Almost finished with my travelogue from summer – thanks for still tuning in! Our next to last stop on our Mediterranean tour was the town of Split, Croatia. I’ll be honest, in the midst of researching Italy and Greece, Croatia slipped off our plate and we arrived with no idea of what to expect. We discovered an absolutely gorgeous seaside town with fascinating ruins and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. I learned that Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, which frames the eastern edge of the Adriatic sea, has been a desirable vacation spot for centuries, due its sunny weather and picturesque landscapes. We arrived on a particularly stunning day, a perfect postcard of cloud-strewn sky and turquoise waters.
Split was a vacation spot favored by no less by Roman emperors – the emperor Diocletian decided to build a palace near this once tiny, ancient town for his retirement. Diocletian’s Palace, a sprawling, open-air complex, still stands today, and in fact has become the center of Split. It is a remarkably well preserved example of Roman architecture, all the more so since it is still actively used by the town’s citizens; after the fall of the Roman empire and the departure of the Romans, the locals moved into the palace and built homes, shops, and restaurants inside.
It was fascinating to wander between the winding byways of the palace, which are now lined with stores and apartments and function like city streets and alleyways.
A statue set into the palace walls.
Here you can see that part of the palace has been transformed into an underground shopping arcade – pretty cool.
We caught this little guy watching us from the rooftops.
I love this gorgeously colored colonnade in Republic Square, one of the many piazzas in Split.
Display of pastries at a local bakery. Croatian baked goods seem to be related to Hungarian/Austrian pastry – lots of strudels, tortes, and nut-and-cream filled cakes.
We had a sort of berry-topped custard pastry – very fresh and clean flavors.
We also came across this store selling Croatian-made chocolates.
We sampled some of their chocolate bars – I enjoyed the lavender honey and the olive oil. Too bad they’re not available here!
There was a farmers’ market going on just outside the palace. Look at the gorgeous peaches!
The Dalmatian coast is famed for its seafood. Here are some beautiful fresh sardines at the farmers’ market.
We had one of the town’s signature dishes, a seafood risotto, for lunch.
The restaurant we ate in had this quirky and amusing “tennis-haiku” hung on the wall.
We were definitely sad to leave Croatia – there was so much to explore and we felt like we’d just scratched the surface. Not to mention I’d have loved a few more days in such stunning surroundings.
I meant to make a Croatian dessert for this post, but I haven’t had time to properly test out the recipes I found, so instead I thought I’d share some treats I made for the newest member of our family. Sorting through the many dog treat recipes out there, I discovered one that used pumpkin, which seemed pretty appropriate for this time of year. There’s also peanut butter in there, which makes them nigh-irresistible to dogs – especially ours. She wouldn’t leave the kitchen while these guys were baking in the oven!
Snickers staking out her spot in front of the oven. She won’t let what’s baking inside get away.
Doing her best post on her hind legs for a bit of squirrel-shaped dog biscuit. She loves chasing squirrels – although I don’t think she really cared what shape these treats were in!
Just one stop left on our Mediterranean vacation – Venice!
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin, either canned or fresh
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4" inch thick. Add a little water if the dough is very stiff, or a little flour if it is too soft and sticky.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the cookies are dry to the touch. You can bake them longer if you want them to be completely dry and hard, but I prefer them to be slightly soft and chewy.
- Let cool on wire rack before serving to doggies.