Marija, Zlatko and their family treated us to the most wonderful evening. It started with a hearty welcome and small glasses of cherry, walnut and other assorted Grappa. This truly was a family affair with Marija and Zlatko’s two children, his brother and sister in law and some cousins in attendance. A couple from New York joined in as the other ‘customers’. Marija was clearly the head chef, the primary host and family matriarch. Her husband Zlatko, in accordance with universal traditions stemming back to early man, tended the fire, poured the drinks and declared in good humor that the primary topics of discussion for the night should be “sex and sports”.
Marija and Zlatko are a good team and expertly prepared the Peka dish which consisted of local lamb and veal, potatoes, and minimal but fresh spices. The Peka process involves heating a brick surface with a fire, placing a covered pan with the meat and potatoes on the surface and covering with hot coals. Cooking time was two hours but it zipped by with much conversation and other food. The appetizer plate was a charcuterie assembly of local cured meats and cheeses as well as olives, tomatoes and home made bread. Absolutely delicious. Notwithstanding the different cooking methods and wonderful unique local food, I was struck by how similar the affair was to a western backyard family barbeque. We were made to feel like members of the family. Thanks go to Marija and Zlatko for creating the wonderful food and atmosphere.