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.
For the sixth year running Dubrovnik will play host to the traditional “FestiWine” festival this year from the 22nd to the 28th of April. Hosting a wide array of wine producers, wine experts and wine lovers from all over the world FestiWine 2019 will once again organise an impressive line-up.
The Dubrovnik Wine Week, which will start on Tuesday the 22nd of April, will mark the beginning of a rich festival program prepared by the organizers. All through the week the restaurants marked as “Wine Friendly” will offer wines that are excellently paired with delicious specialties of the Dubrovnik region. These Dubrovnik restaurants are easy to spot, if you haven’t already found them on the website of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as they all carry a sticker on their doors marked with the festival’s name and logo.
Traditionally, blind tasting of wines paired best with the native delicacy, oysters from Ston, will also take place during the festival and this event is known as “Blind Date: In Love with Ston Oysters”.
The “Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy” is the serious business of the festival where wines are judged by a panel of internationally renowned judges and enologists chaired by Bojan Kobal, who will select the best wines of the festival.
The gastronomical spectacle “Dubrovnik FestiWine Gala” will present creative dishes by two young well-known chefs: the guest chef Jure Tomič (Debeluh restaurant, Brežice) and the host chef Saša Računica.
As in the previous years, the entire proceeds are intended for scholarships of young and prospective culinary and wine talents. The central event of the festival is the Wine Exhibition, which will be held on the 26th and 27th of April in the Sunset Beach in the Bay of Lapad.
During the exhibition wine producers will have the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the wine business. In addition, guests can take part in lectures and wine tastings, as well as very attractive wine workshops dedicated to the autochthonous varieties of the Croatian south, as well as workshops of visiting festivals.
Mark your calendars for the end of April, for the FestiWine 2019 wine festival in Dubrovnik and for more info check out the festival's website.
The popular Croatian online sales engine “Njuškalo” made a healthy 65 million Kuna of revenue in 2018, up by 16 percent in 2017. The company reported this week that profits and revenue were up in 2018 with profits before tax around 11 million Kuna, or 18 percent more than in 2017.
"In our strategy for up to 2020, we have a target of 100 million in revenue and a profit margin of around 20 percent, with a strong investment in technology development. We are proud of the results so far and a sensational increase in revenue and profits that show that nothing is left to the chance, behind all this is quality work, innovation and a good collective,” commented Sanda Soptija Šiljak, the Chief Executive Officer of Njuškalo.
Emphasizing that the link between financial success and the satisfaction of employees, Soptija Šiljak added that constant education and recognition of employee creativity has led Njuškalo to become the first in the market with trends and innovations and have become one of the largest digital companies in Croatia and a leading 'marketplace' in the wider region.
After the euphoria of the World Cup the Croatian national team have started the campaign for the European Championship 2020 by scraping a 2-1 win over lowly Azerbaijan and then losing away in Hungary 2-1. It seems that the giddy heights of the World Cup in Russia are miles away. And according to the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday Croatia has dropped one placed, from 4th to 5th, with England now climbing above them.
Although Croatia beat England in the semi-finals on the 2018 World Cup the two sides have had very different fortunes after the tournament. Zlatko Dalic’s side firstly suffered heavy defeats in the UEFA Nation’s League and eventually finishing bottom of Group 4 and being relegated.
Latest FIFA rankings
This was followed by a tough start to the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign. On the other hand England finished top of Group 4 in the Nation’s League, qualifying for the finals, and had a flying start to the EURO 2020 with two wins, against Montenegro and the Czech Republic.
And these results mean that England have climbed above Croatia is the latest FIFA rankings. On the top of the list is Belgium, followed by France in second place and Brazil in third.
The next test for Croatia is a match against Wales, who are now ranked in 19th position, in June as part of the EURO 2020 qualifications.
Only 27 percent of European Union residents eat fruit at least twice a day, according to figures released by Eurostat. The healthy eating plan of “five pieces of fruit a day” seems a long way from becoming reality, with 36 percent of EU citizens admitting to eating fruit rarely.
