A great way you can connect with the culture, essence, and flavor of Croatia is by tasting local dishes. Croatia is a country full of culinary delights hugely influenced by many different cultures including the Mediterranean and Central European traditions.
Croatian cuisine is geographically distinct, with each part of this country having a distinctive regional delicacy. In addition, there’s a big emphasis on preparing meals homestyle and on making use of fresh seasonal ingredients in restaurants all across the country.
On your Croatian culinary discovery, your palate will be met by spicy meat stews to light seafood fare, Croatia’s own pasta, as well as bizarre’ bites! For all the foodies out there, we’ve prepared a list of 5 meals you should try once you’re in Croatia. Be sure to pair the dishes with local wines for a complete dining experience.
1. Dalmatian Peka
Ispod peke’ is something you should try at least once when you visit Croatia. Peka is a word that actually refers to a specific way the ingredients are prepared. Popular in Dalmatia, Peka is an ancient traditional slow-cooking method that combines chicken, lamb, veal, or octopus and vegetables with a generous drizzle of olive oil. The dish is then left to cook over an open fireplace. Fresh herbs White wine and fresh herbs can be added for that extra flavor. The dish is left to simmer slowly in its own juices until the meat is tender. Cooking using this method knocks out Croatia’s most loved, divinely tender dish by the same name.
Most local taverns feature peka on their menu.
2. Ćevapi (or Ćevapčići)
Cevapi is a famous food in the region and certainly worth a try when you’re in Croatia. This small finger-shaped and tasty grilled skinless seasoned sausages are usually made with a combination of both beef, pork, and lamb, and served with chopped raw onions and spices, kajmak (a soft creamy cheese) and ajvar (a relish made from-peppers) on flatbread. The heritage of this dish is Middle-Eastern in origin.
Sometimes called “brodeto” or “brodet”, this dish is a rich fish stew from Croatian regions of Istria, Dalmatia, and Kvarner. This traditional fisherman’s stew is a perfect summer delicacy and hails from Italy’s Marche region.
Brodet is made all-year round and comes in various versions. It typically consists of at least 3 types of fish and tomato-based sauce enriched with garlic, onion and white wine. It’s usually served with polenta as a side dish which soaks-up the tasty fish broth.
4. Zagorski Štrukli
This is a traditional delicacy popular in the regions of Zagreb and Hrvatsko Zagorje in northern Croatia. Its inspiration probably comes from the Turkish borek and Austrian strudel although this meal is now distinctly Croatian.
The Zagorje specialty is composed of a flat, thin pastry and various types of filling, like eggs, cheese, and sour cream. Štrukli resembles a kind of strudel which can be made either as a savory or sweet dish. Sugar is usually added when preparing the sweet version of the dish and it is then either baked in the oven or cooked.
A real true traditional Croatian meal and the capital’s signature bite, this humble cheese, and cream pastry is even proclaimed an intangible cultural icon by Croatia’s Ministry of Culture, all the more reason you should try it.
5. Black Risotto
Known locally as crni rizot, this dish is a popular cuisine in coastal Croatia, particularly in Dalmatia. Black risotto is basically a rice dish prepared with squid, garlic, red wine, and olive oil and is quite similar in some ways to Italian risotto. This dish is special for the deep-black color it gets from squid ink, which gives the cuisine an intense seafood flavor. It can be prepared also with other types of seafood like octopus or cuttlefish or even shellfish like mussels and clams.
Bon appetit and be sure to explore more including the Croatia property market!
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