Gastronomy of Komiža and the island of Vis
Maurice Edmond Sailland – Curnonsky, a great Epicurean and gastronomic writer of the early 20th centuries, nicknamed the “prince of all gastronomes”, believed that cooking was at its best only when the ingredients used had retained their original appearance, taste and smell.
The cuisine from the island of Vis is just like that, the original taste of seafood with locally grown spices and vegetables prepared in a homemade, local way. Because of that the gastronomy of Vis nowadays is experiencing its renaissance.
Anyone who tries the uniqueness of the island’s food within the experience of visiting this pearl of the Mediterranean becomes an addict who returns year after year for a dose of hedonistic pleasure.
The unique microclimate, the fertile plateau of the island of Vis and its prolific fields are the ideal prerequisites for fruitful harvests of lemons, olives and grapes. Furthermore, skilled fishermen always have abundant catches of fish. We can easily conclude that the island of Vis attracts its numerous visitors also with its enticing gastronomic experience.
Octopus fritters or octopus salad, dried, salted and smoked fish, stewed squid in wine with laurel, fish in chickpeas, pastafažol on brujet (you have to try it to understand it) are just some of the dishes that you won’t find anywhere else on the Adriatic.
If you want to try something really special, you have to order a Dalmatian peka which is a baked dish with meat or fish and vegetables made in a pot or a tray, the pot is put into the embers of a fireplace. The peka dish is prepared in the traditional way, which takes time and love. Brujet, a tomato-based fish stew, monkfish and lobster dishes are also specialities that you should not miss so for an experience of a gastronomic pleasure on the island of Vis, be sure to book a whole week of your time.
To be prepared in time for these fireworks of pure taste, you can knead the Komiška pogača (traditional savoury pie)before you set off for Vis. In the town of Vis, where the inhabitants were mainly engaged in winemaking and olive growing, this pie was made without tomatoes and is therefore called Viška pogača.
Komiška pogača – the traditional savoury pie:
You will enjoy kneading a dough made of flour, yeast, water and two tablespoons of olive oil. Of course, nothing without a few grains of salt. It is a process that can also be an anti-stress treatment!
While the dough is resting and doubling, sauté onion rings (about 5 sliced heads) in olive oil, then add the chopped peeled tomatoes or home-grown ripe tomatoes, as well as salt and pepper. You can add some extra flavour with chopped parsley, capers or oregano.
Divide the dough into two parts and spread one part on an oiled tin, sprinkle with olive oil, add the filling you made and arrange the fillets of salted anchovies or sardines on it.
Use the other half of the dough to cover. Sprinkle more olive oil on top.
After about 40 minutes of patience, while this delicacy is baked at 180°C, you can enjoy the flavours from the island of Vis.
Because we are in the land of tradition where the knowledge and skill of our ancestors are very well nurtured, we must stick to the ancient proverb:
“A fish must swim three times: in the sea, in olive oil and good wine!”
The good wine on this offshore island is any wine made from indigenous grape varieties.
Vis wine is divine nectar whose taste will take you on a journey through the romantic history of wine that dates back to the time when the Greeks were the alpha and omega of our seas. They planted the first vines and enjoyed the fruits of their labour, the heavenly wine of the island of Vis.
The hardworking islanders still cherish the tradition of winemaking, so whatever winery or wine shop entices you to come in and taste their products, just enter and enjoy.
The most famous wine of the Vis island is Vugava, from the eponymous white grape variety, with a sumptuous fullness and a honey taste. But if you enjoy having a glass of red wine gently lull you to sleep, and it still blends well with the culinary specialities of the island, be sure to reach for Plavac Mali, known for its high sugar and heavenly bouquet that will delight even the most pampered taste buds.
If you are one of those who like to see and enjoy all that this paradise island has to offer, join a Wine Tour and take time to indulge, taste, smell, relax and pamper.
SWEETS – When you need a sweet sugar-filled bite, and you are on the island of Vis, Cviti and Hroštule are the right choices. Traditional desserts will introduce you to the world of celebration from the first bite because there is no wedding or festivity on the island without these crispy biscuits and deep-fried thin pastry sprinkled with sugar.
CAROB – If you choose a carob cake, you won’t go wrong either. In addition to satisfying the need for something sweet, you will feed your body with healthy food rich in calcium, potassium, vitamins B and E and other good stuff. Carob is an old and esteemed fruit species that has been processed in Komiža for more than 50 years. There is also a carob mill which is the only one in Croatia. Carob pods are also used for the production of a sweet kind of liquor – Rogačica, which you can take with you as an original souvenir from the island of Vis and enjoy in its warm notes to remember the beauty of Vis.
For ancient Indo-Europeans, the FIG was a sacred tree, associated with rituals of fertility and initiation. Many delicacies are made from its delicious fruits. The skilled hands of the inhabitants of the island of Vis have shaped dried figs into a cake named “smokvenjak” from ancient times. Today this dried fig cake is still prepared in the same, traditional way, and is known as The Hib from Vis or Viški Hib.
Viški Hib is prepared from local ecological ingredients: figs, fennel, almonds, orange peel and herbs. It is stored in dried laurel and rosemary leaves, which protect the hib and also give it an additional aroma.
It is a real energy bar!
LEMONS AND ORANGES-dried and ground lemon and orange peels, sweet orange peels (narancini), sweet lemon peels (limuncini), bitter orange jams and lemon jams are just some of the magical island products that you can find on the island of Vis. There are also various types of liqueurs, capers or motar (seaweed) in wine vinegar and olive oil which make your choice for the best island product impossible.