I was so delighted to be invited as media to the opening of the Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival in Zadar, Croatia. Unlimited tuna and sushi, imagine… this was my idea of heaven. The Zadar Region Tourist Board, in cooperation with the city of Zadar and the Japanese Embassy in the Republic of Croatia held their fourth Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival with the gala evening in the town’s historic Arsenal building.
It was a full house with over 1,500 people gathering to experience the top chefs from the finest local restaurants (and few from outside the region) prepare samples of their finest tuna and sushi delicacies, while sampling some of the finest local wines. It goes without saying, it’s definitely one of the leading gastronomic events in Croatia.
Among the restaurants were Zadar’s most prestigious, Foša along with Gladne Oci, Restoran Stipe, Hotel Falkensteiner Funimation Adriana Borik, Heritage Hotel Maskovica Han, Ginger Sushi and Oyster & Sushi Bar Sare to name a few. The standout, in my opinion, had to be chef Motohiko Mochizuki of Takenoko in Zagreb, the best sushi restaurant in Zagreb. The line for a plate of tuna nigari from Takenoko was long, but worth the wait.
The following day saw the opening of the event to the public at the atrium of the Cedulin Palace, each day a different chef from a different restaurant demonstrated different ways to cook Adriatic tuna- Zadar most prized export, particularly to Japan. For 10kuna (1.35€) you were able to sample tuna burgers, slow cooked tuna on wasabi cream, tuna in yogurt sauce to name a few. It was a great program with all proceeds going to a local women’s association.
Surrounded by market stalls from local businesses such as Matak OPG, Solana Nin, Šinjorina Smokva and Faustina Olive Oil, visitors were also able to sample local produce with live Japanese jazz music in the background sung by the gorgeous Minami Kayoko.
The schedule also included cooking workshops held at the Falkensteiner Hotel on topics of using Adriatic fish with top local chefs such as David Skoko leading the program.
While I didn’t attend the part of the program where I was taught how to cook by Chef David Skoko, I was privileged enough to eat some finely prepared tuna dishes by him at Kraljevski Vinogradi. It had to be the highlight of the entire media program, again showcasing Zadar’s most famous and sought after export, tuna and proving in many ways how it is the gastronomic way of the future.
Custard and grape dessert with dark chocolate infused with truffle from Matak OPG, let’s just say, I didn’t really share this plate with my partner.
Media were invited along to Zadar County to experience the greater depths of the region.
You can read about it here- 5 things off-the-beaten tourist track things to do in Zadar.