Here is some basic introduction into the origin of Kvarner scampi (or langoustine) first. Scientific analysis has shown Kvarner scampi which can be found around the Island of Krk originate in Norway. The Kvarner langoustine has a pale orange colour, a thin crust and it is different to the Dalmatian one which is almost white. The imported scampis from Norway you can find in grocery stores on the Island of Krk are red and hence, the redish colour of the Kvarner scampi. Also, scampis found in Kvarner are caught at a depth of 40-60 meters below the sea level as a contrast to pale scampis caught elsewhere at 100 metres and more, below the sea level.
Did you know that in the same Adriatic sea, the langoustines cannot be found along the Italian but can along the Croatian coast? The reason why is the sand on the bottom of the Italian sea. What does that have to do with anything you ask? Well, so it happens that scampi live in tunnels, and you don’t need an architect to tell you it is very difficult to construct tunnels in sand. That’s why Croatian scampi are rare and expensive!
How are Scampi Caught?
The season of catching scampis ranges from roughly 1st April to 1st October. Even during this time, the catch is rarely abundant. That’s why not every restaurant can serve you Kvarner scampi during the peak season on the Island of Krk. The math simply doesn’t add up.
Scampi are caught with a trawling net or a fish trap. Small scampis can escape the fish traps while the fishing boats with trawl nets catch scampi in all sizes.
Difference Between a Shrimp and a Langoustine
Shrimps as a contrast to scampis can pretty much grow anywhere and can be caught any time of the year. That’s why they are generally not as appreciated as scampi. However, real gourmets will admit that freshly caught schrimps can at times compete even with the taste of scampis. Shrimps are easily recognisable because of their size, tougher texture and a soft shield which is much easier to remove than the scampi one. Since they are easily accessible, they are very wide spread in restaurants and taverns on the Island of Krk. That’s why- be careful what you order! There is a high probability you will be served shrimps when in fact ordering „scampi risotto“.
Where to Eat Scampi on the Island of Krk?
Well, have you tried them raw? Take the unique opportunity Island of Krk offers and participate in a fishing excursion with dinner aboard where you will definitely get a chance to try them raw! Silky, see- through, freshly caught scampi from the sea! Ironically, they taste sweet! Fishing excursion is a place where you definitely won’t have to worry about the authenticity of scampi as they will be caught and prepared before your eyes minutes before the dinner. Just add a bit of salt and triestina sauce (garlic and parsley in olive oil sauce most often served with fish on the island) and voila’! Your dinner is ready and you get to have it underneath a starry sky.
In taverns on the island of Krk, choose scampi in a tomato and wine sauce (also known as ‘Buzzara sauce’) or on grill. There is always the scampi with šurlice option, too! Whichever option you end up choosing, do not eat scampi with a knife and a fork. It is considered a crime on the Island. Joke aside, blend in with the locals and eat the scampi with your hands!