the wines perfectly. We started with sparkling wine and with each dish the wine paired perfectly. For the ramen we had sake that had the smoothest finish for our not so traditional soup. My favorite dish was the beef topped with foie gras, with a beautiful bold red white to accompany it. The beef was cooked to perfection and it’s tenderness matched the texture of the foie gras.
Aminess Maestral Hotel has a Spa that is the perfect way to have some R&R on the weekend. Even though I don’t live far away, it was nice to get away to the sea and regroup especially when the weather felt like summer during spring! Springtime is the perfect opportunity to visit Istria when the flowers are in bloom, air is fresh and the sun is shining and making the sea sparkle.
As a seaside village, Novigrad offers so much charm. Local fisherman keep their boats in town and frequently are bringing in the fresh catch of the day. The best part is you can reach the old town from the hotel by foot. Taking a walk along the seaside and arriving to town for a coffee is the perfect way to spend the morning. The narrow streets and souvenir shops make this small village very quaint and welcoming.
The next dinner will be at Aminess Maestral Hotel on May 25 featuring celebrity chefs, David Skoko and Tom Gretic. Each meal will be paired with a cocktail by the famous mixologist, Vjenceslav Madić Kishoni. The tickets cost 390 kuna and this really includes an amazing meal, drinks, music and atmosphere. I’d recommend doing a date night or even a night out with the girls, after all, there will be cocktails!