Croatian post issued four Gastronomy stamps showing traditional dishes of sea food, Spider Crab, Oyster, Octopus and Gilthead sea bream.
Spider Crab (Lat. Maja squinado) in the group of arthropods, in a huge family of crabs, the spider crab (in Croatia also called grancigula from Italian granseola) has a special place. Protected by a very hard, rough shield of spiny surface, it leaves an impression of a shielded medieval knight always ready for fighting. The spider crab is of a heart-like shape and on each side there are seven longer spines, while on the shield there is scattered tiny hair. It has got four pairs of dotty, red, long legs and in front also pincers. It can grow up to 25 cm in diameter and the biggest specimen weight up to 1.5 kg.
Oyster (Lat. Ostrea edulis) When an expert with a knowing grip and just one precisely measured hand movement opens an oyster from Ston, lays it on a bed of smashed ice and then in a couple of minutes fills the whole tray decorated with lemon with these raw sea delicacies in stone shell, everything is ready for a gastronomic ritual unique on world scale. This is because the Ostrea edulis, a rarity sort of oyster from Stone, that in its silky texture appears nude in front of the excited consumer, is extinct in other areas and survives only in Morocco and in the Bay of Mali Ston, Croatia. The talk is here about a world gastronomic phenomenon of unique taste – an oyster achieving its full size and richness of taste in the time of winter-to-spring transition period. Because of its biodynamic characteristics the Bay of Mali Ston has been declared a zone A or sea with the highest level of cleanliness and the oyster from Mali Ston is by its quality unmatched with its ocean kin.
Octopus (Lat. Octopus vulgaris) Octopus has passed a long way from a national, almost poor-people’s food to the high-quality delicacy dish offered in many restaurants alongside with white fish and other sea delicacies, approaching them also in price. This mollusc with eight tentacles with round suckers that the Dalmatian people call “botuni” (buttons) owes its way into high society to its always smaller catch but also to many inventive recipes for its preparation and to its always more appreciated taste in combination with other tastes. Somewhat bigger octopuses, regularly those that weight more than 1 kg should be made softer according to ancient custom by battering it 99 times against rock or with meat beater. It is also recommended to put it for several days into fridge so that its generally tough structure would soften, which is very convenient for the restaurant owner who thus can always have it in frozen condition independent of the daily offer in the market or conditions at sea.
Gilthead sea bream is among the most appreciated Adriatic white fish. In local dialect it is also called different other names: komar?a, lovrata and podlanica. Bigger gilthead sea breams have strong jaws and sharp front predator‘s teeth while the second row of teeth consists of „crusher“ teeth (molars) apt for most though morsels. During recent years gilthead sea bream has been causing a lot of damage in the bay of Mali Ston, devastating oysters: the leader of the shawl crushes shells threaded on a string and the rest of the shawl collects the remains and feeds on meat of oysters and mussels. Gilthead sea bream grows up to the weight of 10 kg and like other „fish of stone“ that mostly dwell in deeper sea, counts among the best fish titbits and reaches high price in markets.
Title: Croatian Gastronomy stamps
Date of Issue: 2 July 2012
Denominations: 4,6 kn