Thursday, 30 June 2022
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

What is the key to making the perfect pizza? How do you get the crust with that crunch factor and keep the toppings succulent? If you’ve ever tried to make a pizza at home, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The keys are – experience (the more the merrier), high-quality ingredients, a professional oven (extremely important) and probably above all else passion!

So, to find out the secrets to the perfect pizza I visited one of the leading pizzerias in Dubrovnik, actually located inside the historic city walls, Mea Culpa Pizzeria & Trattoria. Now, this eatery has a long tradition of serving the best pizzas in Dubrovnik, clearly success doesn’t come overnight. The feedback from guests, both locals and tourists, is testament to the good food and professional service.

But I went behind the scenes, to the kitchen, to meet the pizza chef, Miljan, to find out just what goes into serving up that delicious pizza. As soon as I entered the kitchen I was greeted by a) a smiling chef and b) and pizza oven that looked like it could have been on the space shuttle. “The rotating base makes sure that the pizzas are evenly cooked,” said Miljan, clearly an expert on this impressive piece of equipment.

“So let’s start at the beginning. You roll the pizza dough in corn flour?” I asked. “Yes, it is a little trick that makes sure that all our pizzas have that crunchy taste,” he smiled. If you’ve ever tried to roll out a pizza dough, then you’ll know just how frustrating it can be. It breaks and tears and after you’ve finished it looks like the shape of an egg. No here. Literally within a minute or so he had crafted the ideal base, just the right size and shape. “That takes a lot of practice,” I added.

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The secret of perfect pizza - Photo Mea Culpa

Then for the toppings, the sauce, the cheese, ham and of course I had ordered a Hawaii pizza (my personal favourite) so pineapple was added. “Do many people order Hawaii?” I asked. “You would be surprised, mostly Americans and British, but more and more people like that sweet and savoury flavour,” smiled the chef.

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Toppings galore - Photo Mea Culpa 

It disappeared into the oven on this huge pizza paddle. It looked like something a giant would use to row a dingy. The glass door helped chef decided when it was just right. And with the giant’s paddle he scooped out the pizza as easy as could be. I would say “don’t try this at home,” but who has this kind of oven at home?

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Looks yummy - Photo Mea Culpa

“Now, for the finishing touches,” he said and on went the herbs and decorations. It was still bubbling and looked absolutely delicious. “Thank you so much, but the proof is in the eating,” is said. It was beautiful. Thank you Mea Culpa and thank you chef!

Contact

Mea Culpa

Za Rokom 3,

Old City Dubrovnik

Telephone: +385 0/20 323 430

meaculpa-pizzeria.com

As many as four health innovation projects from Croatia were among the 20 selected to be funded this year by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology in the health segment for Central, Eastern and Southern Europe (EIT Health RIS), Večernji list wrote on Sunday.

This is the fourth year that the support program has been operating within the EU, and 80 projects have applied. And four promising projects were selected from Croatia, more than from any other Central and Eastern European country.

The EIT Health Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) supports the development of health innovation in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and has launched an initiative that has been assessed as advanced according to the European Innovation Scoreboard. The consortium behind the selected innovations will receive up to €75,000 for product or solution development, mentoring, a boot camp site and access to potential investors and partners through EIT Health, a network of top health innovators.

The concepts MEGI, PsyFlux, StressLyft and Man and Machine Interface were supported from Croatia.

MEGI aims to develop a virtual cardiovascular health assistant that uses artificial intelligence to use personalized protocols to remind patients to take medications and take blood pressure measurements at home.

The PsyFlux consortium is developing a telemetry device to monitor intracranial pressure, which can be used outside of hospitals without the risk of infection, allowing the patient to participate in daily activities.

StressLyft is an educational course on workplace stress and stress relief skills, based on interactive video content that employers can provide to their employees to prevent stress at work.

