We Recommend: Za Pod Zub
Stari Grad is a beautiful village, full of history, natural beauty and a picturesque modest harbour that is home to many local fishing boats and pleasure craft, not to mention the many charter boats that dock in the summer!Once known, as Pharos (or Faros) by the ancient Greeks, Stari Grad is known to be one of the oldest settlements in Croatia, dating back to 385BC. And wandering through the cobbled streets, you definitely get a sense of the history of the place.
Wandering through the cobbled streets was exactly what we were doing last month with two good friends who were visiting us from Scotland, when we stumbled across a hidden gem: Za Pod Zub. As spring is only just beginning to blossom here in Dalmatia, many of the shops and konoba still aren’t open yet, so this cute little deli with it’s open door and splashes of green pot plants caught our eye. The ice-cream menu (designed and curated by Slatka Tvornica Medenko) was displayed on the outer wall and the flavours were certainly not the combinations usually found out here on the islands! Roasted peach, mixed berries and lavender, pear raspberry and ginger to name just a few of the ice-cream flavours that really caught our eye.
And thus, the ice-cream selection drew us inside. The decor was very inviting, with product displays in natural textures very fitting for Stari Grad. Not to mention a very warm welcome from Chloe! The selection of gorgeous artisanal products and the tactile product displays really impressed me. Chloe told us that they had only opened their doors for the 2018 season a few days ago, and then proceeded to tell us stories about a few of her favourite products. Like the smoked sea salt from Nin that Chloe assured us is delicious in chocolate cake, the apple cider from Slovenia that I am dying to try and the Pašmanero chilli sauce that blew Nick’s cobwebs out!!!
Our friends had been asking where to buy orahovac, a walnut flavoured rakija that is a firm favourite of mine. Which is always a tricky one for us, as the best orahovac (and really the best rakija in general) are the homemade varieties that locals kindly share with you. Most of the bought varieties just cannot come close to the quality and depth of flavour that we have become accustomed to from the local, made-at-home stuff. And our eye caught the selection of rakija that they had stock of on the shelves. Orahovac, Medica (honey flavoured rakija), Smokva (fig flavoured rakija), Rogač (carob flavoured rakija), Lozovača, Travarica to name the ones that I remember! Yvan was very generous in allowing us to taste a few of them. And I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity and flavour of the Medica that I tried. They were so beautifully presented and the quality of the product so high that our friends bought two bottles to take home with them as gifts.
Passion and enthusiasm simply ooze from both Chloe and Yvan, a French couple with a shared appreciation for high quality, authentic gastronomy. It is immediately clear that they love what they do, that they really believe in the products that they stock (more than 70 producers and over 250 products from all over Croatia!) and this enthusiasm they have is truly infectious. The name Za Pod Zub, literally meaning “under the tooth”, came from Chloe’s stepfather, a local artist, who told them about an expression that is used to describe how good friends and family gather together to share small bites of good food. This boutique delicatessen and all of their carefully picked suppliers demonstrate a whole-hearted commitment to quality products that really showcase the best of what Dalmatia and Croatia have to offer. They are very keen to share samples of the products where ever they are able to, and Chloe introduced to us the incredible flavours of Taman Chocolate, a boutique Croatia chocolate brand lovingly hand-crafted by former hip-hop recording artist Stiv Kahlina. With blends like orange pepper and thyme, raspberries and cayenne pepper, coconut lemon and lemongrass, it was like the chocolate was having a party in our mouths!
Here at 45 Degrees Sailing, we are always on the lookout for high quality products and services to recommend to our guests. And it was a pleasure coming across Chloe and Yvan and their gourmet delicatessen in the heart of Stari Grad. It will certainly be high on our recommendations list for guests wanting to take the very best of Croatian gastronomy home with them!