Požega, Museum in a Pot
Rainy days can be great. The opening of the exhibition called “Museum in a Pot” was our reason for driving to the easternmost town in Croatia, Ilok, last fall. Maja Žebčević-Matić, senior curator of the City Museum Požega, welcomed us full of positive energy, and it was her initiative to travel with this exhibition all over Slavonia. In the opening speech, Darko Mrkonjić, Vicepresident of the Croatian Tourist Guide Federation, stated that the added value is obtained by placing the heritage as tourist product, because it it does not cost us anything, just as a kind word or smile.
True goal of this moving exhibition is the revival of old forgotten recipes, bringing them back to homes and restaurants.
Many archival images helped us travel to the beginning of the 20th century when our countryside was full of life. Crowded villages, grandma’s kitchen, kolinje.
Of course, talking about food is unthinkable without a good wine. Robertino Marinjak, regional commissioner of the Croatian Sommelier Club, was joined by representatives from Ilok wineries: PZ TRS, Dolić-Kraljević, Srijemska kapljica and Ivan Čobanković. They offered us some of their best wines: Cabernet Franc, Graševina, Rose, Traminer, Pinot Gris…
Pairing those wines with hearty food that was presented worked really well. More than 10 various dishes and sweets and each has a story to tell. But, it seems that the star of the show was “Požega vineyard ćevap.” It’s a heavy meal made from various meats (such as fajferica- traditional Slavonian pork, veal and bacon), all wrapped in veal caul fat.
After this fine afternoon we got the impression that Slavonia and Baranja is finally starting to recognize its huge gastronomic potential rooted deeply in the rich history and tradition. It will be interesting to follow up and see if this exhibition helps them realise how to benefit from their culinary traditions.