RESTAURANTS AND TRADITIONAL COOKING IN THE KONAVLE AREA
Konavle, one of the most beautiful areas of Croatia, is located at the southern tip of the country, near Dubrovnik. Nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the mountainous interior, the fertile fields of Konavle are watered by the Ljuta River and the streams of Kopacica and Konavocica. The picturesque landscape of this region is dotted with traditional stone houses, many of which date from the age of the Dubrovnik Republic. A long tradition of working the land has made Konavle famous for its abundant and healthful produce: delicious tomatoes, aubergines, zucchini, figs, oranges and sheep or goat’s milk cheese.
Konavle dishes are based on naturally raised vegetables and tender meats, simply prepared in a traditional way without fuss. Konavle’s most famous restaurants, such as Konavoski Dvori, Konoba Konavle, and Vojski Do, offer lamb and kid specialties, baked slowly under an iron lid. This traditional slow-cooking method, called “ispod peka,” uses hot coals and an iron lid to keep the meat deliciously juicy and tender, full of natural flavour. Another traditional favourite is “zelena menestra,” a dish of roasted meats, greens, and potatoes, which was first described in documents from 1580, and which is still prepared today in the same way.
A special place on every dining table of Konavle is reserved for virgin olive oil, prepared according to traditional recipes by village craftsmen. The olives are harvested by hand, and the best fruits selected for the cold pressing process. They emerge as oil of the highest quality, distinguished by its specific taste, colour and scent. Olive oil tastings are offered in several old family homes in Konavle, where, along with oil and presses, visitors can see tools, costumes and other traditional elements of daily life. This first class olive oil is used to create another speciality of this area: cheese aged in oil, which is served with domestic prosciutto.
The traditional dishes of Konavle are best enjoyed with local wines. More than 40 different local wines include indigenous and international varieties such as Maraština, Grk, Pošip, Merlot, and Plavac. The most famous Konavle wine is Dubrovnik Malvasija, whose vines have been raised exclusively in the fields of Konavle, ever since the days of the Dubrovnik Republic.
Konavle, one of the most beautiful natural areas in Croatia, with a rich rural tradition, offers truly unique experiences, from winery tours to wine and olive oil tastings, to village crafts, trips on the Ljuta River, and delicious local specialties at traditional restaurants.