Dette er fremsnakk av en superdyktig dame som har bosatt seg i Norge og begynt import av kvalitetsvarer fra blant annet sitt hjemland Kroatia. Kall det reklame eller hva du vil. Jeg velger å kalle det fremsnakk fordi jeg heier på dyktige folk som er opptatt av kvalitet.
Katarina Poljak driver nettbutikken MARQT.NO der hun selger varer fra blant annet Kroatia og de fleste produktene som hun selger er laget av kvinnelige produsenter. Katarina forklarer at de fleste produktene hun selger (de spiselige, vel og merke) passer perfekt til norske matvarer selv om hennes produkter er fra Middelhavsregionen. Og hun har så rett. Jeg har prøvd flere av hennes herlige produkter og det er som hun sier. De passer også sammen med norske ingredienser.
Jeg har prøvd disse produktene:
Brachia premium olive oil Oljeflasken er ikke bare lekker å se på, innholdet er flytende gull. God til lettere retter som salat og fisk.
Selekcija Belic OLEA BB Lekker, prisbelønnet olje fra Istria i dekorativ flaske. Bruk noen dråper for å gi retten en siste finish.
Frantoio Vergal Heftig olje som ikke passer i salaten, men den perfekte olje å ha på et stykke stekt/grillet kjøtt eller annen mat med «trøkk».
Fleur de sel Synes du Maldon-salt er godt? Da er det på tide å ta steget opp et par hakk. Fleur de sel er den ultimate luksus og gir matretten det lille ekstra.
Smoked salt Bare lukten er nok til å friste. Litt kvernet, røkt salt på egg gjør helgefrokosten til et festmåltid.
Organic fig jam Beste fikensyltetøyet tilgjengelig. Konsentrert av frukt, men med deilig syrlighet som ikke gjør dette syltetøyet til en søt og klissete opplevelse. Perfekt til ost eller på et stykke godt brød
Chocolate olivettes Altså. Oliven, som ikke er oliven, men mandel og sjokolade. Så søte i en skål på bordet. Enda bedre å spise.
Fig cake «Sunnere» godteri. Skjær den i tynne skiver og server den som snacks når du trenger litt energi på ettermiddagen.
Sugar coated almonds Brente mandler på ny måte. Jeg klarer ikke å gå forbi posen uten å unne meg en… og så en til.
Vegeterranean notebook Den søteste gaven for den som er matglad. Notatbok med flotte tegninger og oppskrifter.
Jeg har tatt en prat med Katarina. Fordi Katarina snakker engelsk velger jeg å publisere intervjuet på engelsk også. Det føles mest naturlig.
How come you ended up in Norway?
– Love, of course! I believe people that are passionate about good food are also sometimes endlessly romantic like myself. It happens that I fell in love with Pontus, Swede living in Norway. We met through a sailing trip in Croatia. Since then I have been living between Oslo, Croatia and elsewhere around the world for the past three years. Due to my work (and pleasure) I travel a lot, well back in the days at least I did. I officially moved full time to beautiful Norway this summer.
In the jungle of quality products available in Norway, why did you decide to start importing products from Croatia to Norway?
– Besides Croatian products, we also import Italian products, and even some South African items that we believe are aligned with our business.
I have worked in the hospitality industry for the past 15 years. So this idea was poking me for quite some time, but it happened that I started to realize it in Norway. At home we cook a lot, both my partner and I are interested in food and nutrition. Feeling nostalgic for authentic Mediterranean products in Oslo, I slowly started my market research, and here I am.
– I believe that it is so important to know what you eat and where your products come from. I love buying from small producers – people that put their passion, hard work and love into something. It is genuine. It is real. My late grandparents were making their olive oil, so I think a seed was planted right there with them.
I agree Norway has lots of quality products, but I felt a lack of Mediterranean products coming directly from small producers. I lived in Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires for a more extended period, so I always do cross-comparison. I’m not fond of re-labelling. I think even bottle choice and design is part of a producer’s identity. Some of our producers produce little as 1,500 litres of olive oil per year. Pure love and passion bottled. Both my partner and I saw a great opportunity and potential to connect people in Norway with the Mediterranean boutique producers that we believe complement greatly with local Norwegian products.
I’m very proud to say that we personally vetted all products available at MARQT.NO. So at our shop, you will find many high-quality products, most of them award-winning, that are as delicious and healthy as possible for both individuals and the planet.
What is your background when it comes to knowing so much about the different products and qualities?
– I believe that my family lifestyle and background (mostly from my mother’s side) evoked my interest in food. My grandfather was a fisherman, and my family always had a big vegetable garden where I even had my garden with a garden. I have four more siblings, and I was a farmer one! As a kid, my favourite sandwich was salty anchovies that I learned how to preserve from scratch with my grandfather – a slice of bread and olive oil. Happy days!
