Friday, 26 April 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Often called Croatian Easter Bread this traditional Easter delight, Pinca, is basically a sweet bread that is served sometimes with butter and a cup of coffee. It is relatively straightforward to make although it is important to follow some golden rules.

If you want to make a traditional Croatian Easter feast then one thing must be near the top of the list, Pinca, or sweet bread. Pinca is usually flavoured with citrus fruits and sometimes contains dried fruit and rum. When complete is looks like a rounded loaf of bread, or maybe a large bread roll.

It is traditionally made on the Saturday before Easter and then served on Easter morning. Whilst many families have their own recipe, which has been passed down through generations, we are going to offer you the simplest recipe, let’s face it if you aren’t a baker then you are already at a disadvantage. But although the recipe is fairly simple the preparation isn’t, this is a time consuming process waiting for the dough to rise. The key to a good pinca is that it is light and soft and has a certain foamy quality. Here is the recipe for two pincas, or up to 16 servings, so you’ll have plenty to share around at the Easter period.

pinca sweet easter bread croatia

 

Ingredients for 2 Pinca Bread loaves

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
100 grams raisins
100 grams of milk
2 tablespoons brandy or rum (if you have some Croatian brandy or rum even better)
200 grams of sugar
150 grams of butter
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla

Recipe for 2 Pinca Bread loaves (serves up to 16 people)

Add the yeast, 1 tb of sugar and milk into a smallish mixing bowl and stir well with a fork. Cover the mixture and put it in a dark, dry place

Combine the raisins with the brandy/rum in a bowl and leave to one side for the dried fruit to soak up the alcohol

Combine the butter with the flour until you get a fine crumble. This might be easier to do in a large mixer

Knead the dough, adding the egg yolks, yeast mixture, citrus zests, sugar and vanilla. Again this step is easier if you have a mixer with a knead attachment, if not you’ll need some “elbow grease”. Knead until the dough forms a ball shape

Near the end of the kneading add the raisins and rum/brandy. Knead until the raisins are evenly distributed throughout the dough. If the mixture is too wet then add more flour, if it is too dry then add milk

Now comes the important step. Cover the bowl with grease-proof paper and leave it rise (in a dry, dark spot) for around 2 hours. The mixture should almost double in size

Divide the dough in half and shape each into a round loaf

Place each round loaf onto a baking pan, spacing well apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Again this can take 2 hours

Preheat the oven to 190°C

Using as knife cut an X into the top of the loaves and brush the top of the loaves with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for between 30 and 45 minutes. And when finished allow to cool.

According to the latest reports, the average time users spend on Facebook is continuing to fall, while the much more popular Instagram is slowly but surely growing and becoming the most popular form of social media in the world.

Facebook and Instagram are extremely popular applications whose popularity, according to the latest reports, is going completely in the opposite direction. The time spent in the Facebook application is falling day by day, while Instagram is becoming more and more popular and popular, reports Business Insider.

According to a recent report by Cowen, a financial services company, in the first quarter of 2019, the average time spent on Facebook in the US fell to 49 minutes daily from the average of 51 minutes three months ago and 58 minutes in the first quarter of 2017.

Instagram on the other hand has seen the time that users spend increase, the average is up to 34 minutes a day. And the photo-sharing app is the absolute hot with younger generations, whilst Facebook has its strongest market with an older age group.

One of the reasons for the drop in time spent on Facebook is the policy of Mark Zuckerberg, who, due to numerous scandals, announced a radical change in how Facebook works, emphasizing that users need to spend “quality time” on the network, though it means spending less time on it.

As the summer is just around the corner and the music from festivals all over the world can just be heard in the distance the popular website coolcamping.com has released a list of the top 50 Most Popular Music Festivals in the World, According to Instagram. And Croatia features in the top thirty with the crazily popular Ultra Europe Festival in Split coming in at a respectable 29th position.

The dedicated crew at Cool Camping have been busy surfing social media and all that hard work has brought a quite impressive list. “This year, to help you out, the Cool Camping clan have put our heads together to work out which music festivals are the world's favourites, with a little help from Instagram. We took to the photo sharing platform to find out which music festivals are the most popular based on how often they had been hashtagged on the social media site,” commented the website. Adding that “In order to compile our list of the top 50 music festivals in the world, we curated a list of 162 of the biggest and best festivals, taken from countless articles, and sources listing the must-visit music festivals around the world. We then crawled Instagram to identify how many posts on Instagram had been hashtagged with the name of each festival and ranked the festivals based on this number to identify our top 50.”

And the top of the list, with an incredible 4.2 million hashtag mentions, was the American music festival Coachella, which is held in California. In fact, seven of the top ten most Instagrammed festivals were in the US. Which either tells us that Americans do music festivals the best, or they are the most active with their smartphones when attending festivals.

Croatia’s Ultra Europe Festival received a whopping 137,343 hashtag mentions.

“Unsurprisingly, Glastonbury has sealed the number one spot for the UK, with an impressive 731,742 hashtags. This five-day festival needs little introduction, incorporating the latest music, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and more across over 100 stages – the tickets for the 2019 festival sold out in just 36 minutes,” comments Cool Camping on the leading British music festival.

The days of poorer quality detergent, chocolate spread and toothpaste, to name but a few, in Croatia are behind us as the European Parliament voted to ban double quality standards. For years Croatia, and the whole of the south-east region of Europe, has been sold poorer quality products from leading brands, but in most cases for the same price as they are in the rest of Europe.

