If you ask Google to find „you know you’re Croatian when…“ lists online you’ll definitely find the art of re-gifting.  

I know it’s not just Croatian thing but there are some important improvements that we have made.

First, it’s considered very rude to visit someone’s house without a gift.  Don’t even think about leaving your place without a small pack of cookies and coffee.  

Also you should pay special attention to paper you’ll use to wrap those presents. It has to be white paper transparent just enough to see what’s inside so family will know how much you appreciate them.

But don’t fell into trap thinking they’ll open your present while you are there.  No way.

3 generations together

Since most Croatian families have at least 3 generations living under same roof, the oldest member will take your gift and lock it in one of the cabinets. Yes, lock it.  The price of real estate is higher every year and many of us are not lucky to have full time job. With that being said, young families cannot afford apartment or house on their own so they are usually stuck with parents and grandparents. We are doing that out of despair, not out of deep love for old houses.

Under lock and key

You can now understand why they put your box of chocolate under lock and key. Many of them remember the times just after WWII when chocolate and candies in general were considered extreme luxury.  So much that one box of chocolate, usually brought by some family member who went to work “temporarily” abroad, could have traveled miles and miles changing owners and sometimes was opened years after expiration date!

Adventures of Chocolate Tile

Sometimes the art of re-gifting caused very funny incidents like one that happened in my family. My mom’s cousin in the middle of 1960’s got chocolate bar as a present. Of course, her grandma locked it in The Cabinet with the rest of treasure.  After few days she found the key, took chocolate and ate it.  But she had a plan how to hide her rebellious act. At the time her parents were renovating the house and part of renovation was new bathroom.  So she took one of bathroom tiles that were not installed yet, put it back in wrapper and problem was solved!

The end of yourney

Of course the Chocolate Tile left her house soon and after a year she was shocked to recognize it as present from visitors! Before she could say a word her mom decided she will open the chocolate….and she found bathroom tile inside the wrapper! She was grounded but as chocolate lover myself I think it was worth it.  In modern day Croatia chocolate and candies are normal things but we still happen to receive present whose expiration date passed long time ago.  But you know what they say- better lose the saddle than the horse!

Tips for shopping 

Now when you know how re-gifting in Croatia works it’s time to learn what to buy. Cookies Domaćica (literally means housewife in Croatian!) are usually first choice. Don’t forget one pack of Franck’s coffee.

If you want something modern then any of Kraš products will do the trick.  Kraš is among the oldest croatian factories of waffles, chocolate and biscuits.  There is Kraš shop on Dubrovnik’s main street where you can buy many of their products including famous Bajadera. And you can buy chocolate and biscuits per piece, there is no need to buy whole box.  That leaves you with plenty of combinations and in your budget.  Now, if you shall excuse me, I’m going to eat some chocolate.

Want to find out more? Have a walk with me on my very special Old Town Tour.

Re-gift like a croat

I know it’s not just Croatian thing but there are some important improvements that we have made.

First, it’s considered very rude to visit someone’s house without a gift.  Don’t even think about leaving your place without a small pack of cookies and coffee.  Also you should pay special attention to paper you’ll use to wrap those presents. It has to be white paper transparent just enough to see what’s inside so family will know how much you appreciate them. But don’t fell into trap thinking they’ll open your present while you are there.  No way.

3 generations together

Since most Croatian families have at least 3 generations living under same roof, the oldest member will take your gift and lock it in one of the cabinets. Yes, lock it.  The price of real estate is higher every year and many of us are not lucky to have full time job. With that being said, young families cannot afford apartment or house on their own so they are usually stuck with parents and grandparents. We are doing that out of despair, not out of deep love for old houses.

Under lock and key

You can now understand why they put your box of chocolate under lock and key. Many of them remember the times just after WWII when chocolate and candies in general were considered extreme luxury.  So much that one box of chocolate, usually brought by some family member who went to work “temporarily” abroad, could have traveled miles and miles changing owners and sometimes was opened years after expiration date!

Adventures of Chocolate Tile

 Sometimes the art of re-gifting caused very funny incidents like one that happened in my family. My mom’s cousin in the middle of 1960’s got chocolate bar as a present. Of course, her grandma locked it in The Cabinet with the rest of treasure.  After few days she found the key, took chocolate and ate it.  But she had a plan how to hide her rebellious act. At the time her parents were renovating the house and part of renovation was new bathroom.  So she took one of bathroom tiles that were not installed yet, put it back in wrapper and problem was solved!

The end of yourney

 

Of course the Chocolate Tile left her house soon and after a year she was shocked to recognize it as present from visitors! Before she could say a word her mom decided she will open the chocolate….and she found bathroom tile inside the wrapper! She was grounded but as chocolate lover myself I think it was worth it.  In modern day Croatia chocolate and candies are normal things but we still happen to receive present whose expiration date passed long time ago.  But you know what they say- better lose the saddle than the horse!

Tips for shopping

Now when you know how re-gifting in Croatia works it’s time to learn what to buy. Cookies Domaćica (literally means housewife in Croatian!) are usually first choice. Don’t forget one pack of Franck’s coffee. If you want something modern then any of Kraš products will do the trick.  Kraš is among the oldest croatian factories of waffles, chocolate and biscuits.  There is Kraš shop on Dubrovnik’s main street where you can buy many of their products including famous Bajadera. And you can buy chocolate and biscuits per piece, there is no need to buy whole box.  That leaves you with plenty of combinations and in your budget.  Now, if you shall excuse me, I’m going to eat some chocolate.

Want to find out more? Have a walk with me on my very special Old Town Tour.

 

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