Olive oil tasting in Split, Croatia
When John returned from Rome with a car the other day, our first outing was to Split to pick up some camping gear. We’d like to explore the islands and coastline of Croatia, and now that we have a car the additional load of tent and sleeping bags is possible. Iglu Sport, the outdoor store, was calling to us.
Sampling Croatian olive oils
As we walked through the old town of Split, we can across an olive oil tasting set up in one of the squares. Rows of bottles were set out with small dipping bowls and bits of bread. We tasted a range of oils, from light, green olive flavored ones the color of dried wheat, to heavy green, tangy ones. Marlie found one that tasted like grass, closing our eyes it tasted exactly like a bite of wheatgrass. (Marlie loves to get wheatgrass at Safeway and eat it, pretending to be a horse…) Several were infused with other flavors: garlic, lime, basil, peppers, rosemary. They came from all over Croatia, with a special booth for Istrian oils. Some of the bottles were small with long necks almost the same length as the bottle itself.
The girls preferred the lighter varieties, and John and I both loved one of the heavy ones with a slightly nutty flavor. They didn’t seem to be selling the oils at the tasting, it was sponsored by Konzum, one of the grocery store chains here. Although we enjoyed several, we will resist the urge to buy multiple bottles we’ll then have to carry with us.
Not having a car has limited our ventures outside the small town where we are staying. I suspect we are the only Americans around. We get a lot of double takes from people when they hear us talking, and the only English we hear is people speaking to us. It’s a bit of culture shock to go into the city and hear conversations in a language we understand. A part of me welcomes the familiar, while another feels that our experience here is diminished by it. Is suspect, though, that as we head South to Dubrovnik and Peljesac and Korcula carrying our new camping gear, we will cross paths with many more tourists speaking our native tongue.