Immerse Your Palate in the Sea: Experience a Unique Incentive Program with Oyster Farm Visits and Mali Ston Oyster Tastings
Immerse Your Palate in the Sea: Experience a Unique Incentive Program with Oyster Farm Visits and Mali Ston Oyster Tastings
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A true experience of the sea and its bounties is offered in the unique Dubrovnik incentive program, where participants have the opportunity to witness the journey "from the sea to the table" and taste one of the most esteemed delicacies offered by the Adriatic Sea - oysters. Along with exploring the impressive Ston Walls, taking a boat ride to the oyster farms, and enjoying the marine delicacies, this incentive program is an excellent opportunity for an additional social program for any international professional congress, conference, or meeting in Dubrovnik, providing participants with a break from the work part of the program and truly enchanting them.

When it comes to oysters, there is no better place to experience their magnificent flavour than Mali Ston. The Mali Ston Bay is located in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea, between the mainland and the Pelješac Peninsula, and its waters provide the optimal conditions for the growth and cultivation of oysters - the quantity and composition of food, excellent quality of seawater, specific marine currents. Due to the importance of the ecosystem for the cultivation of shellfish, specifically European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) and Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), the Mali Ston Bay is protected as a special nature reserve in the sea. Thanks to these natural characteristics and the application of traditional knowledge and skills in cultivation, acquired since ancient times, Mali Ston oysters are renowned worldwide for their delicate taste. Unlike the meaty and tough characteristics of oysters from other regions, those from Mali Ston are tender and tasty delicacies best enjoyed directly from the shell with a squeeze of lemon and a glass of exquisite local wine.


Boat Ride and Tasting the Queen of Shellfish Straight from the Sea

Many oyster farms in Croatia, especially along the Dalmatian coast, are family-owned, where the "secrets" of the craft have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. In the area of the Mali Ston Bay, there are over 10 such producers of the protected designation of origin Mali Ston oyster. Oysters and oyster dishes are a vital part of Mediterranean cuisine; which participants of the incentive program can also enjoy at local restaurants.

One of them is the Bota Šare oyster farm and restaurant. Located just 45 minutes away from Dubrovnik in Mali Ston, the restaurant is situated in a former salt warehouse built in the 15th century and is like a museum itself. It offers a unique ambiance, and its menu is exclusively focused on local specialties, particularly the well-known Mali Ston oyster. This family-owned marine estate also provides boat excursions to the actual oyster farm, offering the opportunity to taste the queen of shellfish as it should be experienced - straight from the sea! Mali Ston oysters are also special in terms of how they are opened. To clean the oyster, a knife is placed on the thinner side of the shell and moved towards the bottom, then turned and brought back. While it is customary in the world to open oysters from the deeper side of the shell, here it is done from the shallower side. The reason behind this lies in the fact that these oysters are consumed immediately from the sea, which is immediately drained, leaving just enough liquid to keep the oyster fresh and prevent it from drying out. It is important to properly cut the meaty part and serve it on the shallower side of the shell. Otherwise, there may be fragments of the shell that could affect the taste experience and its distinctive flavour. These and other secrets of oyster life, cultivation, and consumption will be revealed by the shellfish farmers who have been living this maritime life for generations.

Oysters are most delicious and flavourful in March when the Feast of St. Joseph is celebrated. During this time, the traditional event "Days of Mali Ston Oysters" takes place, where local cultivators showcase their products on the waterfront in Mali Ston.

After visiting the oyster farm, participants can replenish themselves with a light lunch at one of the Mali Ston restaurants that serve the freshest seafood. In addition to the distinctive Bota Šare restaurant, there is also Vila Koruna, one of the most prominent and long-standing restaurants in the area. Inside Vila Koruna, there is even a plaque from 1936 when this establishment received a gold medal in London for its oysters.


An additional experience of local heritage - Ston Walls and the iconic Ston Saltworks

To enhance the experience of this region, its rich history, and the coexistence with the sea, the incentive program should definitely include a visit to the Ston Walls and one of the oldest saltworks in Europe.

The Ston Walls are one of the largest medieval fortification and urban projects in Europe. Their original length was 7,000 metres, but today they are 5,500 metres in length. They consist of the walls of Ston and Mali Ston, the Great Wall with fortresses such as Veliki Kaštio, Koruna, and Podzvizd, 41 towers, seven bastions, and four walls. They are open for visits, making a walk along this monumental structure, where every stone carries a historical story, an ideal outdoor activity.

In addition to the walls, it is worth visiting the Saltworks in Ston. It is one of the three saltworks in Croatia and one of the oldest active saltworks in Europe. Due to the flow of saltwater, the surface of the saltworks is divided into several groups of pools according to the types of evaporation. The pools date back to the time of the Dubrovnik Republic and consist of seven groups of pools for seawater evaporation and ten pools for crystallization. Since its establishment in the 14th century until today, the saltworks have not changed their appearance and the method of salt production. Preserving the old method of salt harvesting makes Ston Saltworks a special story of Croatian tradition and culture. Sun, sea, wind, and human effort still come together to produce exceptional ecological salt and salt blossoms. The saltworks produces approximately 2,000 tons of salt annually. Salt harvesting in Ston is also a tourist attraction where visitors can participate, and traditional, unique, handmade salt products are available for purchase as souvenirs. This is yet another gem of Croatian heritage and the rich tourist offer of Dubrovnik and its surroundings

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