June 13

Dear João,

Thanks for your kind email and for the interest in Brazil’s adversaries typical food and drinks. I found this idea beautiful and moving. Yesterday evening I read a series of articles on football in general and on the World Cup in particular in National Geographic, of all places. It is also moving stuff and if you did not come across it already here is the link: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0606/feature1/#croatia.

Brazil article is available on: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0606/feature1/#brazil. I find both articles of highest quality and hope our game will reflect this striving for perfection which we all so admire in Brazilian football. Croatia does not feel particularly lucky to have to open against the most formidable football team in the world, but we do hope to mount some exciting moves.

Regarding the food and drinks, I guess it should be food and wine, actually. Croatia has two thousand five hundred years old wine culture, stemming from ancient Greek times and we have the vineyards planted on the same locations uninterruptedly. I doubt you will be able to find Croatian wines in normal distribution in Sao Paolo, but you might find some  Croatian wines in the specialized shops, most likely some from the tiny Croatian community in Sao Paolo. In Buenos Aires it is would be easier because it has much bigger Croatian immigration, but I doubt you will have time to go there for shopping before the match. Some Italian wines from Adriatic see are similar to the Dalmatian reds, and if you find a Primitivo di Manduria, it is actually a variety originating from Croatia so it would do fine. Any strong southern European red will substitute ultimately. Croatia is a small country, slightly bigger than Denmark, but it has strong climatic difference so our wines are very different form each other, depending on the region where they have been grown. We have a lot of crisp whites in the continental part of the country. There is a page describing some of the Croatian enogastronomic habits at the Croatian Tourist Board website (www.croatia.hr), specifically at: http://www.croatia.hr/English/O_Hrvatskoj/Gastronomija.aspx. If you go for wine, you might also go for the seafood, as our coast produces some of the finest in the World. Should you ever have a chance to visit Croatia you will probably have a chance to sample it and note the delicate tastes of the sea food which sometimes seems more intense then the ocean fish and shellfish. Again, like good Europeans, our food varies much depending on the region, and again, in the small geographical space we have big differences. One of my favorites is a lamb roasted on spit. It can be accompanied by white wine if it is a young and tender animal, or a red wine if it is more mature. However, I don’t want to distract you and your friends from the game. We also drink a lot of beer and strong distillates, such as brandies (plum and grape most often, again, depending on the region) so you can cheer at the end of the game.

It would be glorious to win against Brazil, and we will try, but we do not hope too much. Myself and my (Argentinean) wife Marina wish you a great game! Please do not hesitate to get back to me with additional queries as it would be my pleasure to assist. My hobby is food and wine much more then football itself. I own a cellar and collect wine, so it would be my true pleasure to host you in Zagreb, test the wines from different regions and toast to the winner of June 13. It might be Brazilian Chandon as well.

Best regards, Mladen

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