The latest well-known personality to arrive on the island of Hvar in a celebrity-filled year is Croatian masterchef Zdravko Kalabric, who, along with his colleagues, produced a gastronomic night to remember at the island's premier Hotel Adriana on December 9, 2011.
Masterchef in Canada, Mentor in Croatia
Also present was Kalabric's long-term friend and colleague, Zlatko Marinovic, of the famous Nostromo restaurant in Split, with both experienced chefs overseeing the training of a young and talented team preparing for the Culinary Olympics
, to be held once again in Erfurt, Germany in October, 2012.
Kalabric has enjoyed a glittering career in Canada
since emigrating in 1963 - a career which has included spells at the Ritz Carlton Montreal and Chateau Champlain, as well as membership of the Canadian national team in the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
Having retired to his native Croatia, he has actively worked to raise the standards of Croatian cuisine, advising the Croatian national team in their inaugural appearance at the 2008 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, an appearance which resulted in an impressive bronze medal in the hot dishes category and grand distinction in the cold kitchen.
Hvar as a Food and Wine Destination
Kalabric and Marinovic are now training up a team of young chefs from Dalmatia, which include chefs from Nostromo, one from the island of Solta, and four from Hvar: two from the Suncani Hvar hotel group, one from Kod Kapetana and one from Djordjota Vartal.
The event, hosted at Hotel Adriana - itself in the news recently having been named in Fodor's Top 100 Hotels
in the World for 2011 - featured a range of local and international cuisine prepared by the team of chefs, and was accompanied by a selection of excellent Croatian wines, including the fruity 2011 rose from local Hvar vintner, Andro Tomic.
Chosen by Lonely Planet its number five destination for 2012, Hvar is known for its beaches, sunny climate and celebrity draw - Prince Harry and Beyonce
both made global headlines on their 2011 visits, for example, but the arrival of Kalabric - the first in a series for the team's Olympic training - points to an additional attraction on Croatia's premier island: its food and wine.
With a wine tradition
dating back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks and vineyards enjoying the most sun in the Adriatic, it is little wonder that Croatia's only Grand Cru - from Zlatan Otok - comes from Hvar, and its wines are now attracting greater international interest, and are becoming more widely available in North America and Europe.
With its rich abundance of fish in the Adriatic and four defined seasons for the freshest vegetables, Hvar's culinary offer is enviable, and should soon be even more so, as Kalabric applies his international experience and unbounded enthusiasm to combine with Hvar's rich natural gastronomic resources.