If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

And that is exactly how dinner at Marija and Zlatko’s home started and ended.

It was my first time in Dubrovnik and won’t be my last after this food journey at Marija and Zlatko’s home. At the first holler of “Come on Up” by Zlatko at the top of the stairwell, I knew I was in for some no non-sense local experience. The climb up the few steps from street level was a precursor of more gym sessions I probably needed to do after a very generous and sumptuous dinner that evening.

I was welcomed very warmly by Marija who immediately made me feel like I’ve meet a long lost sister. The first drink I had was a homemade on the sweet-side wine that was delicious and refreshing at the same time. My glass was never left empty that night.

I was immediately introduced to other guest diners that evening – people from all over the Unites States, Canada and Asia. It was a cozy party of 8 guests that was just, to my mind, the right size for an experience such as this.

As Zlatko focused on ensuring that the Peka was going to be beautifully done, we were spoiled with choices of out-of-this world decadent appetizers ranging from homemade cheese, succulent local tomatoes, locally-grown olives & grapes, family-made prosciutto, backyard-grown figs – a balanced overload to the senses, I must say.

As I sat under trellises of grapevines which hung above our dining table in Marija’s garden, I thoroughly enjoyed the international company, conversations and cultural exchanges. What better way to learn!

The highlight of the evening was the Peka dish. A traditional Croation dish of meats (veal, beef, etc.) and vegetables cooked inside a metal tray with a bell-like cover and cooked over an open fire. When Zlatko opened the cover, the aroma of the dish overcame my senses. I was in heaven! But the aroma was just the start, the texter of the meat was so soft and tender that I did not need any knife to cut through it. The flavour was beyond description. You just need to experience it for yourself. The portions were generous and there was more than enough to go around! Marija poured various other types of wines to accompany personal wine-pairing preferences. Maybe out of sated bliss, the image of Scarlette o’Hara came to mind as she said – ‘… and I’ll never be hungry again.”

And just as I thought I could not possibly eat another bite, Marija tempts (and we succumb) us with her homemade Tiramisu. One bite and I was definitely in heaven! I will not ruin the experience for you by even trying to describe you. You just have to try it yourself!

Eat at the Home of Marija & Zlatko Papak – only then can you say that you’ve had a good trip to Dubrovnik

VaVel

Singapore

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