In truth, we have had a lot going on in the past few years, a new restaurant, two sons, a daughter, a move to a new home and neighborhood. At times it has felt as though we could barely catch our breath. This year we decided to embrace the heat and share these fleeting summer months with family and dear friends before launching ourselves into the hustle and bustle of our Autumn season. A trip to Croatia to explore the place of Serdjo’s childhood was in order. We were seeking rest, joy and a sense of inspiration and that we did find.
Chef Serdjo is from a small village, just outside the tourist center that is beautiful Zadar, Croatia. Built by the Romans as far back as the 15th century it holds inside it’s stone walls a city filled with architectural beauty and rich history. In 2016 Zadar was voted the best tourist destination in Europe. This may have something to do with the dense throng of people exploring the shops and cobbled streets at any given time. We have the unique privilege of being part of a family who have lived here for generations.
A visit to the local farmer’s market was a must during our visit which was held each morning in the city centre. It was very impressive!!! All the fresh seafood and produce a chef could dream up was available.
Serdj’s father’s family have lived in Crno, Croatia for generations and have always worked as farmers. They’ve grown crops and raised livestock, made wine and today, award winning, extra virgin olive oil. Here in this place, just one generation ago, they grew and raised the foods they fed their families themselves.
Being here, spending time in his childhood home, I have been struck by how much things have changed in just a few short years, about how disconnected and far removed we have become from the creation of the foods we eat and the foods we feed our children!
We had the pleasure of exploring his uncle’s olive tree farm and will be incorporating oil made from this farm in many of Serdj’s Autumn dishes. It is very special to him and to his family. We hope to one day expand upon this olive tree farm and create our own version of award winning olive oil.
For this Canadian girl, our trip has been an eye opening experience! I am moved by the hard work and dedication that is involved in the growth and creation of foods of this quality, I have to say, farming is not for the faint of heart!