I studied Economics, and later I did a Hotel school in the Netherlands. So I guess I know how to choose a good product at the right price. 😉 After I finished my MBA, I started a travel company Bom Dia that focuses very much on experiences. A significant part of those experiences is food experience! At MARQT.NO besides shopping tasty products, you can plan such experiences boat hopping from olive grove to olive grove, olive picking, truffle hunting, picnic under the olive tree or even make your jam!
For the past 15 years, I have been working in the luxury hospitality industry all around the world. I worked on superyachts. My job role was similar to a hotel manager role, just on a yacht. In total, I spent nine summers cruising along the Mediterranean, so I consider myself lucky to have tasted lots of good food along the way. I had the pleasure to visit nearly 100 countries and taste many different products. Part of my job was concierge – checking restaurants, bars, wineries etc. I worked closely with private chefs and provisioned diverse ingredients in different countries, always choosing only the best. My experience taught me the price is not a measure of what is best, but it helps to have these unlimited budgets to be able to taste different things and find the best. When visiting a country, I found it equally important to taste authentic food as go sightseeing. That was the most fun part of my job, and to some countries, I came back only because of its food. I also enjoyed working with great chefs as I learned a lot about food, products selection and food preparation. Every new chef I worked with would bring something new. To be a great chef, you have to be passionate about food, and I found their passion contagious.
Why are the products of Croatia «the best in the world»?
– I wouldn’t say Croatian products are the best in the world. I don’t think there is a single country in the world that has that. I would say Croatia is such an untapped market with many high-quality tasty products.
Croatia is a relatively small Mediterranean country – 10 times smaller than France, nine times smaller than Spain, and six than Italy. Meaning, there is no mass food production, instead, land is owned by many exceptional small producers (mostly family-run) producing limited quantities. Since Croatia entered the EU, I’m happy to see how these producers stepped up and invested a lot of hard work, thought and money to modernise their farms and design.
– My thoughts on why I think it would be an excellent idea to opt for Croatian olive oil when choosing what to buy. The reason why olive oil is consumed and appreciated all around the world is that besides its taste, it’s one of the world’s healthiest foods, proven to help reduce and prevent many diseases as it contains polyphenols. You might have heard about it before. Polyphenols are why olive oil is healthy. They are micronutrients packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. The EU prescribed minimum proportions of polyphenols to be 250 mg/kg. As much as 97% of Croatian olive oils have an average share of 655 mg/kg. Spain has 95% of the olive oils to meet that requirement, with their average significantly lower (521 mg/kg), Greeks about 70%, Cypriot 60%, and Italian at 55%. You can read more about it here.
For those olive oil geeks out there, it is worth mentioning that Croatia’s region Istria where most of our olives come from, was voted the best olive grove region in the world for the fifth consecutive year by Flos Olei – the authority in the olive oil industry.
Most of our partner producers are the best in the world in what they do. Recognized by regularly winning medals at prestigious international competitions such as The NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, held each spring in New York, the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil contest.
For Norwegians that don’t know your products, how would you describe the selection you have on your website/shop?
– At our shop, you will find carefully selected Mediterranean products from small and exclusive award-winning producers. All products you can trace back to their producers, and even visit them, when time permits. If you appreciate real food and small producers, you are in the right place. An interesting fact is that most of our partners are businesses led by incredible women.
MARQT.NO biggest focus is on olive oil. The reason why the Mediterranean diet is considered the world’s healthiest one is largely because of daily olive oil usage. We believe everyone should have a bottle of good quality olive oil in their Nordic kitchen, use it more!
Many of our products are coming from organic production. At our shop you can find delicious jams and marmalades with typical Mediterranean flavours, honeys, seasoning, herbs, BIO coarse salt, fleur de sel, truffles products, raw cookies, healthy energy bars and other sweet and savoury delicacies.
We do believe Italians make THE BEST pasta in the world. Thus you will be able to find from this autumn organic pasta Monograno Felicetti from the Dolomites, exceptional pasta used by Michelin chefs such as Carlo Cracco and many others.
You also have other items besides food in your webstore, right?
– Our carefulness in selecting our producers whose ambassadors we want to be led us to offer also different unique handmade homeware items and accessories. Products that fit the universe of MARQT.NO, and most importantly make someone’s home a little bit cosier.
We also offer a natural cosmetic product line permeated with the rich aromas of the Mediterranean plants and fruit that convey the spirit of the Mediterranean.
Lastly, we want to help people reduce their stress and frustration of finding the perfect gift. Thus we have a good selection of unique, customized and handmade products, which can also be made personal.
A lot of Norwegians love to go to Croatia on holiday. Do you think some of them have come across some of these products while visiting the country?
– Absolutely! Especially if they visited Istria and Dalmatia. They would surely remember that olive oil taste and bring a few bottles back home with them. Just like Rod Stewart did this summer, no surprise he also fell in love with our Brachia ceramic bottles that he bought three to take home with him!
– At summertime (before Corona) Croatia usually is so well connected with Norway that you could almost commute daily Oslo – Split (three daily flights). Hopefully, next summer will be the same case! We are already preparing exciting experiential journeys to visit our producers for the following year. So stay tuned!
Flere av bildene er fra Marqt.no