Korcula is the name of a small island outside Croatia. You reach it by ferry from Split, explaines our friend Stefan - husband to my beloved friend Geli - who has invited us for real Croatian food tonight! Part of his family originates from there, but he has just as much Pfälzer blood in his veins... When not cooking, he makes his living from their car garage - which is the cleanest I have ever seen. (You can virtually eat from the floor there, anytime!) His passion for cars (needless to say he drives a German one...) is at least as big as the passion for good food.
Stefan explaining what's cooking.After arrival, we are served a wonderful dry, fresh, crisp, fruity (tropical; mango, peach) bottle-fermented sparkling wine, a Riesling Sekt brut from Weingut Braun (7,80 € ex winery). One of our sources of good, value for money-wineries, where also we used to buy wines while still living in the area.
The food he has prepared for us is cooking on the stove and we are all pressing ourselves into the kitchen, which is always the best place of the house - right? After a while he gets enough of us and we have to leave him alone while he is fixing the last steps...
He was a bit nervous that we might not like his local Croatian food, so they had even grilled a roast of turkey for us - just in case! (Better be prepared!) It looked so mouthwatering good that we were slowly growing concerned about not getting anything by the time the kids would have finished eating from it! It was served with oven baked potatoes and a wonderful, fresh Feldsalat, bought from the farmer around the corner (luxury....), washed many times until the last sand corns were gone.
But the high-light of the evening was of course the Sarma! Cabbage rolls. No, no, no - not like normal cabbage rolls! Forget it. This was something totally different. The cabbage had been salt-soaked for 8 weeks in a wooden wine-barrel (of course!). Spiced with special sorts of peppers. The filling of the rolls then was a mixture of ground beef, pork and speck, seasoned with paprika, pepper, salt, some herbs. The whole thing is then served in a moderate sourly soup-kind-of-sauce. So many different flavours meeting in one plate, melting together to a hearty, tender, delicate and very tasteful dish. To this there were beans, roasted bell peppers, olives, and a lot more served. We just ate and ate those rolls.
At home in Croatia they will typically serve their own home-made wine, he explaines. But, for us tonight he had picked a Pfalz-local 2008 Dornfelder trocken. This is not really my kind of grape, to be honest. But! This particular wine and together with that particular food was a perfect match! The wine is done in stainless steel tanks, has not seen any oak. There are some slight hints of fruit tannins though, but above all, a good acidity and the 13 % abv make this wine with its dark, dark purple-red colour and dark-red-berry taste nice to drink, perfect with nice company! :-) The acidity of the food and the type of food itself was a nice companion to the fruity, rather full-bodied style of the wine... Price: 4,45 € ex winery!
And yes: before he placed the huge cheese platter in front of us, we were also tasting from the good turkey!
You might not get invited for dinner by Stefan, but maybe you want to talk cars with him: click here.