Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Tables Are Turned on a Shark

Croatians have a delicious love affair with seafood!  With the Mediterranean as their backyard pool, and fishing boats a-plenty, an elegant variety of fishy creations grace the menus of every local eatery.   Our favourite spot in Vrsar, perched almost directly over the sea itself, is no exception.  The menu at 'Trost' varies according to the success of the local fishermen;  some nights, flounder was the main course.  Others, an abundance of succulent scampi were featured.  But every night, whatever was served, the food was tantalising, the service superb, and the experience splendid indeed.

Upon arrival, the showcase of local delicacies greets visitors, as if to prove beyond a doubt that the fare is fresh!  We got to know a waiter named Mauro, and learned to trust his recommendations with confidence and pleasure.  He never steered us wrong!

My favourite dish was the 'seafood platter'.  On our first visit, it included scampi, calamari, sea bass, and (eek) shark!   Being a Canadian prairie gal, my previous experience with shark included bad horror films and watching a tiny specimen in a tank.  I was leery but excited when the huge platter was carried to our table.
The shark looked a lot like mini pork chops - the meat is dense and firm - and absolutely delicious!  What a rush to be eating a creature that could have eaten me!

The calamari were delicious - tender and meaty, but not at all tough and gristly like the stuff I had eaten back home in Canada.  The tentacles were the best - crisped in olive oil, the texture and flavour were outstanding!

So - in Europe, the whole fish is served on your plate.  You know - head and all!  I had never seen that before!  Our server, Mauro, expertly de-boned the most delicate, tender, melt-in-your-mouth fish I had ever ingested before.  I forgot to be weirded out by the fish heads as soon as that fantastic meat hit my taste-buds!

The scampi were too fantastic to be believed.  I can't even begin to describe the way they melted on my tongue, or the way those meaty morsels exploded with immaculately seasoned flavour as they hit my palate.

Another amazingly seasoned dish was the seafood risotto.  What a treat!  Filled with tender bits of scampi and calamari and fish, sprinkled with parmesan, with just the perfect amount of genius in liquid form, it was better than dessert!

I have to quit because I am overcome with a driving desire to book a ticket to Croatia tomorrow - and that simply doesn't fit my life plans at the moment.  But in remembering that food extravaganza, I am taken back to a time of such joy, such abandon, such adventure, such a plethora of new and exciting experiences, and I grin to myself as I type.  How I love Croatia; its towns, its food, its people.

If you ever have the chance to go to Vrsar, stop by Trost and say hello to Mauro for me!

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