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Stella Croatica complex – Dalmatia in one place

Have you heard of the Croatian company, Stella Croatica? If not, it’s time to discover all the natural beauty of the Mediterranean with the help of your senses and heart. Engage yourself in exploring the factory where sweets are handmade, stroll through the picturesque botanical collection, explore the richness of the Mediterranean garden, and visit the olive oil museum, and traditional family estate. Awaken all your senses by tasting different varieties of handmade delicacies and award-winning olive oils in the authentic atmosphere of the concept store. Try a variety of fresh cheeses, cured meats, and olive tapenades, paired with excellent local wines or daily cooked authentic meals in the tavern – all crafted from fresh, organic, and local ingredients!

Stella Croatica
Stella Croatica

Origins of Stella Croatica

Stella Croatica started with a dream of a young couple who inherited an olive grove on the island of Mljet more than 20 years ago. By taking care of those olives and learning to appreciate the olive oil they received as a reward, they slowly began to cherish the traditions of their ancestors. They soon quit their day jobs and began working hard on marketing olive oil as a true gastro souvenir of Croatia, which was during the time when Croatia had none of the gastro souvenirs developed a all.

Since this showed them the potential of such things, they slowly started collecting old recipes from the island and producing other traditional delicacies, the most interesting being the Fig cake, a traditional “Christmas cake” of their grandparents. They learned how to produce sugar-coated orange peels by hand and sugared almonds and began distributing them across the coast.

orange peeling

After some time, they decided the time had finally come to expand, so they moved to Klis, just above the popular city of Split, and used funds from the European Union to build a factory to produce those traditional products on a larger scale. Since Klis has been an important intersection of different cultures throughout history, they were able to dig out other traditional recipes to incorporate into their production. Extremely important was their decision not to allow the machines to suddenly take over production. They rather decided to keep it traditional and slowly started hiring local women who still nowadays hand-produce and hand-pack traditional delicacies.

Successful story

This turned into a real success story. A few years after the first production facility, they decided to once more use the EU funds to build a laboratory for the production of food supplements and natural cosmetics. By living on the island Mljet, they were very aware of the fact their ancestors knew that everything a person needs to help them with different medical problems can be found in nature. They knew which plant could be of help to any particular illness, so they decided to revive that knowledge and turn it into a modern laboratory. The basics of the food supplements are plants, enriched with a special antioxidative formula called “Mediterranean factor”. On top of that, they established the production of natural cosmetics based on lavender, immortelle, olive, rose, etc., and decided to use the natural power of essential oils.

Numerous visitors who wanted to witness these production lines and hear the story about the tradition incorporated in all their products, made them decide to build a traditional family estate, consisting of an ethnographic collection within stone houses, to showcase the way of life of a family in Dalmatia (southern part of Croatia). They followed it by establishing a botanical collection, now almost a 10-year-old project, with more than 500 different species of plants that can be found in Dalmatia.

Never one to stay idle, they took another round of EU funds in 2018 to build the Olive Museum and Concept store, enabling them to showcase everything Dalmatia is all about.

Olive Oil Museum
Olive Oil Museum

Olive Museum

What is Stella Croatica today?

After rounding up the entire story, Stella Croatica started receiving visitors from all over the world and turned into a kind of experience center, presenting Dalmatia’s cultural, natural, and gastro heritage all in one place. One gets to witness the traditional hand-production of local delicacies turned into amazing gastro souvenirs, as the start of a guided tour through the entire place. At the distillery out in the open, an expert guide dives deep into the world of essential oils and traditional herbs and flowers used in natural cosmetics production. All those flowers and many more interesting plants are visible all around the complex, while the QR codes next to their names offer the opportunity to find out fun information about them. The Olive Museum, designed by a renowned French company, was a finalist for the European Museum of the Year Award 2023. It offers unique insights into one of the most important cultures of Dalmatia – the olive tree. Compare the traditional and modern ways of olive oil production or simply browse through numerous interesting information about this sacred tree for the people of Dalmatia.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to taste mouth-watering traditional products and test all the natural cosmetics at the Concept store, which make a perfect souvenir for your loved ones.

A place not to skip during your visits is the traditional family estate, where one can see how a family used to live without the modern equipment we take for granted nowadays and taste the traditional dishes of this area. Please do not expect to find Coca-cola or French fires here. You might try vegetable soup, homemade pasta, or special meat dishes prepared using spices from the garden, along with seasonal vegetables and a glass of local wine.

Whether you stay for a special olive oil tasting program, traditional lunch or simply to sip on an Olive oil cocktail, this surrounding will definitely be imprinted in your memory forever!

If you want to find out more about Stella Croatica, you can visit their website.

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