Written by Missy Johnston
Cruising on a yacht charter in Croatia is a terrific sensory experience for the palate. For only in Croatia, can one enjoy lovely award winning wines, with super plump oysters just pulled from the briny depths of the sea, along with dusky perfumed white and black truffles found in the oak forests on shore that can be shaved lavishly over the top of cooked foods onboard, and truffle flavored olive oils for drizzling or flavoring. There are perfect wine grape growing locations ashore, excellent brackish water conditions in the Adriatic Sea for growing award winning oysters, and in the oak forests of Istria, Croatia, fist sized white and black truffles are being found, all of which can appear on board on a yacht charter Split to Dubrovnik, a Kornati yacht charter or any yacht charter cruising area along the coast and through the islands of Croatia.
Wines: The Dalmatian Coast and Islands are home to many award winning boutique wineries as the soil, sun and climate produce spectacular wine grapes. These wine grapes are considered so special that several locations on the Peljasac Peninsula just north of Dubrovnik, where Plavac Mali grape vines are grown, have their own appellations-Dingač and Postup.
When cruising along the Peljasac Peninsula, several wineries can easily be visited (with advance reservations) for wine tastings such as Korta Katarina Winery, and Grgic Winery by just anchoring in front of the wineries. To visit Korta Katarina Winery, your charter yacht can anchor in front of the winery. Guests arrive ashore via the ship’s tender for a short walk up the hill to the winery. Anchor in front of Grgic Winery in Trstrenik Bay, a beautiful bay on the Peljasac Peninsula. Head ashore in the ship’s tender and enjoy a wine tasting on the terrace under the warm sun with your yacht anchored in front of you in sparkling clear water.
If visiting wineries is not on your hit list, your crew can provision in advance wines from award winning boutique Croatian wineries for a wine tasting on board, or just to enjoy on board.
Oysters: The Dalmatian coast has a centuries old tradition of mariculture. The top spot in Croatia for mariculture of oysters and mussels is considered to be Ston and Mali Ston Bays. In both bays, submarine fresh water springs bubble to the surface of the sea beds, which creates brackish water in both bays with a special combination of minerals, nutrient salts and a large quantity of phytoplankton.
It is this special combination of brackish waters, minerals, nutrient salts and phytoplankton that is felt to produce some of the tastiest oysters in the world. In London at the 1936 World Exposition, oysters from Mali Ston received both the Grand Prix and the Gold Medal Ston and Mari Ston Bays are not newly discovered mariculture locations. Oyster cultivation has been occurring in both bays since ancient times as evidenced by remnants found of Roman oyster farms. While oysters have been farmed here through the centuries, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century, that oysters and mussels were farmed and shipped as a food product for non-local consumption. Wars decimated the oyster farming industry including the recent Croatian War of Independence ending in 1995. However, since the end of the recent war, oyster farming has renewed with a flourish in these same waters in both bays that are crystal clear and sparkling clean.
When on your yacht, stop by ship’s tender at a farm raft floating on the water, and ask to buy freshly collected oysters to have raw on board, or cooked in many different ways by your onboard Chef. Or dine at Bota Sare in Mali Ston on oysters and mussels harvested fresh from their own shell farm along with vegetables from their own garden. This is a real sea to table restaurant dining experience where very fresh oysters are served raw and cooked in many ways including grilled on a wood burning fire, creating oysters with a flavor that is out of this world
Truffles: Both black and white truffles can be found in Istria, in northern Croatia. The woods in this area have the perfect combination of soil and moisture in which truffles thrive. Truffle hunting is done with trained dogs in the Motovun Forest in Croatia which is dense with oak trees and where both white and black premium grade truffles can grow to the size of your fist. As Croatia is not a well known location where white and black truffles are grown and hunted, the supply and demand have not drastically raised the prices of Croatian truffles which has happened in other worldwide locations. Requesting to include truffles in your onboard cuisine in Croatia will not empty anyone’s pockets.
And the same can be said for boutique Croatian wines, and oysters. When enjoying all three including white and black truffles on board a charter yacht in Croatia, award winning wines, super fresh and plump oysters and beautiful truffles are all still in a very reasonable price range.
Along with this fabulous culinary experience, only found in this combination in Croatia, while on a crewed yacht charter, are the beautiful cruising waters in lovely shades of blue and green and beautiful remote anchorages where yours might be the only yacht in sight. As well as great harbors in which to anchor or be alongside on the quay to explore the tiny little walking streets of various medieval villages.