Wednesday 20 May
Right opposite the entry to the Split City Museum, where Asmosia is having its coffee breaks and receptions, is a little alley leading to a quiet small piazza, and the umbrellaceous terrace of Konoba Korta. It got a good writeup in Time Out, so we thought we'd try it.
We got San Servolo gold, a craft beer in a bottle big enough for two, and a basket of delicious housemade bread with tangy crust, soft sweet crumb, and a scattering of black olives and capers, which we dunked in the smoky olive oil to which we are becoming addicted.
We were so intrigued by the menu that we had a starter, bukovače sa motrom - oyster mushrooms with "sea fennel," arugula, bits of pršut, and melted cheese.
Prompted by Lauren again, we got a brudet, fish stew of the day's catch - today, cuttlefish and octopus - with swiss chard in a thick savory tomato sauce, with plug of polenta in its middle.
It came in a massive casserole, and so did our other main, punjeni njoki - i.e. big gnocchi with a shrimp wedged into the center of each one, swimming in a light sweet tomato broth adorned with vongole, tiny shrimp, and two huge spiny prawns like baby lobsters, big enough that we needed bibs and crackers to attack them. Needless to say, we were both a bit noddy at the afternoon session.
We were still stuffed that evening, so we tried to find a food-light wine-tasting (we need more new grapes!). Unfortunately our search began with what we now think of as a typical Split experience: a false start due to lack of street signs, a long hike until we found the actual place, and the discovery that what we wanted, the fabled Klub Gurmana i Hedonista, was now closed, and in fact, under reconstruction.
So we re-crossed Diocletian's Palace to find Paradox, another well-known wine bar behind the National Theater. Holt asked a nice bearded guy if they had a wine tasting that night, and he said they did, but it was fully booked - and the next one was in November. We were disappointed, naturally, but sat down to have a glass of wine anyway. Then the nice guy, who turned out to be Zoran Pejović, who runs the place, came and told us that he had had an extra table moved into the tasting room, just for us. We were delighted, and soon seated in comfort on their tasting patio, shaded by an actual olive tree in the floor.
The winemaker Gianfranco Kozlović was the guest of honor, and gave us a long talk (in Croatian, but we weren't complaining) plus a full (and we mean full) flight of seven wines, some with several pours, along with some bread and cheese as ballast.
We started with Violetta 2015, a refreshing Merlot 80%, Teran 20%, with overtones of strawberry.
2: a flowery Valle 2014, like a good dry-ish Riesling: 80% Istrian Malvasia, 20% Sauvignon Blanc.
3: a Malvazija 2014, which was almost too light at first, like a blank slate; but it developed as it warmed in the glass.
Barbara's favorite was 4, Santa Lucia 2006, named for its single vineyard; it's an old-vines Istrian Malvasija, aged for a year in oak barrels, and ends up like a major Chardonnay with dried-apple overtones.
5: Teran 2013, a 100% varietal new grape, slightly oaky-tannic but with dark cherry flavors;
6: a new 2014 Muškat from Momjan; and
7: an even more intense 2009 Muškat, redolent of orange peel.
And at last we reeled back to the hotel from a truly wonderful evening, thanks to Zoran. And we'd have cause to be grateful to him again soon.