What to eat and drink in Croatia
What to eat and drink in Croatia

Croats are captivated with meals. They’ll spend hours discussing the standard of the lamb or the first-grade fish and why it overshadows all meals elsewhere.

With such a tasty mix of cuisines – Italian, Slavic, Austrian, Turkish and Hungarian – foodie tradition is on the rise right here. Impressed additionally by the Sluggish Meals motion, there’s an emphasis on contemporary, native and seasonal components and the enjoyment of slow-paced eating. 

Wine and olive-oil manufacturing are prize-winning industries, and there’s a community of signposted routes across the nation celebrating these valuable commodities. Right here’s what to eat and drink in Croatia.

Chow down on ćevapčići 

These rissoles manufactured from floor meat – often a mixture of beef, pork or lamb – flavored with garlic and paprika are a staple of Croatian eating places and takeaways. Attempt them with a fluffy flatbread known as lepinja, served with chopped onions and ajvar (pink pepper relish).

The place to strive it: You’re not often removed from someplace that serves ćevapčići, from the country roadside tables at Zlata Dragove on Dugi Otok to the luxury model on supply at Craft Beer Bar & Grill in Stari Grad, Hvar.

Burek is present in most bakeries in Croatia © arina7 / Getty Pictures

Decide up a burek 

A staple avenue meals all through the Balkans, burek is a tasty filo pastry pie stuffed with cheese, spinach or meat. Bakeries promote them in coils or in large rounds minimize into pizza-shaped tranches.

The place to strive it: It’s arduous to discover a bakery (pekara or pekarnica) that doesn’t promote burek. In case you’re in Dubrovnik, cease by Babić Bakery simply outdoors Ploče Gate.

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Whet your urge for food with pršut

The infamous bura wind that often howls down Croatia’s coast makes this prosciutto-like air-dried ham so distinctive. In Istria and Krk, it’s simply dried by salty air, however in Dalmatia, you’ll often discover it smoked.

The place to strive it: You’ll discover pršut throughout Croatia, however when you’re in Restaurant Knez in Omiš, you must order their do-it-yourself Dalmatian model.

Tuck right into a meat feast of pečeno meso

Juicy spit-roasted and baked meat – pečeno meso – showcases janjetina (lamb), svinjetina (pork) and patka (duck), typically accompanied by pečeni krumpir (roast potatoes).

The place to strive it: The island of Cres is famend for its lamb, which you’ll be able to feast on at Konoba Bukaleta.

Vineyard in Dalmatia, Croatia, at the Adriatic Coast
Croatia has not less than 130 distinctive grape varieties © monticello / Shutterstock

Discover one in every of Croatia’s wine routes

The standard of Croatian wine is great, with greater than 300 wine areas and not less than 130 grape varieties discovered nowhere else on the earth. The selection is large: teran and malvazija in Istria, graševina in Slavonia, žlahtina in Krk, plus so many in Dalmatia – plavac mali, grk, pošip, dingač, babić, only for starters.

The place to strive it: Zure vineyard in Korčula makes exceptionally good white grk to go along with very good plavac mali.

Sink into štrukli 

This tacky, creamy dish is a specific favourite of the Zagorje area, however it’s lengthy been adopted and adored by the entire nation. Cheese-filled pastry is smothered in cream and baked, creating fabulous consolation meals.

The place to strive it: Le Bistro on the Esplanade Zagreb Resort has perfected the artwork of štrukli making since 1951.

Dive right into a bowl of brudet

Often known as brodetto, brodet and brujet, this seafood stew is historically what fishermen would make to make use of up their leftover fish. A minimum of three kinds of firm-fleshed fish – often scorpion fish, pink mullet, rockfish or eel – are cooked in white wine, garlic, onions, tomatoes and herbs, plus some shellfish so as to add much more depth. It’s served with polenta to take in all these flavors.

The place to strive it: You’ll have views of Zaton Bay north of Dubrovnik to go along with a wealthy bowl of brudet at Gverorić-Orsan.

Large pot of peka, a traditional way of preparing food. The cast iron bell seals in flavours and juices as meat, octopus or vegetables cook for up to three hours on bed of charcoal
The forged iron pot used to make peka seals in flavors and juices as meat, octopus or greens prepare dinner for as much as three hours © Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock

Order a peka

Take a cast-iron bell-shaped pot known as a peka, fill it with chunks of meat or, nearer to the coast, octopus, together with potatoes, greens and garlic. Cowl the peka with embers and let it prepare dinner for hours on an open hearth. The result’s essentially the most succulent meat you will get. In case you see a restaurant providing dishes cooked “ispod peke,” get in.

The place to strive it: In case you’re in Mljet, order one prematurely – as you’ll have to do at most locations – at Kod Ante in Saplunara Bay. 

Spice it up with fiš paprikas

The neighboring river-rich areas of Baranja and Slavonia had been as soon as a part of Hungary, so it’s not shocking to seek out paprika taking middle stage on this staple dish. Freshwater fish – often carp, pike or catfish – is simmered in wine, onions, tomatoes and, after all, fiery paprika to make fiš paprikas. It’s often served with do-it-yourself noodles.

The place to strive it: Simply throughout the Drava River in Osijek is Čarda kod Baranjca, which has a number of variations of fiš paprikaš to select from. All are scrumptious. 

Vegetarians and vegans

A helpful phrase is “Ja ne jedem meso” (“I don’t eat meat”), however even then, you is perhaps served soup with bits of bacon in it. That’s slowly altering, and vegetarians are making inroads in Croatia, however modifications are largely occurring within the bigger cities. Osijek, Zagreb, Poreč and Break up have devoted vegetarian eating places, whereas Dubrovnik additionally has vegan ones.

Vegetarians could have a tougher time within the north (Zagorje) and the east (Slavonia), the place meat is the first focus. Specialties that don’t use meat embrace maneštra (minestrone-like soup) and juha od krumpira na zagorski način (Zagorje potato soup). Alongside the coast, you’ll discover loads of meat-free pizza, pasta and risotto dishes. 

A yr in meals

Whereas native meals and wine festivals go into full swing come autumn, there’s by no means a nasty time to eat effectively in Croatia.

Spring (March-Could)
Asparagus comes into season in Istria and will get its personal pageant. Korčula celebrates its meals and wine in an April pageant, and Istrian winemakers throw open their cellar doorways on the final Sunday in Could.

Summer time (June-August)
Dine on freshly caught seafood by the ocean and beat the warmth with gelato. 

Autumn (September-November)
Meals festivals showcase truffles (in Istria), chestnuts (in Kvarner) and do-it-yourself rakija and wine (nearly all over the place). Don’t miss Dubrovnik’s Good Meals Competition in October.

Winter (December-February)
Time for Christmas and carnival treats, together with Zagreb’s superlative Introduction pageant and Rijeka’s carnival.

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