Foodie Focus: Croatia

A (favourable) series of events have led me to suddenly booking a holiday to Croatia. As a holiday destination, Croatia receives rave reviews. I’ve heard all about the spectacular coastline and beaches, not to mention the historic towns of Dubrovnik and Zagreb. The cost of travelling remains low (Croatia is still exempt from the Euro) and it has recently become a popular festival destination hosting a handful of music events during the summer months.

But far more important than all that… what about the cuisine? As a food obsessive it’s imperative that I research the food options beforehand. So here goes….

Since Croatia is bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and only separated from Italy by the Adriatic Sea you’d expect Croatian cuisine to have a wide variety of influences – and it’s true the cooking is fairly diverse. Meat provides the building block of many main meals, especially in the central Croatian regions. Spicy sausage (kulen or kulenova seka) has been highly recommended along with Cevapcici; a pork or beef meatball served with spicy red pepper relish. Čobanac is a meat stew infused with a considerable spark of paprika and can be widely found across the country.

Cevapcici BBQ
Photo by damir.ME

If meat isn’t your thing, you could try the famed delicacy štrukli; a pasta filled with cheese or Blitva; typically a side dish of boiled Swiss chard with olive oil, potatoes and garlic. Vampires beware!

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With a coastline that stretches for 5000km, fresh fish and seafood are abundant and delicious. You can buy fish yourself on market days. Croatian markets are a great place to sample and buy some of the nations foodie treats. Sir i vrhnje – sour cream with cottage cheese – can be bought fresh from the market and is supposed to be a great accompaniment to freshly baked bread.

Fish plate:
Fish plate
Photo by sikeri

Desserts and sweets are popular with Croatians and include strudels, pies and bučnica – a pumpkin and cheese combination. Paprenjaci (pepper cookies) are said to reflect Croatia’s tumultuous history because they combine the harshness of the war periods (pepper) with the natural beauty (honey). Crepes called Palacinke are served in most restaurants and cafes. Popular fillings are walnuts, chocolate and berries served with ice cream.

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Reading about all the gastronomical treats on offer has made me very excited about my venture to Split in August and my imminent lunch for that matter!

Top image by FotoChronicle