As I sit here in cold, cloudy, rainy and sometimes foggy Seattle, I have the comfort of some food delicacies that we brought back with us from Dalmatia to Seattle.
In the morning I really enjoy having my toast with the Drunken Fig Marmalade. The “drunken” part is due to the fact that the marmalade is made with red wine. The figs, chunks of lemon, sugar and wine are all cooked together. I made the marmalade in Brela and brought it back to Seattle. It is also very delicious served with goat cheese.
In addition, as I mentioned in a previous blog, Joe made his famous Visnja (pronounced Vishna) last June and we also enjoy that with a hot cup of coffee. Visnja is a cherry brandy which is made from sour cherries, sugar and loza ( loza is similar to Grappa). The cherries, sugar and loza are mixed in large glass containers and placed in the sun for 45 to 60 days. And believe me, it is so hot in Brela in the summer and that glass container really cooks on our balcony. It is actually hot to the touch. Loza is made from the remains of grapes and distilled through copper tubing. The loza is made in the late fall and it is truly a family affair.
Joe’s family comes to the village from Zagreb for the event and as we all gather around the still. I feel like I should be smoking a corncob pipe and living in the Ozarks… so funny! It really is a fun time and the winter sausage is also prepared that week-end and the curing is started.
The last food item that I made in Brela is called Ajvar (pronounced “I-Var”) and it is really, really delicious. It is a spread made from roasted red pepper (sweet peppers), roasted eggplant, garlic, olive oil, lemon salt and pepper. Joe roasts the vegetables on the grill, I peel them and then put the above into a food processor for a few seconds and the spread is done. I then put the Ajvar into sterilized jars and water bath them for about 20 minutes. This spread is “to die for” and it also goes great with feta or goat cheese. I also put it over pasta and have even put into into soups.
One last edible item that I bring back to Seattle is a wheel of cheese. I purchase this at the farmers market in Zadvarja which is a place where we bring our guests. The cheese is cured so it has lasting power, but that is never the issue since we share this wheel
with family and friends. It is amazing and so delicious with a glass of red wine or fruit.
All these food items that I bring back to Seattle remind me of Brela, sunny days on the Adriatic coast and the beautiful sea. April can not come soon enough so that I can sit on my terrace, look at the sea and just relax.