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article imageChristmas festivities start on Hvar with traditional bakalar Special

By Paul Bradbury     Dec 24, 2011 in Travel
Hvar's traditional festivities begin with a gastronomic event organised by the Hvar Restaurant Association and local association, Forske Uzonce
On another spectacular day of December weather on officially the sunniest island on the Adriatic, the island of Hvar hosted a gastronomic event with traditional dishes to make the start of Christmas festivities on December 24, 2011.
Organised by the Hvar Restaurants Association and local organisation Forske Uzunce, local residents were able to enjoy traditional Dalmatian dishes of bakalar and pasurate in front of the city loggia next to the town's main square.
Bakalar - from poor man's food to delicacy
Bakalar is dried cod imported from Norway, and has its roots from Venetian traders in Dalmatia, where the bakalar was considered poor man's food. Dried in Norway, the cod is then soaked overnight and is cooked with potatoes and vegetables. From its humble origins, bakalar is now much more expensive, and is traditional fare on Christmas Eve and before Easter in Croatia.
Also on display were various pasurate (pronounced 'pashurate'), small balls similar to doughnuts, which had been prepared by various entrants to the pasurate competition. A judging panel announced that Seka Domancic produced the best pasurate, and she walked away with a cash prize.
Promoting Hvar as a culinary destination
The event was the latest by the Hvar Restaurants Association, which is working hard to promote Croatia's premier island - recently named as Lonely Planet's number 5 destination for 2012 - as a culinary resort. The association hosted a gastronomic event with Croatia's only master chef, Zdravko Kalabric, earlier this month, as he prepares a young and talented Dalmatian team for the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany next year.
Hvar's wine tradition
The association is also extremely active in promoting the island's excellent wines, which include Croatia's only Grand Cru, from the Zlatan Otok vineyards in Sveta Nedjelja. With a wine tradition dating back 2,400 years to the Ancient Greeks, coupled with the sunniest islands in the Adriatic, Hvar's future as a wine destination is assured, and its profile will be further enhanced with an international wine festival planned for the island in September 2012.
Today's event was the latest in a busy December for the island, which is better known for its sunshine, beaches and celebrity draw - Prince Harry and Beyonce were two high profile visitors in 2011. Attention will turn to the seas after Christmas with the last regatta of the season, the 35th Laser Europa Cup, which will conclude Hvar's busy tourist season on December 31.
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