Spices from Hvar island
Original spices from Hvar island
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Dalmatian cuisine cannot be imagined without rosemary, an evergreen shrub whose dried leaves have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. It is characterized by a penetrating aroma with notes of mint and pepper, and its taste is strong and astringent-sweet. It is traditionally used for seasoning meat dishes, especially fish and lamb, but also various marinades, salads, soups, stews and sauces. With its distinctive taste, it will enhance even simple dishes such as baked potatoes, and it can also be added to the dough for homemade bread. Dried rosemary perfectly retains its smell and taste, so it is enough to add a very small amount during cooking.
Noble laurel is a plant typical of the Dalmatian landscape. As a spice, whole, dried leaves rich in tannins and essential oils are used, which give it a strong smell and an aromatic-bitter taste. In domestic cuisine, bay leaves are traditionally used for stews that are cooked for a long time, and it goes well with all types of meat: venison, beef, chicken, fish, lamb... It is excellent for preparing fish and meat marinades, soups and various sauces, and an indispensable seasoning for pickling vegetables. The bay leaf should be dosed carefully - as a rule, one leaf is enough - and added early in the cooking process so that its flavor completely permeates the dish.
Oregano is a plant that grows wild in Dalmatia. The leaves, which are used as a spice, smell very pleasant and aromatic, and their taste is somewhat sharp, peppery and bitter. Oregano is also widely used in other Mediterranean cuisines: Italian, Greek and Turkish. It is a common seasoning for pizzas and all kinds of tomato dishes, but it also goes well with fish, poultry, beef, lamb and vegetables with a distinct aroma such as broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant and corn. When seasoning dishes, it is good to know that one teaspoon of dried oregano leaves corresponds to a large spoonful of fresh oregano leaves.
Sage is autochthonous in the area of Dalmatia, where its woody bushes can cover entire hillsides. Dried sage leaves have a strong, pleasant aroma and a salty-bitter taste with a pronounced earthy note. It is excellent as a seasoning for meat, especially lamb and poultry; for preparing omelets and as an addition to various sauces. It is an ideal addition to hearty winter dishes because it can retain its flavor, and it works especially well with fatty dishes because its astringency helps in digesting fat. Sage can be added early in the cooking process, or the leaves can be fried briefly to season the finished dish.