Every year up to 100,000 guests from all over the world enjoy top-quality tennis matches, rich gourmet offer and an excellent party programme at Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. During this year's edition of the tennis tournament, from July 13 to 22, Istrian delicacies will be tasted at as many as ten locations, including the Michelin venue. In addition to the Zigante restaurant, which is traditionally present at the Istria Gourmet Festival, there will be three more restaurants which have received the prestigious Michelin recommendations.
“If the gentleman had not introduced himself and showed us the Michelin badge after his dinner, we would never have guessed he was from the commission. He had four courses and took photos of every plate, but today everybody does that, so I did not give it too much attention. He insisted on classic meals and drank local wines, and after he paid his bill he came to the bar and showed us the Michelin guide badge,” said with a smile Ivan Badurina, the owner of the Badi restaurant in Istria. That is how they became the proud owners of a Michelin recommendation, and now they will be the ones who will offer guests of the Michelin venue their delicacies – such as "Destruction", cuttlefish stew, black burgers with sardines and a few other surprises.
Unlike Badurina, Teo Fernetich does not know who was the “mysterious, happy guest” who gave a Michelin recommendation to his San Rocco restaurant, but does not hide his delight for being inducted into the restaurant elite. “We did not even know that Michelin inspectors were in Istria. The recommendation has surprised us a lot, and I hope they liked the whole atmosphere, everything from service to food, because that is what we try to offer to all of our guests,” said Fernetich, whose San Rocco will use the opportunity at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag to present the guests its history through several courses. The visitors will be able to taste a variety of dishes – from cappuccino made of cuttlefish and truffles to pork in a pistachio crust.
Fabricio Vežnaver said that he leaves his heart and soul on each plate, so it is no wonder that his Pergola restaurant delighted the Michelin's inspectors. In Pergola, the menu often changes depending on the season, but they always cook only using fresh and Istrian ingredients, and the vegetables are grown by the family in their garden.
“Cooking is my true and great love, so I was obviously delighted with the recommendation. A Michelin star would be a dream come true, but I have to admit that the most important thing is the praise and the satisfaction coming from the guests. Their smiles mean we are on the right track,” said Vežnaver, who will prepare a real treat for the Istra Gourmet Festival at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag: the Kvarner shrimp, olive and orange sandwiches as refreshments, and low-temperature boiled octopus and grilled scallops.
Good food is always accompanied by fine wines, especially in Istria, which boasts some of the highest-quality vineyards, which has been confirmed by Michelin which gave its recommendations to 16 Istrian wines. As many as 11 of them will be tasted at Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, as part of the "The hidden charms of Istrian wines" programme, led by prominent sommelier Emil Perdec.
“Michelin's recommendations for our winemakers are just another encouragement for them. The fact is that they, with their best wines, are getting closer and closer to the very top of the world wine market. The recommendations are a proof of the dedication and good-quality work of the Istrian winemakers and their persistence to be better with each new grape,” said Perdec, announcing that “The hidden charms of Istrian wines" will this year present the breadth of the Istrian terroir.
Wines in six interesting categories will be tasted: sparkling wine, young Malvasia, aged Malvasia, aged Terrano, aged red blends, and aged Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the presented wine will be selected, by a secret ballot, as the 2018 ATP wine.
The Istria Gourmet Festival has been a regular part of Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag for nine years, together with the favourite Zigante and Naša Kužina restaurants, and with, starting from this year, RougeMarin and the Michelin venue. Naša Kužina, led by chef Zdravko Tomšić, will present authentic Istrian cuisine, from fresh fish and best olive oils to gourmet Istrian ox and versatile Istrian cheese. Marin Medak’s RougeMarin launched a real burger revolution in Croatia a few years ago, and guests will be able to see for themselves why it became one of the most popular restaurants in Zagreb in a very short period of time.
Whether you prefer a good match on a tennis court, parties to early morning hours, or food and top quality wines, the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, from July 13 to 22, will provide rich offerings worthy of the best tennis tournament in the region.
More information can be found at the official tournament website.