From Hvar we took a bumpy ferry ride to Korcula. It was only one of two times when the waters were rough–the other was from Korcula to Mljet. We arrived in Korcula just before sunset. Our hotel, the Lesic Dimitri Palace was a short walk from the ferry along the water. Korcula was another beautiful town fortified by a stone wall with red tiled roof buildings. There is definitely a pattern in the look of these old Croatian towns.
At check-in there were two other couples ahead of us. When it was our turn, we were told the concierge had overbooked our room and it was no longer available. Huh? Since we had paid for the room in full when we booked they would put us in a house a few streets away. Um, okay, sure. After they collect our passport information we proceed to the house. I had no idea what to expect. We arrived at a stone house that was 4 stories. I was overwhelmed and excited. For one night we would have an entire house, facing the water, all to ourselves. I couldn’t believe it. Because they were so embarassed about overbooking our room, in addition to the house they would also pay for our dinner at the hotel restaurant that night. Okay!
The front door of the house opened into the kitchen. Walking up the spiral stone stairs led to the master bedroom with a bathroom on the second floor. Next was the living room with a small, what looked like working fireplace. The fourth floor had another bedroom and bathroom and finally there was a door to a small terrace on the roof. It was great.
The windows of the main bedroom looked out onto the promenade and Adriatic. Conveniently located near one window was an armchair so you could sit and watch people stop to take pictures of the house. We took pictures of the house too but it was fun to watch others do it.
After our survey of the house we walked back to the hotel for dinner. They had an outdoor seating area like most of the restaurants along the water. The matire d’ comes over to greet us and informs us that since the hotel screwed up our room reservation will be treated to the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings. It was a definite treat. I like the element of surprise that comes with tasting menus. Most of the time they have a printed tasting menu so you know what to expect but once you get caught up in conversation it’s hard to remember.
The first course featured two different carapaccios: one was a fresh fish and the other was a smoked tuna which the maitre d’ called ham of the sea or sea ham. Excellent! There was also a small seafood salad with octopus. Next we had a grilled sea bream with zucchini puree. With these courses we had good white wine from Lumbarda, a region on Korcula known for its wine.
A family of four was sitting next to us and they received two largish martini glasses with a dark, purple-black layer in the bottom and a white, creamy looking layer on top. The waiter proceeded to tell a story about the creation of night by Erebus which related directly to the concoction in the glass. Eventually we received our own serving of night and day. With a spoon you could take as much “night,” the dark stuff, or “day,” white stuff as you desired and eat it. Day was a truffled potato puree (watch out Joel Robuchon) and night was sepia cooked in ink. In theory the two don’t seem to go together but believe me they were fantastic. Each component on its own was great but mixed together it was fantastic.
Our last savory course were three little ground lamb torpedoes with grilled zucchini, eggplant and red pepper. A Croatian red wine accompanied the last courses, but from where? I can’t remember. Ugh. It was super drinkable though.
Dessert was perfect as it was too sweet or rich–a slice of chocolate orange tort with a glass of white dessert wine. Overall it was an incredible meal. It reminded me of our truffled filled lunch in Vrh since both were above expectations.
The next day was our chance to explore Korcula but one needs fuel for walking and absorbing so we stopped by the hotel for breakfast (breakfast was included in our room rate). I had the best omelette with fresh cheese inside. The maitre d’ happened to see us and insisted we try a croissant with their homemade jam and some goat milk yogurt. We couldn’t refuse. The yogurt was drinkable and delicious. The croissant was amazing, so light and airy. Were we in Croatia or Paris? We devoured the jams-sour cherry and a fig and something combo. Now we were ready to explore and work off all the calories.
Looking at the map of Korcula in the Lonely Planet guide, it resembled, and was described as, the skeleton of a fish. There was a main avenue in the center and two outer avenues that circled the town. Several parallel streets ran across town. Standing on the main avenue you could look down the side streets and see the Adriatic–lovely. It didn’t take too long to walk through town and see the major buildings. The Cathedral of St. Mark (started in 1301) sits approximately in the center of town and has an interesting interior. The exterior was covered in scaffolding so unfortunately we couldn’t marvel at that.
We could have seen the alleged birthplace of Marco Polo but decided not to since he was allegedly born in Venice too. We meandered around town, wishing we could stay another night but we had a ferry to Mljet to catch later that day so went back to our house to write postcards and soak it all up.