The Gesture-Based Human-Machine Interface Concept for Guided Orthopaedic Surgery aims to develop new medical devices that help surgeons make millimetre-precision measurements during hip replacement surgeries and possibly other types of surgeries.

“Time is on my side, yes it is,” sung the Rolling Stones, but were they correct, I don’t think so. Time stops for no man.

How good is your time keeping? I can remember someone wise once saying to me “It is better to be one hour early than one minute late.” Well, this week I managed to be 12 hours early.

So it didn’t take me too long to get used to the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle of Croatian coastal living. A few glasses of wine, a nap after lunch and the “manjana” approach to obligations. However, I have to be honest my early experiences of life here two decades ago and today and somewhat different. The speed of life has certainly kicked up a gear or two, afternoon naps are rare and there’s no more putting things of until tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong we are still some way from the pressures and stresses of living in a major city, but the days that time was measured in days rather than hours is behind us.

I used to joke that people in Dubrovnik didn’t have a watch to keep time but a calendar. Largely that joke doesn’t work anymore. Manjana has been replaced by “can you finish this by the end of the day.”

It was inevitable. Progress and development are time consuming. And as the whole country transitioned this process started changing our lifestyles and eating into our time.

And I have noticed that more and more people have less tolerance for tardiness. It used to be that you could almost guarantee that whoever you were waiting for would be at least 15 minutes late, or the “school hour” as they would joke. And then they would say “why didn’t you sit and have a coffee whilst you were waiting for me,” as if it was normal for them to be late. Again that is mostly a thing of the past.

At first it would annoy me that they were late, because being punctual is a sign of respect, but I simply got used to it.

Time marches on, it is the master of all and a slave to none.

So, how did I end up half a day early for a meeting? Believe it or not it was a situation of “lost in translation.” So, this well-known Croatian scientist and former minister contacted me to present a conference he was organising in the city. As my written Croatian is terrible we were chatting in messages in English. “I will arrive in the hotel at 10:15” he said – “OK, I’ll come at 11:00,” I answered.

So I arrived at the hotel at 10.45, it was then that a colleague phoned me. “Are you sure that you didn’t get the day wrong?” she asked as I explained who I was meeting. “No, today for sure. But why do you ask?” I replied. “I watched him give an interview this morning on Good Morning Croatia,” came the reply. That set alarm bells ringing. How could he have been on the TV this morning and arrived in Dubrovnik so fast. Had I got the day wrong?

I opened our online conversation to double check. The classic mistake. Unlike the rest of Europe, the UK doesn’t use the 24-hour clock, we add either am or pm to notify which part of the day we’re talking about. And that was when I noticed the “pm” after the 10:15. Yes, I was 12 hours early for our meeting.

Time is a strange thing. Sometimes we think that we don’t have enough and others we simply let it go to waste. It’s the one thing that is equal to all of us. When we all wake up in the morning we all have the same amount of time in that day ahead of us. Even Elon Musk can’t buy an extra hour.

The Beatles sung “Money can’t buy you love,” but they could have exchanged the last word in that title for love to time. What, however, isn’t equal is how we use the time ahead of us in that day, that week or in that month.

So use your time wisely. Or as the great Einstein said ““Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.”

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to

 

In the last 24 hours, 437 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 3,849.

Among them, 216 people are in hospital, of which 6 are on respirators. Two people died in the past 24 hours.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 1,145,490 people have been infected, of which 16,050 have died, a total of 1,125,591 have recovered, of which 184 recovered in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 1,940 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 4,929,863 people have been tested, of which 1,974 were tested in the last 24 hours.

 

If you thought it was already warm in Dubrovnik then you’d better stock up on the sun cream as it’s about to get even warmer. The temperatures across Dubrovnik look set to rise next week with a heat wave expected.

Dubrovnik has been bathing in temperatures in the high twenties for a few weeks already, but from next week the whole region should see the mercury rise to the low to mid-thirties. The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service has announced a yellow warning for next week with “Temperatures to exceed 32 degrees.” Tuesday and Friday are predicted to the warmest days next week and people are advised to drink plenty of water.

