The story of a three-week steak is actually a micro example of what our tourism should look like - focused on quality and authenticity.
I discovered a place that is a micro example of how to work in tourism and how blue and green Croatia are connected. In fact, it should be very simple because we have everything, everything just needs to be connected, but it is never because there are small or large interests.
Even during the Istria Walk and Wine event, I discovered a tavern that left a very strong impression on me. Namely, this tavern is an example of how our tourism should function. It is a family business that has lasted for two decades in which the son stayed on his property with his father and continued the family tradition, this time an example from the hospitality industry and of course tourism. The tavern is located in a small place in the interior of Istria that you would actually rarely hear if it were not for her. And today, because of Pierre, everyone knows about Kremenje near Momjan.
What attracts guests to this tavern? Clearly, gastro bloggers would now believe me to find a lot of reasons because the food they cook here is on top of everything I’ve ever tasted. I’m not a gastro blogger but before I continue the tourist story I have to tell the story of the steak that many come here for. Namely, I would not write that if it were not an example of how to work. So the owner, Father Pjero, is a hunter and knows very well what meat is, how game is made and what a quality food is. So his beef steak goes through a three-week process before it ends up on your plate. I was thrilled by the fact that my steak, but also all the other meat, is procured from local producers, and that is the zero phase due to which one tavern will be found in my blog.
The other three phases are storing meat in special rooms and then in the well because the temperature is exactly what gastronomy experts say, just what you need in a rat of oil and spices, and finally after three weeks the meat goes on an open fire in the tavern. The taste is amazing, the impression is complete, and the meat is soft to look at. Omboletto with truffles or asparagus is another delicacy by Pierre that everyone is talking about. And only asparagus and peka pate are all reasons why everyone knows about this tavern.
In addition, they will serve you a special potato, which is again from a local farmer, which for me is the most important thing in this potato, truffles, mushrooms and salads, all indigenous and homemade, tasty and healthy - like at home. After two lunches here I approached the owners and asked them how they were doing. I was interested because they keep telling me that you can't, it's hard and almost impossible. “Our season actually starts in September with the white truffle season and in the summer we are actually not as full as in September or when the asparagus season and the season lasts for ten months”Explains Mate, called Kijo, the son of the owner who is also a waiter and a chef and pastry chef in the tavern. He explained to me that it is not easy, but he manages to get all the groceries in the Istrian region and that although it would be much higher earnings to take wholesale meat from foreign suppliers, they still do not give up domestic meat because they simply would not get that quality.
They also go to local fields to pick tomatoes and vegetables and close the procurement circle in Istria. They stick to the original recipes have homemade and handmade pasta, of course homemade olive oil and wine and that is truly all that a tourist expects from a restaurant. Everything is in place here and that is why they are a micro example of how things should be arranged in our tourism. Such tourist stories should be told to tourists and such examples of states should be encouraged.
Them but also all those who supply them. Oil mills, winemakers, farmers and stockbreeders because if you ignore them there will be no such caterers or such restaurants, and then we can direct tourists to the world's fast food chains and we have lost everything they actually come for - authenticity, healthy and delicious gastronomic offer, top quality olive oils and fine wines.
It is interesting how Kijo made his first author's and famous chocolate cake at the age of only 18, and he is even more famous for his white chocolate cake with truffles that everyone talks about, and everything actually rests on tradition, hard work of father and today son always find them both in the tavern. When I asked why they didn't open another one, they just laughed and said that then they wouldn't get anything and there is no job if you are not present with each of your guests. And I confirm that they are the real ambassadors of our tourism. Always smiling with each guest, they immediately somehow establish the relationship in which you feel at home with them, and when you add top-quality food from local ingredients, it is clear that everyone returns to this tavern. I will for sure.
This is a real example of what tourism must be - quality and authentic. On the other hand, one of the biggest failures of our tourism is that we did not connect blue and green Croatia, ie tourism with production. Tourism connects various industries vertically and horizontally, so the purpose of tourism is to use as many local resources as possible and to disperse tourist consumption to the local population. If there were 100 such taverns supplied from local fields, then there would be 100 family farms that produce just for them. Just imagine how much a destination has a daily need for eggs (hotels, restaurants, family accommodation…), say Pula, Rijeka, Poreč, Split… here we are talking about tens of thousands of eggs a day. And if we know that one laying hen lays an average of 280 eggs a year, we are talking about thousands of hens and hundreds of family farms, which supply the daily need for eggs in the destination. Also, it means that hundreds of people will stay on their land, there will be no emigration, restaurants will have yellow rather than white cream puffs and most importantly they will have quality.
One plastic example of how we have to close a circle. Well, that's tourism. It is crazy, funny and tragic that we have not closed hundreds of such circles through many years of tourism, because we have the most important thing - high demand, ie consumption through tourism. We have homemade and quality food, incredible variety and authenticity which is our greatest strength and we just have to offer and be what we are and not be bad copies.
Greece and Turkey are not and must not be our competition, we must focus on quality and authenticity. After all, this extends the tourist season with an authentic offer and quality of services, content and ultimately the overall tourist product. The interior of Istria has shown the direction and how it is very possible. From the Day of Asparagus, Truffles, Olive Oil, Wine… live realistically 10 months from tourism.
Our tradition, history, culture and way of life, authenticity and diversity must be our main tourist products. Pierrot and Kijo are a great example of how tourism must work, as evidenced by the fact that they work all year round, for ten months at full capacity, and whenever you come to visit you are never alone in the tavern.
They are the real ambassadors of Croatian tourism and the direction of how we should develop our tourism.