A taste of the tropics from southern Croatia - kiwifruit

Although kiwifruit is the quintessential tropical fruit, it has managed to thrive in Croatia as well. The largest kiwi farms are located in the Neretva Valley, even though kiwifruit thrives in the entire coastal region of Croatia.

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Kiwifruit is a winter ingredient whose appearance and sweet-sour refreshing taste takes us back to warm summer months more than any other winter ingredient. Aside from the fact that it’s rarely thermally processed, it’s easy to prepare and eat. It’ll make your dishes look appealing and impressive. 

Kiwifruit is an excellent healthy ingredient when combined with yoghurt, cereals and nuts such as walnuts or almonds. It also works great in fruit salads or cold salads. It can also be prepared as fruit purée for ice creams, sorbets, shakes or smoothies. Its attractive green colour makes kiwifruit a true refreshment on your plate and it’s a very practical fruit for all foodies who like to show off their unique serving or decoration skills.

When it comes to salty dishes, kiwifruit goes great with white meat, fish and shellfish because its sweet-citrusy note will stir up flavours even in the simplest of dishes. Kiwifruit is also used to prepare piquant salsa sauces served with barbecue or meat platters.

Although kiwifruit is predominantly used by restaurants to prepare all kinds of desserts or breakfast, menus give off the impression that they’re becoming increasingly creative when it comes to adding kiwifruit to salty dishes. Kiwifruit is particularly conducive to preparing interesting salads.

At restaurant Villa Magdalena, one of the most famous restaurants in Zagorje, which was awarded the prestigious award of the gastronomy guide Gault Millau and is renowned for its fine dining cuisine showcasing local Croatian dishes with a focus on locally produced ingredients, head chef Mislav Božić always makes use of kiwifruit season to prepare refreshing breakfasts. You’ll find their green salad hard to resist!

“As part of our buffet breakfast we often prepare a healthy breakfast for our guests. We use yoghurt, chia seeds, kiwifruit, a spoon of honey and fresh orange juice to prepare it. First you place the chia seeds to soak in cold water and you should leave them for about an hour. Then you add yoghurt, slice the kiwifruit, add a spoon of honey and squeeze fresh orange juice.”

The green salad is a culinary combination of interesting ingredients and very balanced flavours. We recommend you try it as an appetizer, but it’ll definitely work great as a nice lunch.

We add baby spinach leaves, rucola in our green salad and then some sliced kiwifruit and avocado. White meat goes great with this combination of fruit and vegetables. We prepare this salad with grilled chicken or we first prepare chicken sous vide and then grill it. We use wasabi mayonnaise as dressing and then we sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds and capers on top.”

At Zimska Luka Osijek, which is the restaurant of hotel Osijek and located just a stone’s throw away from the Drava bank, chef Tomica Đukić and his team use kiwifruit on a daily basis to work their culinary magic.

“We use kiwifruit mostly in fruit salads and fruit platters, but it’s also great when used as a decoration. We add it to cakes and desserts such as icy wind cake. We also prepare a kiwifruit, avocado and chicken salad which is always done in no time. We add avocado, mango, kiwifruit, rucola, endive, julienned chicken which has to be grilled on a charcoal grill and a few drops of olive oil. Kiwifruit’s acidity makes the salad both fresh and attractive.”

At the family restaurant Đuđa and Mate located on the Neretva banks they most often prepare dishes using ingredients stemming from local family farms and the Neretva region owes its fame to kiwifruit farms. The Taslak family uses kiwifruit to prepare icy wind, which is one of the most sought after cakes. Restaurant owner Jure Taslak told us the recipe.

“First we make a snow consisting of egg whites, sugar and apple vinegar in order to make the crust. It’s then oven-baked for about an hour at 150 °C. When it’s done, we slice it into several layers. The cream is prepared by cooking egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla sugar in milk. Once the cream thickens, we leave it to cool. Then we add some margarine and mix it together. Whipped cream is prepared separately. The cake is made by putting the crust first and then sliced kiwifruit, the cream followed by whipped cream. In order to preserve its freshness, we have to sprinkle the kiwifruit with lemon prior to putting it in the cake. The cake is served with a bit of chocolate on the side and whipped cream.

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