Dinner fit for a prince
On a small island off the Dalmatian coast, a gourmet feast includes tales of royal guests.
"One of the prince's friends – a big, fat man – bet the prince and princess that he could squeeze through the toilet window – the little one, there, that looks out into the courtyard.
"Well, you can see, it's a small window and he really was a big man. But he tried and he made it in the end. I can't remember what the bet was – I think it was just for sport. That was a fun night."
Tatiana is talking ten to the dozen, even as she whirls around the kitchen of her 300-year-old home in the heart of Trogir's historic city center, orchestrating an incredible four-course gourmet feast.
We are Tatiana's only guests tonight: My wife, my mother, my 18-month-old daughter, and I have the large, solid oak table in her expansive living room all to ourselves. But, over the years, the select crowds who have come to taste our host's legendary cooking have not always been so modest.
Like the time she is telling us about now, when the Prince and Princess of Monaco showed up unannounced to Tatiana's daughter's birthday party, bringing with them a chest full of designer gifts and a posse of high-spirited friends and hangers-on.
Tatiana had met the royal couple on Trogir's beautiful wharf where they had docked their yacht and, in an off-the-cuff remark, had invited them to her daughter's party. She never expected them to take her seriously.
Like the royal couple, we have also come to be in this beautiful living room, on a stifling evening in late July, purely by chance.
Frustrated by the poor offerings of the host of cookie-cutter restaurants in this beautiful tourist city on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, I happened to ask the owner of our small guesthouse where I might find the best local culinary offerings.