Exploring Rovinj

After visiting Fruška Gora we returned to Belgrade for a few days to explore a bit more, do laundry and pack for our trip to Croatia. We then hit the long road traveling through Zagreb and Rijeka until we finally got to Rovinj.

Rovinj is a Croatian fishing port and truly the most charming little town. The old town stands on a headland, with houses tightly crowded down to the seafront. A tangle of cobbled streets leads to the hilltop church of St. Euphemia, whose towering steeple dominates the skyline. It is a breathtaking view (especially at sunset) and you can’t help but feel romantic and sentimental and relaxed and happy all at the same time.

We spent hours exploring the old town and made our way to the hilltop to St. Euphemia at sunset. It was BEAUTIFUL to say the least. There were a number of visitors, but I think my favourite thing was the casual musician entertaining us with soft guitar music as the sun gently set over the water.

We managed to enjoy an amazing dinner in a little restaurant over the water and the food was quite spectacular. As always…fish is served including heads and scales and everything (a new experience on this trip for this little South African) but it was spectacularly prepared and worth the “eeeeuw”-factor. Also…piiiiiizzzzzaaaa and lemon beer were a firm favourite!

During our stay we also ventured a visit to a charming nearby town called Pula. Pula is a seafront city on the tip of Croatia’s Peninsula and is known for its protected harbor, beach-lined coast and Roman ruins. The Roman ruins being one of the main reasons we decided to visit this quiet little town. Did you know that amongst these ruins is a Colosseum?! Much smaller of course than the one in Rome, but impressive nonetheless and definitely worth a visit! And of course we consumed our bodyweight in Burek and Lemon beer to fight the hunger and heat.

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Come dine with me…..

So this past weekend we took part in a “come dine with me”-like competition with another couple.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t originally consider it to be a bit of a silly idea, but as we got closer to the time and as we worked on our menu (which had to be submitted together the Wednesday before) I got super excited about the idea:)

So the two of us brainstormed and we also got a lot of input from other people, using some ideas and discarding others and this is what our final menu looked like:

Aperitif

Stuffed eggs with cayenne pepper

Wrapped Asparagus

Starters

Spicy butternut and bacon soup with a dash of cream and home-made buns

Main Course

Incredible baked lamb shanks on a bed of root vegetables with a fresh garden salad

Dessert

Decadent chocolate mousse with home-made vanilla ice cream and a berry coulis

Digestifs

Assorted coffee varieties

Assorted dessert wines

Looks super yummy right? Below is the menu submitted by the other couple:

FullSizeRenderWe were convinced that even just on menu alone we clearly already had the upper hand here. So Friday night came along and we happily went off to enjoy a night of fine dining and doing nothing. It was FABULOUS! The starter was pretty amazing,I won’t lie. They definitely scored major points on that. Camembert backed in white wine with rosemary and garlic served with cheesy breadsticks…..I would happily have eaten only that all night.

The mains included a rib eye steak braaied to absolute medium-rare perfection served with roasted potatoes, vegetable skewers and served with a berry sauce. It was good and hearty and scrumptious but, in my opinion, not a “come dine with me” style of meal.  Mains was followed by dessert which was mango slices covered in sweet cream and caramalised sugar. Pretty yummy, but once again not a fancy dessert. I’ll leave out the part where I tell you of all the yummy wines we had along with the meals….:P

And then, just like that, it was our turn. Our table was decorated to perfection with a beautiful Ruby themed bouquet of flowers and all the detailing being red and black and white….it was beautiful! We prepped everything so that when the time came we would just have to pop the various things in the oven to reheat or cook (depending on what it was) without leaving our guests unentertained for longer than just a minute or two at a time.

Upon arrival we served them some sherry to warm the cold bones followed by the Aperitif of stuffed eggs and bacon wrapped asparagus…an instant hit.  I secretly popped my rolls into the oven (home-made, as the rules specified) and as soon as the hot, fresh bread came out the oven it was time for the starter…..a spicy and bacon filled butternut soup with fresh buns. All the noms and just perfect for the cold weather. I paired the soup with a lovely Chenin Blanc from Beau Joubert which complimented the various tastes perfectly.

We proceeded to spend some time chattering away to give everyone a chance to rest in-between courses and to give us a chance to heat up all the food.  The break was just long enough to enjoy some more wine and to let the previous course settle and then we served the mains.  Guys…most of the work here was done by the guy person and he did an exquisite job. The lamb shank was falling off the bone and went so well with the creamy mash and vegetable bed it was cooked on. It was truly amazing and I paired it with a beautiful blended red and a Pinotage.

More rest time and wine drinking time was given, and then it was time for our dessert.  Home made ice cream and home-made chocolate mousse…..heavenly!  Our guests declined the Port and Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest on offer and opted to drink more wine, which was eventually followed by yummy Nespresso just before home time.

Then of course it was time for the scoring and OF COURSE WE WON! Did anyone EVER have any doubt? This means that we’ve got bragging rights for days and they also have to take us out to a restaurant for dinner:D

All in all a really fun and yummy weekend was had by all. I suspect we will be doing this again:)