At the time when grapes and quinces ripened, the ladies of Dubrovnik prepared sweet delicacies, which were kept in cupboards and served on Saint Nicolas Day, Saint Lucy’s Day, at Christmas and New Year, until the Festival of St Blaise. They included kontonjata (quince cheese) and red and brown mantala (must cheese) served with a glass of rose petal liqueur (rozolin), dried figgs offered with a glass of brandy, and the fragrant and luscious home-made arancini, the candied sour and sweet orange peel.
When preparing arancini - whose aroma will remind you of your stay in Dubrovnik, the UNESCO heritage site - try to obtain chemical-free oranges, preferably the Dubrovnik sour oranges which adorn our renaissance gardens. Choose nice oranges with thick zest.
Wash them and drain (save juice and drink it during the day 'cause it will be bitter).
Clean drained orange and use just a thick zest (without pulp).
Slice them into strips (5-8 mm thick, 5 cm long).
Chopped orange zest put in a ceramic bowl and fill with enough water to cover them.
Keep them in water for 6 days and every day for three times (in the morning, afternoon and in the evening), change water.
Be sure to keep them at room temperature.
After 6 days soaking, boil the zest in 500 ml cold water for 15-20 minutes to soften.
Drain the orange zest, and save the water.
Exactly 250 ml of the cooked water use and add in it 500 g of granulated sugar to make a syrup.
Make a sugar syrup, add orange zest and cook for 20 minutes.
Place orange zest to drain and immediately roll in granulated sugar.
Leave them to dry for 20 minutes.