When someone from the other side of the world contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at the food postcards they created, I barely hesitated when I saw some of them on her Facebook page. And the fact that these postcards feature old and traditional Croatian recipes, some gorgeous artwork and their maker lives in Vukovar – half an hours drive from my parents hometown of Osijek – I kind of wanted to get my hands on them immediately.
Not only does Zrinka Kukuljica Merčep have a passion for food, but this talented lady is a designer, illustrator, graphic artist and antique furniture restorer.
Zrinka’s idea is to keep some of the old Croatian recipes alive – many of which are either ignored or forgotten about – and make them more accessible to younger generations that may only be interested in everyday cooking.
It seems we’re on the same page as, I too, feel like I need to get word out about the cuisine of my heritage to those that know little or nothing about it. And I’m constantly learning and discovering more and more about it in the process.
Of the ten cards that Zrinka sent me, I’ve already made two of the recipes. The first one I’m sharing with you is a filled bread, or pogača, that comes from the island of Vis – one of over 1000 islands that are peppered along Croatia’s magnificent coastline.
I’m yet to visit Vis, but when I do I’d expect to see the two varieties of pogača they have there. At least I hope I do! The northern town of Vis (yes, same name as the island) is known for its Viška pogača – the original version of this stuffed bread that dates back over 2000 years. The focaccia-like bread is filled with onions, salted fish and oil – commodities that were available pretty much year round.
On the western side of the island is the town of Komiža, where you’re likely to find Komiška pogača – the same set-up as Viška pogača but with the addition of tomatoes, herbs and perhaps even olives and capers. The tomatoes came into the picture after the discovery of the Americas, when European explorers brought them back, so I’m guessing they were incorporated when in season – until, of course, when they were eventually tinned.
I understand the breads are also cut differently according to variety – either into wedges or squares – although something tells me the ‘rules’ may be a tad relaxed nowadays.
Either way, this is one incredibly tasty bread for those of us that like their salty anchovies. Great thing is, it freezes really well!
Big thanks to Epicurean for the Gourmet Cutting Board