Dalmatia, the Adriatic Coast: Zadar – Split – Markaska
Sunny weather and bright attitudes from the MARL group greeted Croatia today. We departed Zadar with our guide Ines and driver Goran headed south to Split.
We stopped along the way to Stankovci where ROCA Agroturismo has made a business of showing tourists how Prosciutto and other fine cured meats are produced. When our guide shared that their hogs are slaughtered after reaching 500 pounds, we assumed he calculated the weight wrong. But they actually do raise them that big! Landrace, Yorkshire and Duroc are the breeds of choice and raising the pigs yourself is the only way to make a good product. They buy piglets at 100lbs in March and slaughter twice, once in November and once in January. Their small vineyard, olive orchard and fig trees are designed to host weddings and visitors, including the peak tour season with 100 guests per day. It takes 8-10 kilograms of olives to produce 1 liter of olive oil and the leftover rinds are made into briquettes for heating. Our gracious hosts created a thoroughly delicious sampling of their own products and a full meal.
*500lb pig produces 55lbs of prosciutto from its hams
*Prosciutto is aged 2-4 years before consuming
*The Bura wind is a valuable part of this farm’s natural curing process
Split was our last stop of the day where we enjoyed a refreshing dusk at a seaside city. Split is home to a Diocletian Palace and is the second largest city in Croatia. The Palace is one of the best preserved structures of the Roman world. Our palace tour primarily included 200’s BC history viewing structural and religious highlights. We even practiced prostrating to our “Emperor Ryan!”
We had a brief time to self explore the city before traveling south to our hotel in Markaska where we stay for the night.
Signing off – Christian Lillienthal & Sarah Dornink