Since we arrived in Šibenik (pronounced Sh-ibenik) two weeks ago, it’s like we’ve been living in a dream. Who knew Croatia could be this beautiful? There are so many streets to explore, so many beaches to swim in and so many old buildings to discover.
When we arrived in the city, one of the first things we noticed is the fortress. It sits on top of a hill, overlooking the channel that leads to Šibenik. It’s an impressive building that definitely has a lot of history. It also happens a place of entertainment. Walking around town, we saw so many posters of the Taste of Mediterranean chef cook-off that we decided to go. After all, who doesn’t want to spend an evening in a beautiful fortress, watching renowned French cooks prepare their specialty for us.
When we heard that on top of being a great event, the tickets were only 100 kunas ($20) each, we jumped on the occasion. We bought them the day before the event and were allowed to visit the fortress for free. So we walked around, enjoying the great view and taking lots of picture.
The fortress is in amazing shape. It’s has been very well preserved, which always makes me happy. I like to know old buildings are being taken care of. But beside the fortress itself, you’ll want to climb the hill only to get the best view in town. From up there, you can see so far it’s obvious why they decided to build something there.
The next day, we climbed the hill again, this time ready to be entertained. We started by visiting the graveyard below the fortress, which happens to be a very quiet and peaceful place to be. I wouldn’t want to stay there for too long (ghosts and zombies, you know), but if you want to think a bit and have a great view, it’s definitely a place to go.
Finally, it was time to get inside the fortress. We had the chance to witness an amazing sunset, which also happens to be very common here. I don’t plan to get tired of it, though. The sky is simply amazing when the sun starts disappearing behind the sea.
After taking a lot more pictures, it was finally time to go to our seat. The show was about to start. The first cook that we were introduced to was Lionel Levy from the Hôtel Intercontinental in Marseille. He showed us how he makes his signature dish, the bouillabaisse milkshake. You think it’s a bit weird? We did too. But that okay, because he’s just being creative and trying to innovate, which is something to be proud of. So what exactly is a bouillabaisse? All I know it’s that it’s a South of French dish that involves a lot of fish. And Mr. Levy milkshake had so many different types of fish at so many different levels that I lost interest. I’m not a big fish fan, as you might understand…
After he was done, we had a small break. People started leaving their seats, so we did the same thing. When we came inside, people we drinking wine and eating bouillabaisse milkshake in plastic cups. So we did like them: we grabbed a glass of wine and looked for the plastic cups. When we found where they were, we asked the waiter if we could have one (for Chris, obviously). He told us it was only going to be ready in an hour, the chef hadn’t finished making them. Apparently, people were so eager to try it that they had just grabbed the cups and not cared for what people were telling them. We laughed about it went back to our seats, ready for the second cooking session.
The second chef was Guillaume Sourrieu from L’Epuisette in Marseille. He prepared a stuffed calamari with prosciutto and parmesan for us. I would have been happy to try it if I had like seafood, which I don’t. So instead, at the end of the night, Chris did it for the both of us!
This time, between the second and third chefs, we weren’t allow to go inside. I wonder why, that is… I would have liked a second glass of wine, but had to wait like everyone else for the end of the night to try the three dishes at the same time. So we went back to our seats, wondering who we would see next and if his food would involve fish (again).
We met San Degeimbre, a South Korean chef who works at L’Air du Temps in Belgium. He was definitely different from the two other chefs, starting with a selfie with the audience. San Degeimbre also happens to love vegetables, herbs and plants in general. He talked about things he had brought from Belgium, but also species that we found around the Fortress that he could use to cook. While he was talking, I was wondering why he wasn’t cooking, like the other chefs. When he started though, I realized: he didn’t have anything to cook. His dish was a cold one, with vegetables and some flowers. He put everything in place, then added a cheese and olive oil sauce. To be honest, his dish was the best looking one and also the only one I was willing to try. Unfortunately, a taste of the cheese sauce and I couldn’t eat it anymore. It was much too strong for me. Chris devoured it and would have gotten a second one if it weren’t from the crazy crowd.
Chris and I definitely enjoyed our night, until it was time to try the food. We expected the elite of Šibenik to be at this event (and even felt underdress a bit). Either we were wrong or their elite doesn’t have a very good etiquette. People were pushing and trying to get their food before everyone else, not being very polite in the meantime. It got so overwhelming to get pushed back and forth by old ladies who thought they owned the place that we quickly left after we were done our wine.
There were also a few jokes in Croatian that we didn’t understand from the hosts, but since the chefs were talking English, we were able to understand most of what was happening.
But looking back on it, we had a lot of fun for very cheap. Maybe next time we shouldn’t have such high expectations of the crowd? That’s not going to stop us, since there’re plenty of other events in Šibenik that we plan to attend!