10 Croatian Delicacies That Will Blow Your Mind
Pršut. Image by Milachich
You cannot go to Croatia without trying some of their famed cured ham called pršut. If you’re in Croatia in October, make sure to go to Tinjan, “the municipality of pršut” where you’ll find the largest Istrian festival of pršut. Unlike the Istrian version, which is dry-cured, Dalmatian ham is smoked, but both are equally delicious.
Pašticada. Image by Nurettin Mert AYDIN
Pašticada is an amazing slow-cooked beef that is served in a rich red sweet and sour sauce and accompanied by pillowy gnocchi (njoki) or homemade pasta. Pašticada is a labor of love. It can take up to two or three days to make and devoured in no time at all. This traditional Dalmatian dish is usually served at weddings and other celebrations, but (thankfully) you can find it in most taverns throughout Croatia.
Ćevapi served with Ajvar. Image by Su-lin
Though it is considered a national dish of Bosnia and Serbia, ćevapi is also well loved in Croatia. These simple, yet tasty little skinless sausages are usually made out of pork or beef and are similar to kofte kebab (ćevap comes from the Persian word for kebab). There are usually 5 or so Ćevapithat are served as an appetizer or a sandwich. Get your hands on one before you leave Croatia.
Pag Island Cheese. Image by Petr Kratochvil - Public Domain Pictures
Head to the island of Pag to try some of their famous cheese, a salty cheese made from a special breed of small sheep, called Paska Ovca, which graze on the island’s herbal and salty vegetation. Before the Pag cheese is matured (usually 4 months or longer), the rind is washed with some olive oil and ashes giving it its distinct savory and slightly herbal flavor. Pag cheese is best enjoyed with fresh fruits like grapes, Dalmatian ham, wildflower honey or olive oil.
Buzara selection. Image by Haydn Blackey
On the Croatian coast, you will normally find fresh shellfish prepared na buzaru, which means they are tossed in a splendid mix of olive oil, parsley, breadcrumbs, garlic and white wine and then cooked on a pan to perfection. They are also often simmered in a delicious blend of brandy and wine to make a delicious tomato sauce that you can further enjoy with some crusty bread.
Rožata. Image by Rie Nakaya
If you’re in Dubrovnik, don’t miss out on rožata, the local version of crème caramel and flan. It’s the perfect way to end any meal in Croatia. Rožata is made from the humble ingredients of eggs, sugar and milk, but is definitely a dish not to be missed, especially with the addition of the heavenly caramel sauce.
Image by wikimedia
As you’re walking along one of the Croatian coast’s picturesque promenades, make sure to treat yourself to some fritule, a warm, soft and freshly fried dough ball of happiness served a delightful topping like nutella or powdered sugar. Fritule are a staple for every Croatian’s Christmas table, but you’ll be happy to find these little yummy donuts sold by many street vendors.
Fresh marinated seafood and salads. Image by Jessica Spengler
Salata od hobotnice or Salata od jastog
With a coastline stretching 1800km and over 1000 islands, it is no wonder that Croatia is famous for its seafood. Croatians make the most of the abundance of fresh and delicious seafood that fishermen bring ashore. Sometimes it’s best to enjoy Croatian seafood with simple and minimal preparations like an octopus salad made with potato, onion, chopped parsley, garlic and lemon or a salad of lobster that is simply served with herbs and olive oil.
Pasta with truffles. Image by Heather Cowper
Truffle lovers rejoice! If you’ve come to the Istrian peninsula, you’ve arrived in truffle heaven. Did you know that the forests on the Istrian peninsula have one of the highest concentrations of the white and black truffles? Croatians take advantage of this precious harvest by highlighting the tastes of the forest in several dishes like fuži, a traditional pasta served with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Peka. Image by João Ornelas
Traditionally cooked in a fireplace or the floor of a wood-fired oven, the humble Peka is sure to be a highlight of your culinary quest in Croatia. Peka is a wonderful mix of vegetables and meat drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with herbs, and then baked to perfection covered by a bell-like dome. Croatians also cook bread using the "Ispod Peka” (cooking under the lid) technique. Basically, the dome ensures that everything is tender and cooked to perfection.
Hungry for more? Check out our ultimate guide to Croatian cuisine on our blog where you can also find great ideas for your next sailing holiday in Croatia.
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