The Secret of Korcula Town in Peak Season Heat: The Eternal Breeze

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August 19, 2018 – The August heat can be trying for tourists, especially those with young families. Meet one destination which has its natural air conditioning fully under control. 

it is almost a year since I accepted an invitation for my first seductive lunch at Michelin-recommended Lesic Dimitri in Korcula Town. Apart from the chance to find out what all the culinary fuss was about, I was keen to meet the legendary British owner of Lesic, Michael Unsworth, a man who can be credited with being a leading force in moving the Korcula gourmet scene upmarket at a time when other destinations are happy to compromise on quality for the quick buck. 

It was, as was to be expected, a magnificent lunch, and I quickly learned why Lesic was number one. Our luncheon conversation was of equal quality to the meal, and it was a nice meeting of minds with a British Hvarophile trading eulogies of his adopted island home with his Korculan counterpart.

And then Michael said something which stopped me in my thoughts, something that gave me the impression he had run out of impressive things to say about his beloved Korcula:

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“And here in Korcula, it is also a little cooler than other places in Dalmatia, for we have this constant breeze.”

I will confess that there was a gentle breeze as he mentioned this additional Korculan plus, but with so many other things to say about Korcula, did he really expect me to be impressed by the occasional breeze?

It was something that came back to my mind a couple of days ago over lunch at Lesic, another splendid affair (and it was a true pleasure to meet one of the sons of the legendary Sir Fitzroy Maclean, who has a holiday house in the old town), for I noticed something about that excellent lunch, company and views – there was a lovely gentle breeze which made the hot summer day very much more bearable. 

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We are fortunate to live high up above Jelsa on Hvar, where there is a constant natural breeze throughout the summer. Indeed, it is very rare that we turn on the air conditioning at all, and quite often we sleep out on the terrace, a summer delight. As such, I am quite accustomed to the natural breeze, but the story is very different downtown at The Office on the main square in Jelsa, where the midday cold ones often need to be consumed in ferocious heat. 

But Korcula Town is at sea level and so by rights should have the same heat as Jelsa.  

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A little research, and it seems that there is actually something behind Michael’s assertion about the breeze. It is perhaps best explained by young Iva in her excellent piece on the Maestral wind, which you can read here. Due to reasons Iva explains in her article, there is a soothing daily Maestral blowing daily from shortly after midday until early evening, which takes the bite out of the afternoon summer heat, providing some natural air conditioning in the process.  

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Indeed, the gentle breeze is extremely child-friendly, and this young dining companion was no trouble at all, especially as he got his emerging teeth into the Lesic Caveman Kids Menu. 

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Fine wine, fine food, fine company and views from the table like this one. All accompanied by that gentle breeze. No wonder Korcula’s reputation as a quality gourmet destination is on the rise. 

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That breeze, that breeze. Walking around at sunset, I realised that it was most certainly true. These hotter Dalmatian summers don’t agree as much with fat pink Englishmen these days, and the thought of having to do anything more energetic than popping down for a midday cold one fills me with dread. But in Korcula I moved with ease, a lot cooler than elsewhere this summer, and with rewarding views such as these. 

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