BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Small places often emit their own charm, whether it's the rich history, culture, unique cuisine, beautiful landscape or heartwarming people that inhabit them. Being in the shadow of big towns and metropolitan areas, these features can sometimes be overlooked with bigger towns taking all the spotlight. But that small place charm is exactly what triggers the nostalgic and joyous feeling in most of us. Well organized festivals and events are the golden ticket of putting little, often overlooked places on the map. They offer a wide array of benefits, but most importantly they emphasize the value of community and togetherness.
A true world traveler, explorer and an experience connoisseur, Anthony Bourdain once said "I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.". In the era of great global advances on all fronts we so often forget that the very essence of every tradition, culture, dance, every grandma’s recipe came from a small place not even on the map “in the middle of nowhere” and that that essence is still kept in small pockets of small places throughout the world. Small towns are the backbone of communities, the protectors of tradition, gastronomy and everything that’s worth something and stood the test of time.
FOOD, FOOD, FOOD …
Food is a necessity as is also an essence of life, it is often romanticized, praised and as one famous chef put it you don’t need a silver spoon to eat good food (Paul Prudhomme) – and he was absolutely right. In history more often than not these small villages relied on scarcely limited resources but with love, sweat and tears had endless creativity when it came to putting the food on the table. From generation to generation mothers and grandmothers made miracles with nothing but scraps of food. And those marvels of godly deliciousness stood the test of time perfectly and are admired by all.
Best recipes topping every gastronomy list, most foodie recommendations, and even every chefs’ inspiration draws its roots back to endless creativity of generations of mothers and grandma’s little kitchen secrets.
THE STRUDEL EFFECT
And there our story begins, in 2015., in a small village of Jaškovo which is located near a small town of Ozalj which is pretty close to a bit bigger, but still a small town of Karlovac, a group of enthusiasts got together opened a handwritten book of grandmas recipes, and chose to make the world's longest strudel, earning them a Guinness world record! After that they did the most logical thing, decided to throw a strudel event every year, and they were correct!
From that year on Jaškovo is hosting an annual event called ŠtrudlaFest, a small festival that is dedicated to the celebration of a traditional pastry known and loved as strudel, for which we are overjoyed to lend a helping hand. The festival is well organized and attracts an impressive amount of people. But what does it actually do for the area, or even the community?
Small festivals are often regarded as the beating heart of small communities. They provide an amazing advertisement and attract lots of people. Just casually visiting a festival can often lead to a discovery of your new favorite place to vacation. Spontaneous visits are often the most joyous ones, because people don't know what to expect. In Jaškovo's case, they are usually blown away by the beautiful scenery surrounding it.
Festivals such as this strudel celebrating bonanza provide towns/villages with a way to brand themselves through the festival. The locations of the festival often become famous because of the festival. What better example than a small town of Woodstock which became famous for hosting, oh I don't know, Woodstock?! A famous festival can boost towns reputation through the roof.
Perhaps the most important aspect of small festivals is the social aspect. Inhabitants of these small places share a sense of pride and joy regarding their little chunk of the world and rejoice in sharing their traditions and their plates. Having a well-organized famous festival makes that pride exponentially greater. It gives them a sense of purpose and community by encouraging them to work together and share their culture with other visitors. In Jaškovo's case, the sense of community is more amplified with beautiful nature surrounding it.
Sometimes escaping the busy big city day to day life and getting charmed by a small place “in the middle of nowhere” is no easy task but Jaškovo, the village of strudel, as it is known by now has made it a bit easier. So why not let yourself be charmed and get your taste buds ready for enjoying the delicious Guinness world record strudel or countless combinations of deliciousness which will take you back to childhood being grandmas little helper standing on the stool near the kitchen countertop sneaking a bite.