And night time temperatures won’t offer much respite from the heat as temperatures won’t drop much below 24 degrees at night.

Luckily the Adriatic is on hand to cool off. However, with sea temperatures currently around 25 degrees you won’t be able to completely cool down.

The decision of the American Supreme Court to invalidate the constitutional right to abortion, as expected, provoked a number of reactions in Croatia as well, reports Novi List.

Among them was the radical pro-life activist Vice John Batarelo, who announced that Croatia will one day ban abortion. Along the way, he published a picture of the judges who made this decision, calling them "giants", as well as a photo of Donald Trump, whom he called a "face".

“A great victory for unborn life in the United States. Roe vs Wade was finally overturned! Federal U.S. law can no longer force federal states to have mandatory abortions in their legislation. It is expected that at least half of the U.S. states will either completely ban abortions or impose severe restrictions. And one day we in Croatia will create a law that will protect the unborn life and ban killing," Batarelo announced.

Among those who responded was the SDP MP Mirela Ahmetovic.

"We will fight with all means to get these frustrated fundamentalists away from our wombs and for the right to be free,” stated Ahmetović.

Ana Horvat Vuković from the Department of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb posted an explanation on her Facebook profile why abortion cannot be banned in Croatia.

Encouraged by some statements in which the decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn the judgment of Roe vs. Wade from 1973, which guaranteed the right to abortion, and which paves the way for numerous bans, and announcements that we could see the same thing in Croatia, Ana Horvat Vukovic pointed out that there is no room for panic and that abortion cannot be banned in Croatia.

 

Former Leeds FC striker, Mark Viduka, is currently on a visit to Dubrovnik and he was spotted enjoying an ice-cream in the popular ice-cream parlour, Gelateria Dubrovnik.

Viduka, also played for the Australian national team, and captained the team to the Round of 16 at the 2006 FIFA World Cup which remains their best ever performance to date. And apart from Leeds he also played for Celtic, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. During his time at Leeds United he scored 59 goals in 130 matches.

The football ace is a regular guest to Dubrovnik.

Moody's announced that it could raise Croatia's credit rating to the investment category following the EU's recommendation to join the eurozone.

Croatia's current rating of 'Ba1' signals to investors that the agency considers the purchase of Croatian government bonds a speculative investment.

Moody’s announced on Friday that it would raise it by two levels, to ‘Baa2’, in the investment category.

The rating will be raised after an analysis that should allow the agency to assess whether the process of formalizing Croatia's membership in EU law will be completed in mid-July, as currently expected, according to a statement issued Friday.

Moody’s signalled a rating rise after the EU’s Financial and Monetary Policy Council recommended Croatia’s entry into the eurozone on June 17 early next year, and EU leaders adopted the recommendation at a summit on June 23rd and 24th.

 

The adoption of the euro would have significant positive implications for Croatia's credit profile, and would primarily reduce the share of public debt denominated in foreign currency from 70 percent to zero, Moody's points out.

"This, in turn, would significantly improve our assessment of government fiscal strength, a key factor in the assessment, as it would eliminate the risk of increased debt as a share of GDP in the event of a depreciation of the currency, and would significantly reduce borrowing risks," the agency added.

Although the Croatian economy is already largely integrated into the eurozone economy, and the Kuna exchange rate is pegged to the euro, joining the eurozone would bring additional benefits of reduced transaction costs and elimination of remaining foreign exchange risks in transactions with the eurozone.

This is likely to further boost economic integration and foreign direct investment in Croatia and support long-term growth potential.

The adoption of the euro will also reduce foreign exchange risks for the banking sector and have a positive impact on Moody’s assessment of government liquidity and vulnerability to external risks.

Moody’s also positively evaluates Croatian institutions, reminding that Croatia spent only two years in the ‘waiting room for the euro’.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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