With 474 votes for, 163 against and 14 abstentions, the European Parliament yesterday confirmed new rules for the protection of European consumers, including the ban on the different qualities of apparently identical products. In this way, double quality products will in the future be regarded as deceptive practices and will be banned.

This means that the products cannot have different ingredients in the eastern market (the different is generally of inferior quality) compared to the product marketed in the western market, without being in any way different, that they are in the same packaging and that the buyer therefore busy exactly the same product. "No one will ever be able to claim that Croatians or Bulgarians, for example, are looking for less healthy foods, deteriorating laundry detergents, or poor quality detergents," commented the Croatia MEP Biljana Borzan.

And Borzan commented on her social media account that “After six years of work it is a great victory for citizens of the new members of the EU.”

But the struggle for consumer equality in the European market is not over just yet. Firstly, the new directive needs to be confirmed by the EU Council, or the Ministers of the Member States. Although it is expected that this will be a formality.

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, will visit Croatia this summer in his first ever official visit. From the 16th to the 17th of May 2019 Prince Edward will visit the Dalmatian city of Split where he will meet with representatives of state and local authorities and join in the celebrations of the partnership between Great Britain and Croatia as NATO partners, in the year that Croatia marks the 10th anniversary of its membership in the NATO alliance.

During his visit to the Croatian coastline the Royal Prince, the youngest child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, will take the time, however short to get acquainted with the customs, cultural and artistic ties and other connections between the United Kingdom and Croatia.

edward to visit croatia 2019

This will be the first official visit of Prince Edward to Croatia, but Prince Edward's brother, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, has visited Croatia several times, the last time back in March 2016 when he visited Zagreb with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall as part of the mini Balkan tour. And then in 2008 his sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, spent several days in Croatia. And in 1972 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was in Croatia during which she spent time in Dubrovnik.

At the time of his birth, Prince Edward was third in line of succession to the British throne; he is now tenth. The Earl of Wessex is a full-time working member of the Royal Family. He supports Her Majesty in her official duties – often alongside his wife The Countess of Wessex - as well as undertaking public engagements for a large number of his own charities. His work has a particular focus on the development of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, from which he has taken over many responsibilities from his father.

The rise of online accommodation agencies over recent years has almost completely changed the way that people travel. The days of booking package holidays, that included flights, transfers and accommodation, are a thing of the past and more and more travellers are going their own way and organising everything digitally. Major online booking agencies, such as Airbnb and booking.com, have created a new “peer-to-peer” way for travellers to book accommodation and local hosts to earn a living. And according to recent figures released by Eurostat business is booming, with 19 percent of accommodation now booked using these digital services.

According to 2018 survey results on the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) 19 percent of individuals in the European Union arranged accommodation (room, apartment, house, holiday cottage, etc.) via websites or apps from another private individual for private purposes in the preceding 12 months. Most of the individuals used dedicated websites or apps, but other websites or apps (including those of social networks) have also been used. These peer-to-peer services are part of the so called 'collaborative' or 'sharing economy'.

eurostat online bookings european union

Among the EU Member States, the country with the highest proportion of individuals arranging accommodation online from another private individual in 2018 was Luxembourg (44 percent), followed by Ireland and Malta (both 26 percent). In contrast, the proportion was below 10 percent in seven Member States: Cyprus (3), the Czech Republic (5), Latvia (7), Greece, Romania, Slovenia (all 8).

It would appear from the figures that Croatians still aren’t up to speed with using online services as, at only 12 percent, they come in under the European Union average of 19 percent. However, they aren’t alone as many other Mediterranean countries, such as Portugal and Greece, are under the EU average. So the flip side of the coin the Irish, Brits and Spanish have caught onto the benefits of modern technology and frequently use digital booking agencies.

Employees of the largest supermarket chain in Croatia will have a happy Easter as the CEO has decided to give them all a 700 Kuna Easter bonus as well as a free day on Easter Monday.

All workers in Konzum will get a long Easter weekend as the supermarket giant has decided to close all their stores on Easter Sunday and Monday as well as a bonus.

"I believe that the decision to pay the bonus as well as the free day on Easter Monday is the best indicator of how much we value our employees and their contribution to achieving excellent business results for Konzum. I wish all of my colleagues a happy and pleasant upcoming holidays," said Slavko Ledic, the CEO of Konzum.

So if you were thinking of doing your Easter holiday shopping in Konzum you’ll have to go a day before, on the Saturday.

Easter is traditionally the opening of the tourist season in Dubrovnik, basically because it it is the time of the year that flights from all over the world start landing at Dubrovnik Airport. But this year it would seem that the season has opened a few weeks earlier than usual and already hotels are reporting high levels of occupancy.

The weather, however, isn’t playing ball and helping tourists to get some Spring sunshine. Constant grey, overcast skies and rain for ten days at the beginning of the month have meant that temperatures have been unseasonably fresh. These photos, sent to us by a reader, clearly show that the Adriatic Sea isn’t yet up to a comfortable temperature, today it is around 17 degrees.

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The Banje Beach have, rather optimistically maybe, placed a handful of sunbeds on the beach in the hope that the sun will shine all day, and a few tourists paddled in the Adriatic. The forecast for the next few days, and for the Easter holidays, is for warmer more settled weather with highs expected to reach the low twenties. 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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