A culinary tour of Dubrovnik, Croatia’s, hinterland

 clockwise from top left: Alan Copson/GETTY IMAGES; Thomas Breathnach for the boston globe; Jane Tuckerman

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DUBROVNIK, Croatia — Not long before Mateo Vicelic was born, the winemakers of Croatia’s Peljesac peninsula were still doing things the hard way. Valiant farmers would steer their donkeys, with their burden of grapes, up the treacherous peaks of Dingac village and deliver their harvest to the towns in the valley below. When the tiny community voted to dig their own tunnel through the precipice in 1973, locals finally opened their doors to the world beyond — and the occasional tourist.

I had met Vicelic, a boutique vintner, by that very tunnel while on a culinary tour of Dubrovnik’s hinterland. “I figured you’d have trouble finding us beyond here,” he joked, emerging from his pick-up to greet me. With his homeland beyond the hills not even chartered on my maps, he had a point.

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