The island of Hvar's international debut on the culinary Olympic stage ended with a close shave for the bronze medal on October 9, 2012, as the young team from Dalmatia just missed out on the medals by two points.
The team, pictured here with President of the World Culinary Federation, Gissur Gundmunsson from Iceland, and Zdravko Kalabric, Croatia's only master chef,gave a creditable performance at the end of an intense training period which started last year (as previously reported on Digital Journal
The so-called culinary Olympics, which take place every four years in Erfurt, Germany, were attended by 1,600 chefs from 45 counties around the world (watch the video below for highlights of the opening ceremony).
The appearance of four chefs from Croatia's premier island is a sign of how seriously Hvar is taking its gastronomic sector, as it looks to build on its traditional tourism base of beaches, sun, night life and celebrity draw. Highlights of the 2012 season included Tom Cruise
going walkabout and the arrival of the world's biggest private yacht
, but Hvar has been focusing on promoting its gastronomic credentials both at home and abroad to further diversify and prolong an already successful season.
While Hvar's chefs were heading north in search of Olympic glory, the island hosted its newest festival, the Gariful Peskafondo
, a three-day culinary event, with a squid-fishing championship at its heart.
The strong performance of Hvar's chefs in Erfurt will be a further boost in the international profile of Croatia's so-called lavender island, and Master Chef Kalabric was pleased with the team's performance, telling Digital Journal he hoped it was something that they could build on by designing new training programmes for any interested chefs.