The No. 1 Tennis Player in the World Takes a Swing as a Restaurateur
The next time you find yourself in Belgrade or Novi Sad, check out Novak Djokovic’s upscale restaurant, Novak Café & Restaurant. If it has the Djokovic name on it, you know it’s going to be a unique and first-class experience.
From being the World No. 1 ranked tennis player two years running to swinging his tennis racquet on an airplane wing, in flight, to serving up Pule (donkey cheese) in his highly rated Serbian restaurants, Novak Djokovic knows no other way than to serve up the best in his own unique fashion.
A menu seasoned with International cuisine, waterfront locations, tennis games playing on every TV screen, clay courts off the back deck, and clear columns filled with bright yellow tennis balls, renders each of the three Novak Café & Restaurant locations an illustration of class and sophistication.
Let’s get back to Pule; what exactly is it and why did Djokovic buy an entire year’s supply of it – for millions of dollars to boot!?
According to Reuters, this exclusive cheese, made from donkey’s milk, is produced by Zasavica’s donkey farm, one of Serbia’s most famous wildlife and natural reserves, located just west of Belgrade. As a matter of fact, it is the only place in the world where donkeys are milked for the purpose of producing cheese. Zasavica’s farm houses about 130 male and female Balkan donkeys. Since donkey-sized milking machines are yet to be created, the female donkeys are milked by hand, three times a day.
The head of Zasavica’s reserve, Slobodan Simic, stated, “With these animals – aside from the fact that we are saving them from extinction as their numbers are at their lowest possible in these areas – we are making certain products which will help their survival, their breeding, and acceptance by people.”
This crumbly white cheese is often compared to Manchego cheese, yet has a deeper, richer taste, not to mention the highest price tag in the world at over $500 per pound. Hence, the millions Djokovic spilled for a year’s supply of this unique delicacy.
Apparently donkey’s milk touts other amazing properties as well. It also has the reputation of being Cleopatra’s beauty secret, as the Egyptian Queen used to soak in it on a regular basis. You can purchase bottles of donkey milk at the farm and follow in Cleo’s sandals, yet it will cost you about $6,498.50 per bath in today’s economy.
Adding another feather in the Balkan donkey’s cap are the health benefits associated with Pule. Containing anti-allergen properties, only 1% milk fat, and loaded with more vitamin C, when consumed fresh, than cow’s milk, this elite liquid is a very healthy option.
World class on the courts, and now world class in the restaurant business; would you expect anything less from the world’s No. 1 tennis player?