If you are planning a trip to the Balkans, sampling Croatian traditional food is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the food culture in Croatia. Although perhaps not as famous as other European countries such as Italy, France and Spain, Croatian cuisine is a hidden gem well worth seeking out and sampling.
In this article, we’re going to explore the Food culture in Croatia, along with curating a set of vocabulary that might be useful while sampling the delicacies of this incredible country.
Food Culture In Croatia
Croatian cuisine varies from region to region. On the mainland, Croatian food is heavily influenced by Slavic culture and Turkish and Hungarian dishes. At the same time, in the coastal regions, you can observe influences from Greek and Roman tradition and the cuisine of the Mediterranean.
Because Croatian cuisine is so varied and diversified, it has been called “the cuisine of regions”.
- Mediterranean Cuisine – Mediteranska kuhinja
- Domestic Food – Domaća hrana
- Fish/Seafood – Riba/Morska hrana
- Healthy Food – Zdrava hrana
- Fast Food – Brza hrana
Here is a selection of the dishes you can expect to find in the different regions:
1. Krpice sa zeljem
Traditionally linked with the north of the country, krpice sa zeljem is a pasta dish. The krpice or flekice pasta is combined with onions, cabbage and black pepper. The dish is often spiced up with sausage bits and bacon.
This can be both a sweet and savory dish pastry dish. The most popular štrukli recipe is filled with sour cream, cottage cheese and eggs. Traditionally served in the Zagorje region, some recipes are thought to date back centuries.
Sauerkraut cabbage rolls filled with minced pork meat, veal or beef. These meat dishes are a very popular comfort food in the north.
4. Zagrebački odrezak
This veal schnitzel stuffed with cheese and ham is particularly popular in Zagreb.
Dalmatia And The Islands
1. Paški sir
A tangy, salty, savory cheese made on the island of Pag. A famous sheep’s milk cheese, Pag cheese is made from milk provided by the island’s indigenous sheep population.
2. Viška pogača
This is a baked bread pie made on the island of Vis. This traditional dish is made from onions, olive oil and anchovies, or a similar salty fish. Tomatoes may be added to the recipe in local restaurants on some parts of the island.
A traditional Dalmatian dish made from swiss Chard, onions, and parsley. This cheese pie is made from simple pastry. A sweet version of this traditional Croatian food can be found consisting of caramel, dried fruits, and nuts.
4. šporki makaruli
Also known as dirty macaroni, this traditional Croatian cuisine is most commonly found in Dubrovnik. In the past, having selected all the choicest bits of meat for themselves, the aristocracy in Dubrovnik would mix the remaining meat with macaroni and give it to their servants. These meat dishes are commonly served on the feast day of the City’s patron saint, St. Blaise, and other feast days, such as Christmas eve.
A Croatian shrimp recipe flavored with tomatoes, red wine, olive oil, and garlic. This spicy fish stew can be found along the Dalmatian coast, this simple Croatian traditional food dish is influenced by neighboring Italian cuisine.
6. Crni rižot
A must-try for any seafood lover, this example of traditional Croatian food is a cuttlefish risotto, given its black color by mixing the ingredients with cuttlefish ink. cuttlefish ink is similar to the more commonly used squid ink. Tomato sauce and spices may also be added to the recipe. This delicious Croatian food dish is served along the Croatian coast.
Like minestrone soup from Italy, maneštra is a hearty soup commonly made from smoked pork and corn.
A diamond-shaped pasta sheet is folded, pinched, and stuck together to create this Croatian food. The quill-shaped homemade pasta is usually covered with chicken goulash and red veal sauce, although other stews and sauces can also be used, such as a simple tomato sauce with Mediterranean herbs, Croatian prosciutto or mushrooms. Truffles from the region may also be added to this famous Croatian food for that expensive flavor. Delicious with a glass of Croatian red wine.
1. Riblji paprikaš
A fish stew with a liquid chili sauce, this simple dish is commonly paired with pasta noodles.
A minced meat pork sausage is given a bit of a kick by the addition of paprika. Kulen is traditionally made in the autumn, smoked, and left to cure until the following summer.
Now that we have looked at a few examples of traditional Croatian foods and Croatian dishes, it’s time to sample some delicious Croatian wine.
The hot summers and cold winters in the eastern Croatian region are ideal for producing white wine varieties. Graševina is the most commonly grown grape and produces a light, aromatic, crisp refreshing white wine.
The rolling hills create the ideal slopes for grapes to get the sun and breezes they need during the growing season. The white wine the area is famous for typically has high acidity and intense aromas.
A mild climate and iron oxide-rich soil make Istria and Kvarner perfect for producing bold, dry red wines and dry, fruity white wines.
No traditional Croatian meal would be complete without a delicious dessert. Here are just a few of the many desserts to be found in Croatian cuisine.
1. Stonska Torta
A filling dessert made from penne pasta. The cake is filled with chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, ground walnuts, and ground almonds.
This famous Croatian dish is sure to tickle the taste buds. A layered chocolate slice made with a chocolate butter glaze is the perfect end to any meal.
3. Bijela pita
An easy-to-make dessert popular all over Croatia, especially at birthdays and weddings. Bijela pita is a vanilla-filled layered cake sprinkled with powdered sugar.
It is also always useful to have some basic knowledge of some food-related vocabulary to aid in your quest to try every Estonian food out there.
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