What a shame, it has been exactly 2 years that my friend Goga and me started planning going on a trip to the island of Brac to pick up olives at her property. There have always been some unpredicted situations, bad weather, someone’s sick in the family or other excuses that prevented us from taking the action.
However, we finally decided to get over with it and do it: it’ll be now or never. On a sunny November morning, we got ourselves on the ferry that goes to the island that is located only 40mins from Split.
It was just a first in a row of the trips we took to visit Goga’s property.
The ferry was completely full, lot of familiar faces that I recognized from the summers and summers spent with my family on the island. We drank our coffees while chatting with always curious locals and in no time we stepped on the island. As soon as we got off the ferry, we felt the freshness of the air and relaxing vibes all around us – a thing you cannot encounter on the busy city streets. Locals lazily strolling down the narrow streets, without any rush.
We went in the direction of Goga’s property which is situated at the end of the town of Supetar. Supetar is a cute, tiny town considered to be the “capital” of the island.
Where to start the story about the island of Brač?
It has a long history: the first human dwellings date back to the Paleolithic Age (Kopačina cave), it gets inhabited by the Illyrians during the Bronze Age, then Romans and so on… the island gains independency only after the end of the World War II.
The first image that pops into my head when thinking about the island is the beach Zlatni Rat which is special because it changes its shape according to the changes in wind direction and currents and represents the heaven for windsurfers.
The best way to get to know island well is by renting a scooter: you can notice all the subtle changes in the scenery, enjoy the beauty of small towns packed with little stone houses, visit the village of Murvica situated on the top of a stone cliff and the Monastery of Blaca, see the specific so called “bunjas” (tiny round shaped houses without windows made out of stone, used by shepherd as a shelter).
Other than olives, the island is rich in vine, carob, figs, rosemary, chamomile cherry, sage etc.
However, let us get back to the beginning of the story.
My friend Goga is an amazing host and I always come back home after visiting her with loads of gifts: this time it was olives, lemons, mandarines and rosemary that we picked up ourselves. All of those products are natural and organic, grown under the caring and watchful eye of my lovely friend.
She also added a few small bottles of the almond and carob liquor that she made by herself and I thought I would explode of joy and gratitude.
Coming back to Split, still under the influence of our beautiful day at the island and excited with all the fresh produce in my bag – I decided to start to prepare the olives right away when I come home.
The only thing I needed was a well-preserved recipe of my neighbors’ Ivan grandmother.
The recipe is quite simple, but as it is the case with every simple thing: God is in the details.
- 1kg of fresh olives
- 2-3 tsp of seasalt
- 2-3 l of water
- Fill a big pot with 2-3L of water and add the salt – when it starts boiling add the olives and leave it to cook for awhile
- Leave the olives in the same water for 24hours. The salt will take out the bitterness from the olives
- Strain and dry the olives and add a bit of salt
- Put them into the baking pan and bake on 100 degrees for 10-15 minutes
- Turn down the heat on 50 degrees and bake for another 30minutes
- Turn off the oven leaving the olives inside of it so they can gradually cool down
- Move them into the glass containers and cover
- Olives are best conserved in the fridge or even freezer
When servimg the olives, sprinkle them with some olive oil and add a bit of rosemary. Traditionally in Dalmatia, they are served together with prosciutto, cheese and the glass of red wine