Its charm attracts many people, as do its wealth of activities and its carefully designed gourmet events. In addition to its fine cuisine, Novigrad boasts historical landmarks, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. I fell in love with Novigrad at first sight, and I’m always happy to visit.
Novigrad’s Gnam Gnam Festival is a well-known gourmet event celebrating Novigrad’s specialties, offering its guests a chance to get to know Novigrad and the whole of its culinary scene. Then there is Sardelafest (Sardine Festival), Šparugafest (Asparagus Festival), Novigrad Scallop Evening, Sea on a Plate, Mushroom Days, Sole Days… Every season brings its own seasonal ingredients, which visitors can taste and enjoy. The Novigrad-Cittanova Tourist Board is the official organiser of Gnam Gnam Fest.
The selection is quite fairly priced and easily accessible to all, which I particularly liked. For as little as 20 or so kuna, you can sample an authentic delicacy from Novigrad. The portions are sample sized, and during the week or weekend events, the local restaurant gourmet event partners offer various traditional meals using the promoted ingredient – whether asparagus, mussels, sardines or something else – at attractive prices. The events are held in the centre of Novigrad in Mandrač harbour. There are well-designed long tables right along the water where food is prepared and plated by local chefs, fresh, warm and ready for tasting.
In addition to delicious food, I was especially impressed at the fact that everything was prepared and served tastefully and with the love you would expect from an authentic coastal town.The decorations were carefully designed, and the high tables used for tasting food and wines were also quite lovely. Alongside the delicious food, excellent local wines were also there for the sampling, and there was live music to relax and dance to. Homemade Istrian products and handicrafts were also available for sale. With the combination of the sea, good food and wine, and a great atmosphere, the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy Novigrad.
Novigrad Scallop Evening is held in June, right when they are in season. The wide selection and various meals prepared with scallops are affordable for every budget. Spiced with wine, music and sea breeze, these delicious scallops invite you to enjoy them with all your senses. The distinctive fan shape and exceptional flavour of scallops are well-known worldwide. One of the parts of the Adriatic where they are most plentiful surrounds Novigrad, where the mixture of seawater and fresh river water gives them a special flavour.
The good-humoured Istrian folk, known for their skill in preparing seafood, did an excellent job at it this time as well. Grilled scallops, scallop brodetto, mussels, pljukanci pasta, pâté, octopus and scallop salad were some of the meals on offer, and the one I enjoyed the most was grilled scallops with a dash of local olive oil and a light, refreshing salad. I was also surprised by the pâté, which was decorated with black olives. It was unusual and delicious, and paired wonderfully with the local wines. Fritters were served for dessert, and there was great music to dance to. The atmosphere was excellent, and I’m looking forward to the next gathering in Novigrad by the sea with local food and wine.