Hib cake is a perfect example of Mediterranean cuisine dating back to the ancient times. Traditionally, it was prepared by peasant women from Vis Island and is a powerful energetic bar, which in modern world marketing can easily be branded as superfood.
The hard working men of Vis Island – farmers and fishermen – could easily restore their strength with just a small slice of this cake.
The Greeks, who came to the Island of Vis in the 4th century B.C. were the first ones to introduce fig and fig leaves into the kitchen, by wrapping up the vegetables, meat and fish to keep these products fresh and preserved for longer periods of time.
The Hib cake is a perfect mixture of figs, aromatic herbs, almonds, homemade brandy, rosemary and fennel. Nowadays, it is made for Christmas when it is served with homemade rakija (brandy and grappa). Since the cake is being kept in rosemary and bay leaves, it gets a special aroma and can be consumed months after it was made.
To spicy up the Hib story, below you will find a historical description of a fig tree.
The fig tree can be seen in some images of the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover their nudity after eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
According to the Greek mythology, Priapus is the God of fertility, vegetables, nature, livestock, fruit, beekeeping, genitals, masculinity and sexual desire. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature. Some of the drawings and pictures show him covered with fig leafs only and one can only guess which parts they covered.
In Greek mythology, Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans) was the God of
the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy. He is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and can also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries. Besides the grapevine and its
wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, both sacred to him, the fig was also his symbol.
Grind 1 kilogram of fresh figs, 5 leaves of bay, leaves from one rosemary sprig, one sprig of fennel and 1 deciliter of homemade (herbal) brandy.
Knead the dough from all grinded ingredients and form the small cakes which should be left to dry in the sun for approximately 10 days. After drying, let them ripen with bay and rosemary leaves to get some additional aroma.
Serve the cake cut in small slices with some homemade rakija (aromatic herbal brandy).
You can also try to make it at home to surprise your family members and guests during Christmas holidays.
If you join us on our guided bike tours (Dalmatian Coast Classic, Challenging Cycle Tour of Croatia, Bike and Sail Tour or Tailor-made Tours) you will have the chance to try this autochthonous and energetic cake. Also, our Summer Island Hopping Self-guided Bike Tour takes you to the island of Vis, so there will be plenty of occasions for Hib tasting. Of course, with some herbal brandy as a special touch to it. It does sounds tasty, doesn’t it?