He sent me a message on Facebook: “Why don’t you come to visit us on Cres one day? This is a place for artists, hedonists and Gastro Snobs like you. Prosciutto, mussels, fish, venison, cheeses, top quality wines, untouched nature… The Mediterranean as it once was.”
At the entrance to the farm you are surrounded by wooden sculptures Macmalići, which were made with chainsaws at the first art colony in 2010 by artists from Prosecco near Trieste. Macmalići are mythical forest creatures from island legends and they are almost as short as I am. They have a red cap and blue shorts and live in stumps, holes and pits. If you make them angry, they become vindictive so they can scare you or lead you astray. It is better to believe in Macmalići than in Coronavirus.
They have two houses for rent on the Farm. One is for two people and is located by the pool which is heated all year round and next to the house is a sauna. The other house is for 4 people and is a hundred meters away.
At the entrance to the pool house are sculptures by Jože Šubica – an academic sculptor and painter from Maribor.
Sisters to Filozici
We settled in this second and larger house because our colleague Maja said she would join us a day later.
Jasminka immediately remembered her childhood. She asked me to take a photo in the style a common village girl. She was so thrilled when we arrived that she said she could easily cut off her ear and paint there for three months. I stopped her in her intention in the last minute. My guess is she spent too long in the sun.
Igor greeted us with a light home-made dinner. Black Slavonian pork prosciutto (3 years of ripening), smoked tuna on a bed of wild arugula and purslane, organic tomatoes and fried polenta with gorngonzola. How can something that stinks worse than my socks after the gym be so delicious? Only true gourmets and Gastro Snobs like me can know that. For everyone else, there is the cashier Helga and Cheddar from the local shop.
As the pool house was empty, I told my colleague Dean, a returnee from America, to rent it out and join us. He said that he was going to Opatija and that he could come by for one day because it was on his way. He got into a BMW Z3, lowered the roof and flew it to Cres. We took him to the city for sightseeing before lunch, ie early dinner.
Traveling without a selfie is like a church without a pedophile. Jaca also had to take a selfie to show off her beautiful necklace which she made herself. In her late years she sells paintings and jewelry. What else could this poor woman do when she doesn’t have a political party membership card.
Igor greeted us with island delicacies. Raw marinated anchovies, peperoncino calabrese piccante stuffed with tuna, pickled motar, all served on a special ceramic plate, design by Bojana Križanec.
This was followed by organic cherry tomatoes with bruschetta with truffles and cod in white sauce that Igor served on a handmade platter.
His brand is called Tramontana Wood Craft – trays made of wood and stone.
He also sliced some three-year-old black Slavonian pig prosciutto served on a stand, which he also made himself in his CROtitelj mint.
Igor also has his own line of knives which he mainly produces for cutting prosciutto and he has a pet name for them – the Terminators of prosciutto. The blades are Japanese or made by a local blacksmith, which he later completes with special handles and cases made of wood at the customer’s request with an engraved logo and he usually sells them, as well as prosciutto stands and serving boards, to the best restaurants, hotels and hedonists.
I ordered a set of knives to defend myself from masked fanatics. People are quite aggressive if they see you without a mask these days.
For this occasion, I brought Igor OH WINES Teran sparkling wine, a limited edition of 100 bottles. Be sure to try it if you get the chance. Saša Bernobić from Vižinada in Istria makes great wines.
I know the vegetarians are going to crucify me now, but for the main course we had wild boar and deer, freshly caught the day before. Igor prepared them in his recognizable and original way: Filoska gregada with a fallow deer. The meat melted in my mouth like Albanian ice cream in the summer heat. Michelin’s restaurants looks like soup kitchens compared to this.
Breakfast was just as interesting as dinner. Homemade quince and wild orange jam, fresh goat’s milk with homemade honey and brandy to kill all viruses, even the fictional ones.
She is not even aware that her milk was drunk by Dear Leader Joe for breakfast. What an honor for one goat.
Farm mascot – Puppy Budha
PS: Just when I thought I saw everything Igor makes, I realized he also makes super cool wooden glasses.
It is great to come to the island, to the countryside, to nature among domestic animals and enjoy the fresh air, local organic food, live without television and all the media and material shit that surrounds us. I felt spiritualized. After a long time I finally sat down and read a book in peace.
Igor use to rent loudspeakers and lighting for living. He also lived in Switzerland and then he got tired of “civilization” and moved with his wife Nevenka from Rijeka to Cres in 2005. He also worked as a skipper so he got to know all the islands in the Adriatic well and he chose Cres because it was a wild enough and uninhabited island, and yet large and relatively well connected, close to the mainland and the city. He is a big fan of music, food, wine and art so we would talk and talk late into the night about the musical opus of numerous greats of the Yugoslavian music scene.
Predzadnji dan su nam Igor i Nevenka pripremili buzaru od pedoča ”mare & monti” s pancetom i svježim pomidorima. Za predjelo je bila buzara na bijelo. Perverzija.
This time I surprised them with a barricaded Malvasia San Mauro that went perfectly with our meal.
Nevenka asked me: “Didn’t you say that you also have Dingač Matuško?” I forgot it by the pool, but it didn’t go bad. I returned for the bottle and its content disappeared like Bill Gates’ philantropy when he found out he could earn money on vaccines.
We would fall asleep as soon as we closed our eyes every night. Sun, sea, wine… the best remedy for insomnia. In the morning Igor greeted me with a bottle of 1998 Adberg whiskey. We chugged a glass each on an empty stomach. A real elixir for only 10000.00 kn per bottle. Are you sleeping peacefully, cashier Helga? This was a pleasant surprise, even bigger than the realization that I was sitting on a chair made for Josip Broz Tito.
As nothing is thrown away on the farm, so the few mussels that were left over from yesterday were used and made into a phenomenal spgahetti that we dug in like church digs into tax payers money. One should not not travel on an empty stomach.
Author: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader aka Vin Diesel for the poor, selfeffacing caster of curses from Chucherye, a corresponding member of the “Better to be a hedonist than a Communist” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a Gastro Snob, but above all a human.