Hvar’s Mediterranean Diet recently became UNESCO intangible heritage, and if you want to experience it in the most authentic way possible, then a cooking class in the village of Velo Grablje is hard to beat. Velo Grablje is no ordinary village. Once the center of lavender production for all Dalmatia, the village was hit hard by emigration and had a permanent population of just five until a few years ago. The village’s fortunes changed once more when a group of young activists related to the village started to revive its heritage and traditions. This manifested itself in the annual Lavender Festival, complete with lavender oil distillation, and a number of other initiatives have seen the population grow from 5 to 14, with the sound of children playing in the village for the first time in years. There is even a winter pub.
Things really started to come to life a couple of years ago, however, when the local Tudor family (your hosts for the cooking class) – already successful restaurateurs in Hvar Town with their Djordjota Vartal restaurant by the monastery – decided to return to their roots, renovate a family home and open the first restaurant in Velo Grablje. And with considerable success. You will find out why on the tour, as you learn not only the fascinating history of lavender and life in the village, but also cooking the traditional way, sourcing local ingredients with your hosts, Marija Tudor and her fiancé. Velo Grablje is a world away from the busy tourist destination with its silence and natural setting, overlooking the Pakleni Islands and Vis, but only ten minutes away by car. Come and discover Dalmatia as it truly once was, learn more about its traditions and food, and go home with an authentic experience of a lifetime.
We will meet you in your hotel and transfer you to our office where you will meet one of the Tudor family member with whom you will continue for a grocery supply on the local fruit and veggie market, butchery, or fish market. Shopping will take place once we have agreed a menu that meets your satisfaction. Over there you will buy groceries and necessary ingredients.
After grocery shopping, we will take you to Velo Grablje, where you will then proceed to one of the “wild gardens” spread around the village to pick some of the necessary stuff to prepare your meal, such as salad, rosemary or basil, young onions etc. The Tudor family will use this opportunity to show you the village which once thrived on lavender, and is slowly making a comeback. Each house, each stone has a thousand memories, their stories lovingly retold.
After a short walk and picked necessary ingredients you will move to a Tudor’s family house where they will teach you on how to prepare your own meals. Your meal will be prepared in a traditional island way including a couple of traditional cooking tricks which the Tudors will gladly reveal to you.
Your traditional Velo Grablje meal will be accompanied by the finest Hvar wines, and time for more stories, as Hvar has a distinguished 2400-year wine story, and it boasts an array of indigenous varieties, some of which are only grown on Hvar. Just one more arrow in the bow of this truly authentic experience in one of the most stunning settings in Dalmatia imaginable.