Central Istria Gourmet Getaway Recap

Central Istria 2023 participants

Central Istria, a region renowned for its medieval charm and rural allure, recently played host to the Gourmet Getaway Workation & Workshops Program from November 3 to December 3, 2023.

Saltwater devised and co-delivered the project, which sought to solidify Central Istria’s position as an ideal destination for remote workers seeking a unique blend of serene Croatian countryside and curated professional experiences. Stemming from insights gained during the 2022 Central Istria Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DN-I-R) program, the 2023 edition aimed to implement key recommendations, including promoting the benefits of the destination as a place for focus and foodies.


The primary goals of the program were to establish Central Istria as a leading rural lifestyle destination for remote workers in or coming to Croatia and to position the region as a hub for those seeking focus and foodies. The strategy involved delivering a lived experience through a curated program, community engagement, capacity-building workshops, and one-on-one mentoring sessions. The program also aimed to raise awareness about the plethora of local gastronomic offerings operating in the off-season.


Central Istria’s provincial appeal, affordability, and proximity to major European cities presented a unique opportunity to attract remote workers looking for a distraction-free environment with access to local producers.

Program Overview:

The Gourmet Getaway Workation & Workshops Program selected seven winners and several invited guests, forming a diverse group with backgrounds ranging from digital nomad projects to gastronomy. Notable guests included Croatian restaurateurs, as well as experts in digital nomad projects, regeneration, travel writing, and meditation coaching.

The winners included:

Danielle Farage – Gen Z Futurist, educator, and community builder, working on her book during the getaway. She aims to communicate through ‘Danielleisms’ and ‘Friendtorships’ to enhance conscious thinking and relationship building.

Yuval Ackerman – Resident pasta-obsessive and storyteller, will share her journey discovering local cuisine in Istria through posts and emails, using her unique analogies to dive into deeper topics.

Lizzy Komen – Amsterdam-based food photographer and recipe developer, working on her first cookbook with food photography and videos. She aims to capture mouthwatering images and share her culinary passion.

Paul Bradbury – Runs the Total Croatia News, will create a series of 4 videos to showcase Croatia’s lesser-known destinations and festivals, sharing the beauty and lifestyle of Central Istria.

Shaun Busuttil – Seasoned digital nomad and writer, will compose an academic journal on the “commodification of community” in the digital nomad space, contributing to the discourse on digital nomadism.

Nilesh Pandey – Tech founder and entrepreneur, will explore the culture, food, and friendships in Central Istria while working on his latest project, bringing innovation to the region.

Ali Greene – Remote Work Leader, Advocate, and Speaker, is on a mission to empower people and companies to thrive through flexible work. She’ll continue her work remotely while enjoying the Istrian environment.

Thank you to all who applied!

The coliving also hosted special guests. Among them mentors Kaisu and Nicki, previous digital nomads-in-residence Kelsey Kay Love and Pete Rimkus, Rebecca Minestra, Anja Kandrac, Steve Tsentserensky and Jose Alfonso Cussianovich. The community manager Rosanna Lopes and Tanja Polegubic were also coliving members.

The program, a competition offering a free one-month stay and mentoring workshops, aimed to work on personal and professional projects for the selected winners. Winners were chosen based on their proposed projects and plans to promote the region. The judging panel comprised the tourist board, digital nomad experts, and local representatives.

Key Events:

Gourmet Masterclasses: The program included weekend visits to local producers, offering masterclasses in honey, rakija, wine, olive oil, prosciutto, and traditional cookies.


  1. Designing an Off-Season Co-living Program for Digital Nomads in Central Istria led by Yvonne Wagoun and Jemma Reid.
  2. The ethnographer’s lens: observation skills for a deeper travel experience with Dr Kaisu Koskela.
  3. Meditation
  4. Ethical email marketing
  5. DNA Croatia workshop.

Mentoring: Mentors worked one-on-one with participants, offering a 1-hour session and follow-ups. Mentors included Anja Mutic, Jenn Rice, Ginny Krauss, Yvonne Wagoun, Dr Kaisu Koskela and Nicki Frandsen.


The Gourmet Getaway Workation & Workshops Program blended professional development with the rich cultural and gastronomic offerings of Central Istria. By bringing together remote workers, local businesses, and mentors, the program not only promoted the region as a top destination for remote work but also contributed to community-building and awareness. This initiative showcased the potential of rural off-season programs, paving the way for future offerings in this picturesque Croatian region.

Learn more and stay tuned for future on the Central Istria Live and Work initiative website.