Isn’t the best part about any vacation forgetting your diet and enjoying the local cuisine? And Croatian cuisine is totally worth the calories!
Imagine plate upon plate of premium meats, artisan cheeses, fresh seafood, and plenty of other incredibly mouth-watering delights… And we haven’t even mentioned the dessert!
Take a look at some favorite finds on Captivating Croatia’s culinary trail:
Croatia’s coast comes with stunning scenery—and sublime seafood.
If seafood is your thing, you can’t miss out on the choice catches on Croatia’s coast! Ever had black risotto before? Known as crni rizot, this dish uses squid or cuttlefish ink as a part of the sauce for the arborio rice. Squid, cuttlefish, or octopus is served atop the risotto, completing the entree.
Adriatic Tuna is another amazing fish dish you must try while in Croatia. But you better hurry—the local tuna is greatly sought after for its high quality.
If you want to eat as the locals do, try brudet, a fisherman’s stew using the catch of the day in a tomato-based soup.
And you can never go wrong with gridele, or grilled fish. With just some simple seasonings and olive oil, the fish is grilled over grape vines or olive wood, adding to the flavor.
Try a Croatian meat and cheese board featuring paski-sir.
Who doesn’t love a good meat and cheese board? And with lots of local meats and cheeses to choose from, you’ll get a good taste of Croatia while you’re at it.
The island of Pag is known for its long coastline (one of the longest of the Croatian islands) and artisan cheese, paski sir. The cheese is made from sheep’s milk, after the sheep have been munching on the salty island grass. It’s that salty flavor that makes paski sir so intriguing. And no one knows paski sir better than Gligora, the oldest and most famous maker of the Pag cheese!
To add some charcuterie to your cheese, look no further than kulen, a pork sausage found in the Slavonian region. This traditional cured meat is smoked for several weeks at low temperatures in a smoking room, so it’s no surprise it’s the most prized Croatian sausage on the market!
When in Dalmatia, sample some prsut, or Croatian prosciutto, with your cheese. The salty, thinly sliced meat has no additives—just sea salt and smoked dried pork! The drying process is key—Krk actually has protected ham thanks to the dry bura winds blowing across the island!
Indulge with decadent truffles—at a fraction of the cost!
Did you know the largest truffle in the world was found in Croatia? Yes, like Italy, Croatia has truffles—but unlike their Italian counterparts, Croatian truffles have a stronger aroma and are a fraction of the cost.
Croatian truffles can be found in the Motovun forests on the Istrian Peninsula. In fact, truffle hunting is an old pastime, and one that you can take part in during your stay!
Truffles are often used as a garnish for pasta dishes, like fuzi. Fuzi is a traditional pasta made in diamond shapes with parmigiano cheese and a red sauce. Top your plate with a little bit of truffle shavings, and you’re in heaven!
No dish is complete without olive oil, aka liquid gold.
Pretty much any meal you have in Croatia will incorporate olive oil in some capacity. Yes, even certain desserts use olive oil! In fact, Croatia has won the best olive oil in the world for the last three years—have a taste, and you’ll understand why.
Olive oil isn’t new to Croatia. Pag actually has some of the world’s oldest olive trees. Dalmatian olive oil was considered better than France and Italy’s versions. And since the Croatian people have been making olive oil for centuries, it’s no wonder they’ve gotten the process down to a science.
Many other countries influence Croatian cuisine, Turkey included.
Croatia is surrounded by many countries who have left their mark on the culinary scene. Turkey is one of them.
Back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, sarma was introduced to the region now known as Croatia. This Turkish dish uses grape, cabbage, or chard leaves to roll up minced meat. The sealed sarma is then simmered in a sauce, made of various vegetables and, of course, olive oil, until the leaves are soft and the meat is cooked.
Cevapcici is another Turkish delight the Ottomans left behind. Sausages are made using a mix of lamb and beef and often served with onions, sour cream, and pita bread. They can be served as an entree or eaten as a snack.
And if you’re still not tired of meat, check out burek, a meat-filled flaky pastry rolled into a spiral. Honestly, who doesn’t love a good pastry filled with flavorful meats?
You can’t miss out on peka—or it’s unique cooking method!
You’ve never seen anything like the ispod cripnje, or bell-like dome, peka is cooked under. Peka is an assortment of vegetables and meats or seafood drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and seasonings, and then cooked under a dome-shaped lid, covered with coals.
The concoction of meats and veggies bake in the heat for hours, soaking in all of the flavors from the local herbs. Trust us, this dish is well worth the wait!
Give in to your sweet tooth and dive into dessert!
What vacation is complete without a little dessert? And Croatia’s sweet delights do not disappoint!
If you like doughnuts, fritule is the dessert for you. Dough made of everything from egg yolk, raisins, lemon zest, and more is fried to perfection, then topped with powdered sugar. They’ll melt in your mouth!
Arancini makes a great souvenir. These candied orange peels will survive your flight home—that is if you can manage not to eat all of them on your trip!
Finally, kremsnita’s custard texture makes for a deliciously decadent dessert. Originally of Austro-Hungarian origins, kremsnita has a custard-cream filling, topped with a puff pastry layer, and covered with powdered sugar. Consider pairing the pastry-pudding dessert with an after-dinner coffee.
Eat up in Croatia…
Ready to hit Croatia’s culinary trail? Let Captivating Croatia take you there! We find the ultimate culinary experiences—while avoiding the tourist stops. Get in touch and start planning your trip today!