The most fruit loving nation is Italy, where 85 percent of citizens eat fruit every day, followed by the Portuguese with 81 percent. Over 50 percent of Croatians don’t eat fruit every day, which seems rather strange in a country that produces so much fruit throughout the year. Clearly more work in schools needs to be done of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables.
Only 46 percent of Croatians eat fruit every day, which is around the lower reaches of the European average. The worst country in the European Union was Latvia, where only 35 percent of the population eat fruit every day.
Real estate prices in Zagreb have never been higher, and they are continuing to rise. New statistics show that property prices in the Croatian capital have increased by a whopping 26 percent over the past five years.
According to data from one of the most popular online real estate agents the average price of a square metre of property in Zagreb now stands at 2,019 Euros, property prices in Zagreb have never been more expensive and indicators show that prices will continue to rise.
The average price of an apartment in Zagreb is 11 percent more than last year and the average price per metre squared 206 Euros higher. One particular suburb of Zagreb, Trešnjevci, saw prices rise by an incredible 37 percent.
Although real estate prices in the Croatian capital are the fastest rising in Croatia they are still some way behind the most expensive in the country – Dubrovnik. Across the whole of Croatia real estate prices rose by around seven percent last year.
A flower sale will once again be organised this weekend in Dubrovnik with plants and flowers available for sale at promotional prices.
This weekend’s sale will be held on Saturday the 6th of April starting from 7.30 am and continuing 4.00 pm and will be held at the beginning of the promenade in Lapad.
Various local producers and growers will be involved in the flower fair and our advice is to get there early as the sale is always well attended.
Croatia’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Ivo Sanader, has been sentenced to six years in prison today by the Supreme Court for corruption. The hearing today in the court upheld the decision of 2017 to convict Sanader of corruption charges, after he and his legal team had launched appeals.
Sanader, who was the Prime Minster of Croatia from 2003 to 2009, was, following the court’s ruling, picked up by police at his home in Zagreb and escorted to prison to start his six-year sentence. As the police collected him he continued to protest his innocence to the waiting media.
"This is a show trial. I still believe that this is a case of politically motivated persecution. I will continue to fight with all means available to me to prove my innocence. The charges against me make no sense, they are all lies, each and every one of them. I'm ready to face anything, and in the end I will prove my innocence," commented Sanader as he was driven away by police.
Originally Sanader had received a four and a half year sentence for corruption in a case that was nicknamed “Planinska Affair.” This corruption case saw the former Prime Minister help former HDZ MP, Stjepan Fiolic, sell a building in Planinska Street in Zagreb to the Regional Development Ministry in 2009 for a hugely inflated price. Sanader received a €2.3 million kickback for setting up the deal, and it was also revealed in court that Fiolic had falsified the buildings paperwork including the property’s value.
The deal was sealed with another HDZ politician, and in fact former minister, Petar Cobankovic, who in his role at the time as the Regional Development Minister helped purchase the building through his ministry. He pleaded guilty before the trail actually started and received a one-year sentence which was later converted to community service. Fiolic received the same sentence and his was also transferred to community service, and he was also ordered by the court to repay the corrupted funds he received for his part in the deal.
Apart from his six-year sentence Sanader was also ordered to pay back the €2.3 million kickback he received. However, this isn’t the end of Sanader’s woes and he faces two more court appearances on corruption charges.
Many users of the popular Netflix streaming service will soon have to pay more monthly to watch their favourite serials. As the American media is reporting the new monthly tariffs for Netflix will come into force in May even though the company announced them in January.
The new cost should see prices rising by between 1 and 2 dollars a month, meaning that the basic package will in the future cost $9 instead of $8, the standard package that includes 11-bit HD will cost $13 a month whilst the premium package will rise from $14 to $16 a month.
Netflix had already announced a rise in its service prices in January, with an explanation of how additional funds will be invested in new series and movies. Their announcement was also supported by investors, which caused stock prices to rise by six percent in January.
According to their announcements from the beginning of the year, the same price increase will also reach European users, which means that the prices of their services in Croatia could soon be somewhat higher, reports Novac.hr.