Visit London Blog » croatia Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Croatia in London: D’Issa at Borough Market Thu, 29 Mar 2012 09:30:55 +0000

Maxine Clayman is a travel writer and editor of the blog My Hidden Gems. In the next in our World In London series she meets Croatian born Ana-Maria Volaric who explains why it’s her mission to bring a taste of Croatia to London.

“Last year my husband Chris and I decided to set up D’Issa, a company selling exclusively Croatian produce.

“I’ve lived in London now for 24 years and I’m married to a North Londoner. I’m originally from Zagreb and I still feel incredibly connected to my roots. I wanted to draw on my knowledge and passion for Croatian culture and introduce Londoners and visitors to the capital to Croatian food.

“Currently we’re the only Croatian retailer in the UK. We have a stall in Borough Market and we also sell to Fortnum & Mason and a couple of specialist delis in London. Our merchandise is quite high end, which may surprise a lot of people, as Croatia isn’t a country that’s necessarily associated with quality cuisine.

“There are only around 2,000 Croats living in London so our food is still relatively new to people. My aim is to educate Londoners about one of the best-kept gastronomic secrets Europe has to offer. For instance, it might come as a surprise to discover that some of the finest truffles in the world can be found in Istria, Croatia.

“Our fig products are proving incredibly popular with Londoners. Smokvenjak is a traditional Croatian fig cake made from dried figs, almonds, lemon juice, raisins, rosemary and sage. It’s packed with natural energy, so it’s good for athletes, and you can use it as a base for canapés, with cheese or ham.

“Pumpkin seed oil is another unique item that we stock. It’s got a wonderfully nutty flavour and is great for roasting and marinating meats. But my top tip is to drizzle it over vanilla ice-cream. Delicious.”

Visit D’Issa at Borough Market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the Jubilee Market area.

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Museum of Broken Relationships in London Fri, 19 Aug 2011 10:30:08 +0000 Paper cutting Teddy Sculpture Stupid Frisbee Chalk message Tiger Paper cutting Piano Chalk message

At the end of a relationship, both parties are left with a certain amount of emotional and physical baggage, and it’s often difficult to know what to do with the latter. The Museum of Broken Relationships aims to relieve the heartbroken of that dilemma, by allowing the public to donate their souvenirs of lost love and “overcome emotional collapse through creation”.

The award-winning Museum of Broken Relationships has travelled all over the world, and also has a permanent home in Zagreb, Croatia. The travelling exhibition has now arrived in London. For a nosy person like me, the opportunity to get a glimpse into other people’s relationships was too good to miss, so I went along last night.

The exhibition takes place in two venues in Seven Dials. Most of the objects on display aren’t particularly interesting themselves – we’ve all seen SIM cards, cuddly toys and shoes before – but the stories that accompany them and the reason for their significance are.

The objects become a metaphor for the whole relationship – a piano given as an extravagant gift during a short and passionate affair, a second-hand frisbee given as a birthday present by a less-than-enthusiastic boyfriend, and a bike used on long rides to get away from a deteriorating relationship.

I liked the layout of the exhibition. The first venue, at the Tristan Bates Theatre used low lighting, music and paper cuttings interspersed with the objects to create a poignant atmosphere. You could even leave your own messages and feelings about the exhibition on a blackboard outside. The second venue, in Earlham Street, was harshly lit and I thought this matched the exhibits, which seemed to have more bitter stories attached to them.

Some people might find the subject matter depressing, but I left feeling quite uplifted. Some of the relationships had ended well, some badly, some people were clearly still very affected by what had happened. But all of them had taken a positive step to put the past behind them and you could almost feel their sigh of relief at finally getting rid of something that had been bothering them for a long time.

The Museum of Broken Relationships, until 4 September 2011, Tristan Bates Theatre, entry £3.50

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