Written by Alan Mandić, founder Secret Dalmatia. As the founder and managing director, Alan is personally dedicated to the vision of bringing the hidden beauties of Croatia to every client. Alan has a deep connection to his country, so after finishing his university education at the New England School of Arts & Design in Boston, he decided to return to Croatia. The decision to found Secret Dalmatia followed an epiphany he had whilst wandering around Bribirska Glavica, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. As the sunset settled in the distance, he stumbled upon two open sarcophagi and thought: “I must show this to the world!” Few months later, in 2005, he put together his passion, experience, and knowledge to create Secret Dalmatia and he has been dedicated to it full-time ever since.
Savoring the lingering taste of Istrian truffles, Pag cheese and Ston oysters, bedazzled by the Adriatic’s virgin olive oils and world-class wines, Anthony Bourdain declared Croatia ‘the next big thing’. Travel Channel’s Andy Zimmerman followed with his Bizarre Foods. Traveling further back in time, he sought out authentic old specialties still simmering in spite of modern times, tasting, among others, dormice (dormouse special) on the island of Brač and frogs in Trilj. Bizarre Foods: Croatia’s Dalmatian coast- Roasted rodents and Stone soup episode relied greatly on the advice from Croatia’s passionate travel specialists and innate foodies at Secret Dalmatia travel agency.
It is also the zealous people of Secret Dalmatia who started the country’s first culinary travel project and webpage – Culinary Croatia. Introducing the extents of the Croatian cuisine at its best, Culinary Croatia presents all its facets with equal detail and respect. Between memorable gourmet extravaganzas like the 13-course wine pairing dinner at Bibich winery in Skradin and enlightening foodie day tours, like the wine tour of Hvar island with Jo Ahearn MW, Secret Dalmatia takes you into both modern and traditional kitchens, old and new cellars, olive groves and vineyards.
When entertaining the thought of visiting Croatia, it is exactly the travel experts at Secret Dalmatia who insatiable foodies, wine enthusiasts and gastronomy aficionados should talk to. Among Croatia’s assortment of almost 200 sorts of grapes, and an extent of flavors ranging from continental spicy in the north to Mediterranean on the Adriatic coast, all you really need to fully experience this culinary wonderland is a knowledgeable guiding hand. Try Secret Dalmatia, they’ve tasted everything.
All photos courtesy of Secret Dalmatia