Food Tradition on Islands Od Hvar And Brač

As the basis of today's diet and those of their ancestors, the people of Brač and Hvar point out vines, olives, goat, sardines, all kinds of  vegetables, legumes and grains. Basic cooking techniques are cooking (na lešo), baking (on the grill – gradele - or under the peka), dry (meat and fish) and salted (fish, olive). The usage of wild plants is widespread, and not just for medical purposes, but also in food preparing. Varenik, specific spice made of wine must (mošt) is the kind of a food that testifies the long-term dietary practices of the Mediterranean and Adriatic. Difference between everyday and festive food is still present, with the noticeably larger changes occurred in the everyday food/nutrition/dishes. Family festivities, and especially religious rituals consistently cherish the traditional way of eating, and the female members of the family have the role of in transmittion of knowledge about traditional food.

The close relationship of diet to the environment and natural seasonal rhythm today is expressed through the activities of family farms and agricultural cooperatives and numerous associations. Considering that the art of preparing traditional dishes, knowledge and skills of its production mostly fall within the domain of orally transmitted knowledge, communities are actively working on the written and audiovisual documentation of these skills.

In the communities of Brač and Hvar, the Mediterranean diet is part of everyday life and it is recreated each time when people sit down to eat together, albeit with some modifications that came as a result of economic changes. The basic ingredients of the fisherman’s and peasant’s cuisines have not changed for the past 70 years, but the availability and frequency of certain foods have. For example, meat that was eaten only on Sundays and holidays in the mid-20th century has become much more common in the last 30-40 years. Also, bread used to be baked from homegrown grains for the whole family once a week. This has changed as well, as the purchasing power of the islanders’ has increased and the number of farmers has decreased. There has also been a decrease in dietary self-sufficiency of the islands’ households that was significant in the 20th-century war and post-war periods, and the link between diet, nature and the change of seasons is not as close as it used to be. However, the ecology of the Mediterranean diet has been recognized and many family farms and farmers’ cooperatives are working to re-introduce forgotten crop varieties and revive recipes for food and herbal remedies made from self-grown Mediterranean plants. There is still a difference between the everyday and holiday diet, with bigger changes happening in the former than in the latter. Through family and especially religious rituals, the traditional diet is staunchly nurtured and preserved. Advances in technology have noticeably changed the food preparation process – food is no longer cooked over an open fire; instead, electrical cookers are used or, in some cases, wood stoves, but even then food is prepared in modern pots and pans.

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