“[When I die], I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered.”
The first international Bourdain Day Croatia took place on Pag in Boškinac winery with 109 guests celebrating life as a homage to a chef, author and a travel writer who has taught us “how to eat” – Anthony Bourdain.
The evening started with a warm welcome from the host and the head of Boškinac winery – Boris Šuljić. He welcomed the guests at the hotel entrance with refreshing “bevanda longa” which again proved to be the best drink for the introduction to a good story.
In the picturesque and welcoming environment of the terrace and tavern, the evening started with the good sound coming from DJ Kanca, Ozren Kanceljak.
Gastro story started with the refreshing, bitter-sweet tone with amberjack Mediterranean sauce, garlic scapes salad and Novalja octopus. The dishes that Bourdain ate in the fall of 2011 went through several courses in the seasonal version.
After the first course and after everyone arrived, Boris Šuljić greeted them as a head of the Boškinac house and a person who met Anthony Bourdain in 2011 in the tavern. That visit to Boškinac was one of the key moments in the episode ”No Reservation: Croatian Coast” in which Bourdain tasted some of the common, indigenous meals that marked the cuisine that we inherited from our ancestors. Boris introduced Hana Čičić who “cooked the whole thing up“ and she presented the project idea to everyone else. It is a “celebration of the man who gathered us around the table with our dear friends and acquaintances to spend these wonderful moments together and to celebrate life.”.
DJ Kanca presented producing duo Tomec & Grabber consisting of Marco Grabber and Krešimir Tomec. While presenting their albums “Dalmatian Dub”, “Dalmatian Lounge” i “Deep Into Croatia” they proved that modernisation of our tradition can be something that distinguishes us in the rest of the world in the best light.
The dinner went on with three meals: čičvardom cuttlefish, lamb with beans and excellent lamb tripe which left everyone, including those who already tasted them, as well as those who shrink from “tabu meals“, asking why this dish doesn’t have more significance in our modern gastronomy.
Chef Mate Janković, who also spent time with Bourdain during his visit to Croatia, retold the unexpected episode with the call that enabled him to keep company to the excentric traveller while he was exploring Croatia. He gave his praise and expressed gratitude to a friend – not only for himself but also for Croatian tourism and gastronomy – for the show that presented our culinary tradition to the rest of the world.
Mate also introduced Alen Bibić who hosted Bourdain in BIBICH winery with “probably the best restaurant menu that there ever was”. It was prepared, in 12 courses, by unique Vesna Bibić. Alen talked to the guests to express gratitude and emphasise the significance of Bourdain and his travel-gastronomy show seen by 120 millions of people. Through this flow of emotions, Alen proved once again that his wines can only come from the person who is dedicated to his family, history, tradition and the indigenous varieties of our terroir.
Boškinac wines were also served, together with the cocktails made by talented Zvonimir Lovrenčić. “Gin Tonic – Monologue” and “Luzaro” with Boškinac rose – the drink that was served on almost every table on the terrace.
The evening that gathered Bourdain’s followers of the good mood and even better meals was enriched by the dishes designed by the young legend of Croatian gastronomy, JRE chef and Michelin recommendation winner for Boškinac restaurant – Matija Bregeš.
Matija and his team proved that, with abundant modern menus offered regularly by Boškinac, they have to be familiar with the traditional methods of preparing the food which is a guarantee of the true culinary skill.
Chef Bregeš introduced himself and his team to the guest while they were serving the third course and opening 12 Pag sorts of cheese which were served to numerous people waiting to taste them. The cheeses were of different ages and from different manufacturers from Pag.
The evening went on, until the early morning hours. It showed the power of life and values of the things that we sometimes take for granted. The first Bourdain Day in Croatia celebrated life, food and drinks, as well as the importance of friends.
We look forward to organizing the next Bourdain Day Croatia that has already been announced for June 25, 2020, in BIBICH winery. We have all came to the conclusion that Alen Bibić and his team have a demanding task to exceed the celebration we’ve just witnessed in Boškinac. We showed our qualities and now – we are able to foresee the bright future of Croatian gastronomy.