The Jelsa wine festival continued on day 2 with some traditional fun and games.
First up, a donkey race. Until very recently, donkeys did a lot of the heavy lifting around here. Every family would have one, and you can tell that many of the old routes through the hills are suitable only for people walking, or donkeys. Nowadays you don’t see many of them at all, so I was intrigued to find out how many contestants this race would actually have. The answer turned out to be quite a few! As we didn’t manage to see the start, I’m going to guess around 8-10 donkeys, including a couple of beautiful little foals.
The leaders arrived round the corner at a brisk canter, ridden by some young lads, who did well to stay on. The rest of the field followed at a slower pace, ushered along by the race coordinators.
They didn’t seem particularly bothered about getting to the finish! The winner received his award, and the adulation of the press.
Hanging high above the crowd, and out over the water, was the leg of ham. I had expected a greasy pole to climb, but clearly the organizers were not brought up on BBC programmes such as It’s a Knockout! Instead, they’d tied a strong rope, which dangled down to water level. As nothing appeared to be happening, we wandered off to get some food.
As we found on the other side of the small harbour, the tug-of-war competition was just starting up. The rope ran from beside the town hall across the water, with a red flag hanging in the centre. On the farside, a team from the district of Dugopolje were warming up. These were some seriously big guys, and looked like they meant business!
Meanwhile, on the other side, there was a lot of discussion going on to get everything set up Some spectators on a nearby boat got involved, or maybe that was the umpire, who knows?
In that first matchup, the Dugopolje team won, no surprise, really! Next up on our side were the Jelsa Firefighters.
It seemed there would be another long discussion and setup, so we wandered over to get something to eat.
The standard of food at the event was really excellent. Several stalls were grilling fresh seafood, and there were large bubbling pots full of delicacies such as hunters stew (with wild boar), seafood risotto, and gnocchi with prawns. I went for a piece of grilled tuna and some of the gnocchi with prawns – very tasty! Meanwhile the Jelsa Firefighters won their bout, hooray!
Back at the Hvar Winemakers section, we filled in some of the gaps from last night’s tasting and chatted with other visitors. Plenković winery was also there, so we got to try their Pošip, which I rather liked. Duboković offerings had expanded for the second evening, and wonderfully, now included Medvid, his top-of-the-range Plavac, and one of my favourite wines from Hvar. Did I mention that I love big reds? There was also a chance to try Don Petar, his red dessert wine, which to my mind is close to a port. The Prvi Poljubac is sweeter, more of a dessert wine than a traditional prošek.
We left a little early, and so missed seeing the fireworks display. Apparently quite a show, oh well. See Foto For’s picture on facebook
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