we caption Croatia (7)

ahhh how sweet… what is he thinking?
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cook like an Italian – brasato di manzo

Brasato is a type of beef stew, which is originally from Piemonte and made with a good Barolo wine. But it’s also on the menu in other northern regions and tweeked with a few variations, in my family it was often prepared for a special Sunday lunch, and served with polenta or mashed potatoes.
Brasato can also be prepared with other types of good full-bodied red wines (Barolo is quite expensive) but don’t use cheap wine, or you’ll be wasting your time and a good piece of beef.
brasato di manzo
In my recipe I have used Montepulciano, you can also use a good Gattinara, Chianti or Sangiovese. Cheap wine won’t do. Continue reading

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Croatian Olive Oils – a long-standing tradition

Our Adventure in Croatia:

Olives and Olive oil in Croatia? read all about it here

Originally posted on Go Hvar:

Dalmatians say: To taste good, a fish must swim three times – once in the sea, once in olive oil, and once in wine!

Although I’m generally not a fan of munching olives, I have to admit they are good in combination with cheese and anchovies to accompany a glass of wine. And I definitely do like a good olive oil. We’ve recently tried different types from California, Spain, Italy and South America, and are beginning to appreciate the variation in flavours. We’re now hoping to expand our somewhat sparse knowledge to Croatian oils, as there are some fine examples of artisan extra-virgin olive oil on the market from around Dalmatia and  Istria.

Olive oil tasting

Rizman olive oil ready for tasting

With that in mind, we attended a seminar at April’s Dalmatian Wine Expo, given by Dr sc. Mirella Žanentić, and Rizman, producers of some wonderful wines and olive oils. The presentation…

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our first season at BellaVista comes to an end

Last week we said goodbye to our last guests of the season. They were two lovely families from the UK who were visiting the island for the first time.
Plaza in Trogir
In the early part of the summer season the weather wasn’t so good in Croatia, it’s been an unusual year with more rain than normal, even the locals have been very surprised (read our post we are still standing).

But October bloomed into wonderful sunshine and our last guests enjoyed a great sunny week and loved the pool, especially the children. Their daughter Gracie learned to dive as she was jumping in it every day, so we are very honoured to being a part of her “dive training” and – who knows – in future she may even be a champion swimmer or diver!!
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Cycling the cobbled streets of Vis Town – Croatia

Everyone rides a bike on Vis. Young and old, locals and and tourists, fat and skinny people. All kinds of bikes are ridden. New ones, old ones, mountain bikes, colourful bikes, on two, three or even four wheels.
Vis Town Croatia
There is probably no place on the whole Adriatic where the bike is as popular as in Vis, and it is very easy to rent a bike as there are plenty of places near the port where you can pick one up if you arrive with a sailing ship or a gulet cruise, like us, while on our island-hopping adventure.
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more adventures in Croatia: Robert and Natasha in Split

Split is the largest city in Dalmatia. Its origins go back to Roman times and at the heart of the city, facing the Adriatic, is the old Diocletian Palace, which is still today one of the main attractions as a Unesco World Heritage sites and a living monument, with people living between its boundaries, where you get a mixture of ancient buildings and modern everyday living side by side.

Diocletian Palace Split
Our Croatian adventurers this week are Robert and Natasha, who are permanent residents of Split, having moved to the city a few years ago.
us in hats
Hello Robert and Natasha, welcome to our Blog, where are you originally from and how did you end up living in Croatia, when did you move here? Continue reading

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local tips for Dubrovnik? ask an Englishman!

you know the saying goes “when in Rome, do as the Romans do“?
well…. when in Dubrovnik, ask an Englishman!

Dubrovnik

with social media becoming more and more popular, when we travel to new destinations or towns, we rely more and more on reviews and recommendations from locals or other travellers.

Dubrovnik
During our recent trip to Dubrovnik we read useful information from several sources: Continue reading

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Villa BellaVista TripAdvisor reviews

happyHappy guests = happy hosts

We’ve put a lot of hard work, heart and soul into our Croatian house, and we’ve opened the doors to many guests this summer.

Our aim is for our guests to be HAPPY, as that also makes us HAPPY

and below you can check out some of the reviews left by our guests on TripAdvisor. We hope to make even more people happy next year!
Villa BellaVista Trogir Croatia
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in search of Croatian wine in Trstenik, Peljesac – Croatia cruise diary

The Peljesac peninsula is a mountainous finger of land in southern Dalmatia, about an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik. It is a very beautiful place but it is still off the main touristy routes of Croatia.

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We docked in one of its bays during our sailing week on board MS Vapor with Katarina Line. (click to read our previous post).
IMG_20140819_172934715_HDR Continue reading

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cook like an Italian – pesto sauce

BasilPestoBasil plant: the flavour of summer, one of the best additions to your summer table and the main ingredient for pesto sauce.

Although traditionally you would make pesto using a pestle and mortar, many people (myself included) use a modern food processer

You can store freshly made pesto in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but pesto also freezes really well, so you can make small batches and keep it in the freezer for times when fresh basil is not available. Continue reading

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Early bird booking at Villa BellaVista

When do you book your holiday?

birdAre you an “early bird” or a “last-minute deal” traveller?last minute

Here at Villa BellaVista we’ve already taken our first booking for July 2015, when we will be welcoming Herman and Annemarie from Holland,
with their kids.
villa rental croatia

We are happily surprised that our guests want to book the villa so early, and are very grateful indeed!
By securing their holiday early, our guests now have something to look forward to. When the winter blues start to set in, you’ll need something to lift your spirits and what better than an upcoming escape to Villa BellaVista in sunny Croatia?

We look forward to welcoming Herman, Annemarie and their girls, who see themselves already in the pool …..
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walking the Walls of Dubrovnik – Croatia

The definitive ‘must’ of any visit to Dubrovnik, the medieval city walls can be explored with a full-circuit, two-kilometre walk along the battlements.
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Dubrovnik walls
The walls are on average 24m high and up to 6m thick and date back to the 13th century. Additional towers were constructed in the 15th century, to protect the city against the Turks. (click on images to enlarge)

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We’re still standing….

We’ve survived the worst Croatian storm in years, all the locals say the’ve never experienced anything like this. Our friend Daniel who has been living on the island for many years told it is unbelivable, and even older members of the community can never remember a summer like this.

it's not always sunny in Croatia

unexpected freak storm in Croatia

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what made our Croatian sailing cruise so nice? The People

A petite blonde French lady named Isabelle was the life and soul of our cruise around the Croatian islands.
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I say French lady, but when I first met Isabelle, her origin was a topic of great dispute. She had a heated discussion with the ship’s bartender named Mario, who was a pleasant Croatian from Split. Continue reading

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Croatia island hopping cruise – life onboard

So what it’s like to cruise Croatia on board a small vintage ship?
cruise Croatia
Well, first things first, as mentioned in a previous post, you need to choose carefully the type of cruise you’d like to join, or you might end up with the “wrong crowd” – so to speak – so before booking, always enquire as to the age group of the travellers on a specific route.

fun and party cruise Croatia

fun and party cruise Croatia

cruise croatia Continue reading

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