Souvenirs of Croatia: Original Products of Cres Island

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by Sonja Babić,

Presenting original island products from Cres.

Are you sick and tired of magnets, cups and similar ‘original’ souvenirs made in China? We give you authentic and locally-made island products, great as souvenirs and gifts. By buying these products, not only do you promote the local economy but also, in turn, you get a unique piece of Croatian culture and history, handmade by local artisans and craftsmen. Today, we present you the authentic Croatian products from the island of Cres, Croatia’s largest island (along with Krk) located in the Kvarner Gulf, known as a peaceful idyllic island which even a very rare bird species – the griffon vultures chose to call home.

Soap with sea salt

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It is said that the sense of smell, out of all other senses, most vividly evokes and triggers memories and emotions, which is why the following product is a great way to conjure up those lovely days of your holiday vacation in Croatia. The soap made from sea salt and olive oil by the Kuljanić Family is a great scented souvenir that will evoke the olfactory impressions of the Adriatic Sea. The sea salt is also very practical as it is convenient for peeling (perfect after summer when the bronze tan you’ve worked so hard to get starts to shed).

Wooden Souvenirs

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Cutting boards, trays, unique prosciutto holders and other everyday objects made from different types of wood found on the Cres island (such as olive, oak, maple, cherry, chestnut, ash, almond, elm etc) are another truly original souvenir you could bring home from your island hopping travels. These extraordinary island products are the result of the superior workmanship of the Filozići Association, who are focused on cultivating island tradition of making everyday autochtonous souvenirs by combining the traditional and the contemporary. Who wouldn’t want this oddly-shaped wooden piece of art adorning their kitchen wall?

Wool Products

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The island of Cres has a rich flora and fauna, and as we have already mentioned is one of the habitats of rare bird species of Eurasian Griffon. Another recognisable member of the animal kingdom that resides on the island is sheep. Lots and lots of them. There is even a museum dedicated to these fluffy-looking animals – the Sheep Breeding Museum and a Wool Festival (read more here). The Islanders are proud of their time-honoured tradition of sheep shearing and wool treating. So, It’s no wonder that products made of wool are considered an original island souvenir.

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With the aim of preserving the island tradition, the Ruta Association makes objects from traditional island material – felted wool, products such as slippers, hats, vests, pillows, shoe insoles, bags and toys.

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The project ‘The Secret of Masmalići” has been raising awareness of the importance of environmental protection and preservation of local traditions to children and young people since 2005, by organising creative workshops.There is a popular island legend about a baby dwarf named Masmalić living in Tramuntana forest on the northern part of Cres island, who captivates children’s imaginations and conveys an important message about the importance of nature and the protection of the environment. As a part of this project, the children and youngsters made and designed caps, dolls, brooches and tapestries using wool felting techniques. There is even a children’s book that illustrates the legend of Masmalić, also made by Rota Association.

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Photos: otočniproizvod.hr

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