All connoisseurs of culinary delights sooner or later meet in Croatia. This is due to the centuries-old traditions of local residents, and the cultural and historical characteristics of various regions, thanks to which each of them offers the tourist today its own Croatian cuisine and, finally, the skill of the local chefs. They say that the Italians themselves bow before the famous pizza of Croatia, however, as well as before the Croatian wines and before the national dishes. By the way, in restaurants specializing in the preparation of the latter, they have been prepared for several centuries, keeping the recipes in the strictest confidence.
Any of the regions in the Balkans is characterized by its culinary traditions and Croatia is no exception. Croatian cuisine was born in ancient times. Moreover, the eating habits of the mainland were different from those observed in the coastal. As a result, the conventional division of Croatian cuisine into two parts today. We are talking about the central part, which unites Zagreb and Slavonia, and the Adriatic coast, which includes Istria, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik. The development of the first was influenced by early Slavic contacts and later ones, with the nearest neighboring cuisines, which turned out to be Turkish, Austrian, Arab and Hungarian. Their main features – an abundance of lamb, beef, poultry, vegetables and fruits, spices, black pepper, garlic and paprika – have survived to this day.
In turn, the coastal regions were influenced by Roman, Greek, and later Italian and French cuisines. The results of this influence are still noticeable and are found in the widespread use of fish and seafood, olive oil, orange and lemon peels, herbs and spices such as oregano, marjoram, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Also in Croatia, dishes from other countries of the former Yugoslavia are incredibly popular.
- Regional differences. Modern Croatian cuisine is the cuisine of regions such as Istria, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Slavonia, Lika, Podravina, Medimurska, Croatian Zagorje.
- The simplicity and amazing taste of the dishes that form the basis of the menu of the locals.
- Genuine love for cheeses, which only here can act as souvenirs.
- An abundance of quality homemade alcoholic beverages. The most popular are: young homemade wine chiselled, plum brandy (brandy made from plums), bisque, herbal tea, komovitsa (different types of brandy infused with herbs), vignac, white, red, rosé wines, local beer.
Trying to characterize the modern Croatian cuisine, gourmets agree that with all its dishes it resembles a typical Mediterranean one, and this is not its only advantage. At the same time, the eating habits of local residents are compared with those of Western Europe. The fact is that breakfasts here are very plentiful and satisfying and consist of different types of sandwiches containing ham, cheese, salami, egg dishes to choose from, pastries from the nearest bakery, and a cup of strong coffee. Lunches are a whole set of dishes, including soup, side dish, meat or fish to choose from, and dessert.
Basic cooking methods:
A rich history, active interaction with neighbors and other factors have brought a lot of recipes to Croatian cuisine, including national dishes. Today you can taste them not only in local restaurants, but also in traditional taverns – “konobe”, which are famous for their unique atmosphere. Their main advantages are the presence of a fireplace and the use of exclusively homemade foods for preparing ordered meals. Arriving in Croatia, you should try:
Prsut is a local ham made from pork ham, dried in the wind (in Istria) or smoked over coals (in Dalmatia). Traditionally, prosciutto is served thinly sliced with cheese, olives or melon.
Paz cheese is a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk with herbs and olive oil and, in combination, is a symbol of Croatia. It is made mainly at the factories of the island of Pag.
Brodet is a fish soup and a favorite dish of local fishermen. It is a thick soup made from a dozen types of fish with spices and wine.
Chevapchichi – fried cutlets.
Sarma – cabbage rolls with vegetables and smoked meats.
Zagorska Juha – thick soup made from potatoes, paprika, bacon, onions and garlic with sour cream. Sometimes mushrooms are added to it.
Burek is a meat pie. Prepared from puff pastry. Additionally, potatoes or cheese can be added to it.
Rigot is a black risotto. Rice platter with seafood and cuttlefish ink.
Strudel is an improved version of the Viennese strudel, in which a honey-nut mixture is placed instead of apples, like in baklava.
Useful properties of Croatian cuisine
Croatian cuisine is considered incredibly healthy. The fact is that they are based on the culinary traditions of Mediterranean and Central European cuisines. In addition, Croatia itself is comfortably located on the seaside, surrounded by clean forests and endless fields, which provide its inhabitants with quality foods. By adding them to recipes with a long history, local chefs have achieved an amazing combination of taste and aroma, for which tourists from all over the world come here.
The average life expectancy of Croats is almost 75 years. It is interesting that in the coastal regions it has increased by almost 6 years, as evidenced by the conclusions of experts from the State Bureau of Statistics.