As travel interest to Croatia grows in popularity, so does the American appetite for Croatian cuisine.
In January, a special dining event was held in New York City, bringing together an all-star culinary team that included Chef Djani Barbis of the Ritz Carlton Central Park, the Chiavalon brothers, producers of Chiavalon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Darko Matosic of Le Bernadin.
Ethnic coastal dishes featuring one of Croatia’s top exports, Chiavalon extra virgin olive oil, were served as part of the five-course tasting menu.
While Americans continue to enjoy the splendors of Croatia during their trips abroad to the popular Adriatic destination, finding Croatian influence in American dining tends to be sparse, often limited to ethnic enclaves in large metropolitan areas.
‘A Taste of Croatia’ was designed to serve as a barometer to the demand of popular Croatian specialties, allowing Americans the chance to experience Croatian cuisine without having to travel halfway across the globe.
“The event exceeded all expectations,” explains Mike Druskovich, one of the organizers of the event. “Introducing a relatively new concept is never easy, and the event truly blew people away in terms of the quality and creativity of Croatian food. With the success we had, this won’t be the last event.
“It truly is a testament to Chef Djani Barbis and his team, who could not have prepared a better culinary experience. And to Darko Matosic, who was instrumental in organizing and executing the event. They occupy the highest places in New York City’s culinary scene, and their expertise showed.”