Croatian cuisine is made up of various regions. Though the cuisine roots from ancient Slavic traditions, the difference comes from the food from coastal areas and the mainland. The coastal areas are influenced by Italian and Greek flavors while the mainland’s cuisine has a lot of influence from Hungary and Turkey.
Have a look at the below listed 20 Croatian food items you must try:
1 Black Risotto
Black Risotto, locally called ‘Crni Rizot’ is made with squid or cuttlefish. This gives the Italian dish a seafood twist. It is a Dalmatian region’s specialty and consists of red wine, olive oil, squid ink, and garlic. Parmesan cheese is also added before serving the dish, but the squid ink turns it into black giving it an unusual appearance. The food might also turn your teeth and fingers black.
Brodetto is a Croatian fish stew popular in the regions of Dalmatia, Kvarner, and Istria. This dish was originally made by fishermen in the coastal regions of Marche and Abruzzo of Italy. The other name of this dish is brudet and is common throughout coastal Croatia. Tuna and Grouper variety is commonly used, but ingredients are flexible.
Though Fritule, a dessert pastry originates from coastal regions, they are popular throughout the whole country. They are usually prepared using holidays and are shaped like donuts. The ingredients include lemon, egg yolk, citrus zest, orange rinds, rum, and other things. These sweets are extremely addictive.
4 Malvazija and Teran
Malvazija is an Istrian white wine that is the best accompaniment for most Croatian food. It has apricot and apple notes. Teran is a red wine commonly found in Kobola, Coronica, and Cattunar.
Truffles have become quite popular, but the Motovunian forests in Istria are known for truffles for some time. Black truffles, also known as tartufi have a stronger aroma as compared to its Italian counterparts.
Fuzi is traditional pasta made taking out 5-inch squares and wrapping them around the handle of a wooden spoon. It is quill shaped pasta with truffle cream sauce, or in a red sauce that has ingredients like chicken, beef, wild game, or boskarin.
Pljukanci is vegetarian Croatian pasta shaped like green beans. It is best served with cheesy gnocchi, or njoki as called by the Croatians.
Peka is a meat vegetable dish popular in Croatia. It is cooked with an iron lid or terracotta over burning embers. The meat includes exotic meat of veal or octopus or lamb or chicken. The whole dish is sprinkled with herbs and olive oil before baking the meat with vegetables and potatoes.
9 Istrian Ham
A traditional Istrian meal starts with Istrian ham and cheese. When you eat this dish, it feels like you are consuming a piece of history as the ham is aged around 12 to 18 months depending on the weather. The ham is taken from the skinned leg of pork which is dried with sea salt, and other herbs like rosemary, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. Istrians use the Adriatic wind to cure their meat.
Buzara is a simple and popular dish made of mussels common in the Adriatic coastal regions. It is traditionally made with olive oil and white wine broth using tomatoes and garlic. Buzara means broth, and this dish is similar to Moules Mariniere, a French delicacy. It is sprinkled with white bread crumbs to make the appearance pleasing.
Boskarin is an Istrian delicacy. It is white-grey long cattle with long horns. Only prestigious restaurants serve boskarin meat. It is served with pasta or local sauce with gnocchi, and the meat is served as steak. Boskarin tail soup is also served which is delicious.
12 Kulen Sausage
Kulen Sausage is made by hand from special cuts of pork and takes around nine months to cure. It is spicy and dry, and when it is sliced, it has the same texture and color throughout. Ingredients like garlic, paprika, and salt are added to enhance the taste.
13 Kvarner Scampi
Kvarner Scampi is a popular food item in Croatia. In this dish, scampi is boiled, grilled, marinated in the prepared sauce, wrapped in Istrian ham, roasted, and even consumed raw while being embellished by olive oil.
14 Pag Lamb
Pag Lamb is a popular dish where the meat is lean and pale pink, and spit roasted. Milk is added along with herbs to boost the flavor. The best season to consume this dish is summer and spring where the meat is marinated with thyme, rosemary, and other herbs.
Pašticada is a Dalmatian dish where a stew is prepared from marinated figs, prunes, beef, alcohol, and wine. It requires 24 hours of preparation which includes soaking the meat usually bacon in garlic, and vinegar. It is served with gnocchi at festivals or weddings.
Rožata is a Croatian custard pudding where the rose liqueur is a key ingredient. Other versions like vanilla extract are also served to the people. Also, maraschino cherry liqueur is also used to give an equal kick.
Sardines are freshly caught and grilled. They are full of white meat which is then flavored with lemon and oil. They can be made into a brodetto stew with tomatoes, wine, and herbs.
Strukli is a pastry filled with sour cream and cottage cheese. It is popular in Zagreb and Hrvatsko Zagorje reason. It is prepared in two ways – baked in the oven or boiled in water. The modern variations of this dish include cheese, blueberries, and truffles. There is a restaurant called La Struk which serves only strukli.
Many Istrian restaurants serve this common dish known as Manestra. It is bean soup and cooked slowly on a low fire for hours with cured meats and pešt to enhance the taste. Pest has garlic, pancetta, and parsley which are grounded to make a smooth paste. This paste is then added to the Manestra at the start of the cooking process. This dish has many variations like Manestra Od Bobici which is a bean soup with corn and Jota which is a neam soup with sauerkraut.
Soparnik is a savory pie having Swiss chard. It is Dalmatian’s traditional dish typically served in Poljica region of Dalmatia. Croatian’s ministry of culture has even declared this dish as an intangible cultural heritage. Soparnik festival is also held every July in Dugi Rat for the last ten years.