Croatian Gastronomy - Nostromo

nostromo.hr

Croatian Gastronomy - Nostromo

Croatian

Gastronomy


introduction

for thousands of years bc the tribal communities centred round

Vuèedol used an extremely precise calendar which enabled

them to engage effectively and successfully in agriculture.

On the island of Vis there are traces of grape vine which

have been cultivated from pre-Christian times, right up to

the present day.

The oldest coin to be found on the island of Hvar bears

on the reverse side a depiction of a bunch of grapes, and

on the obverse side the image of Homer – the poet who

extolled their virtues in verse.

Officers of ancient Rome gladly became gourmands once

they discovered the riches of the Cetina region bequeathed

to them by the gods: trout, river crabs, frogs, game and fertile

land. Instead of the usual temporary camp they created a

permanent settlement on the hills along the Cetina River.

A thousand years ago, top quality chefs, who were equally

expert in Oriental and Western cuisines, were a key element

of the crews aboard the ships of Dubrovnik which sailed

the Mediterranean and the oceans. From Istria to Konavle,

Croats have been safeguarding dozens of centuries-old olive

trees which still bear fruit to this day. Roman emperors

planted olive groves in Istria because they considered the

area as being the best for cultivation of superior olives.

Also, recipes from the Viennese court were being prepared

croatian Gastronomy

3

Each croatian

tourist rEGion is

a sourcE of hiGh

quality cuisinE,

rEGardlEss of

whEthEr thE

offErEd dish is

of polEnta madE

from whitE maizE

or a phEasant

patE flavourEd

with frEsh

istrian trufflEs.


Cultivation of certain

varieties of grape

on the island of

Vis dates back to

pre-Christian times.

introduction

by cooks attending to the gastronomic needs of the nobility

and other wealthy households in northern Croatia.

Napoleon’s cooks introduced many of their culinary secrets

to their Croatian counterparts, and they are still with us today

– the mustard and bermet, i.e. vermouth, of Samobor being

two of the most famous examples. It has to be pointed out,

however, that those French cooks did not find any absence of

culinary skills, indeed quite the contrary; in most cases the

local population simply added a “French touch” to some of

their existing recipes. For instance, mustard is mentioned in

Gazophylacium, the famous Latin-Croatian dictionary by Ivan

Belostenec, completed in 1674.

Italians have managed to convince a good part of the

world that hundreds of their regional dishes deserve a place

at the peak of world gastronomy. However, at the beginning

of the last century they themselves claimed that the

best Italian dishes are prepared in Dalmatia, where a great

culinary tradition makes use of first-class ingredients.

In the course of its travels from Persia, via Turkey

to Croatian lands, a journey which took thousands of

kilometres and hundreds of years to

complete, the recipe for æevap or kebab

was being constantly improved until it

reached absolute perfection. And all that

together with many other great dishes

and culinary procedures.

Hungarians who came to settle in

Podravina, Meðimurje, Slavonia and

Baranja are masters of dishes prepared

in small cauldrons, delicacies which represent

the essence of the identity of

Hungarian cuisine.

Today’s Croatia, a small Alpine,

Pannonian, Danube-basin and

Mediterranean country, grows all the

same types of grape that are grown in

the much larger France! Also, in small

Croatia more varieties of the most highly

valued truffles can be found than in that

same France, including the white Tuber magnatum (pico),

which is most sought after. For years now micologists have

been trying to compile a definitive list of edible fungi that

are autochthonous in Croatia, but the task is so extensive

that they have yet to complete it. The Croatian Adriatic is

not renowned for its great quantities of fish, crabs, shellfish

and molluscs, but it is renowned for its rich variety of seafood.

Indeed, it is claimed by many that some of that seafood, such as

scampi and oysters from particular localities, are the best in

the world. Those are subjective assessments; objective scientific

findings have quite definitely shown that the concentration

of elements in the Marasca black/sour cherry, grown in

the surroundings of Zadar, make it superior to any other type

of black/sour cherry in the world - which is more than amply

4 croatian Gastronomy

local BrEEds of shEEp arE rEnownEd for thEir

mEat with an ExquisitE tastE, rEsultinG from thE

quality of GrazinG - aromatic, and mEdical mEditErranEan

hErBs, and thE nEar vicinity of thE sEa

which imparts a portion of its salt to thE land.

this comBination lEnds thE mEat of thEsE animals

a vEry spEcial flavour.

proved by Maraschino, the famous liqueur of Zadar.

The varieties of small Mediterranean breeds of sheep

scattered across the Adriatic islands, throughout the coastal

areas and coastal hinterland, are in themselves a source of

ultimate culinary pleasures and an excellent paradigm of the

peaks of Croatian gastronomy: those breeds are small, some

of them even the smallest in the Mediterranean, and their

milk yield is equally small due to meagre but exquisitely aromatic

grazing. On the other hand, however, their meat, milk

and the cheese produced from it are delectable indeed.

Croatia cannot compete in quantities and yields of fruit,

vegetables, fungi, fish, crabs, meat, cheese or honey with

the large world producers. But then, it has no need to.

The incredible variety and surprising quality of ingredients,

food-stuffs, dishes and processed products offered by these

climes and tradition are in themselves a world monument

of culture with which one must become familiar with, nurture,

preserve, respect and above all savour and enjoy.

Hence, the Croatian National Tourist Board will make

it an ongoing project to systematically research and present

Croatian national gastronomy to the world public in the

deeply held belief that, alongside natural attractions and

cultural heritage, it is the country’s national gastronomy

that represents an outstanding Croatian attraction. It is not

enough to learn about it only in its summer version – all four

season offer equally exquisite gastronomic experiences.

It can be safely said that Croatia is, so to speak, “on the

boil”; agricultural experts and strategists of food production

are undertaking a comprehensive inventory, and preparing

a national strategy for the country’s road to the European

Union. All edible treasures must be listed, described and protected

as much as possible so as to ensure their survival within

the strictly applied European rules. This is a massive task of


dalmatia –

split

istria 6-11 KvarnEr

12-15

invaluable significance; a high percentage of Croats fear that

Brussels bureaucracy would not look kindly upon the ancient

habits and customs practiced by thousands of small family

producers, the very ones who enable Croats to enjoy hundreds

of superb dishes prepared throughout our country.

Preservation and advancement of that wonderful heritage

of our forefathers is, for Croats and the numerous national

minorities who have lived here for a long time, a task which

carries with it the very significance of survival. From the

holdings of our farmers, from our meadows, forests, streams,

rivers and the sea, in every season of the year there arrives to

the Croatian markets a myriad of produce and products: fruit,

vegetables, wild edible plants, herbs, fungi, fresh and saltwater

fish, shellfish, crabs, molluscs, snails, frogs, game, fresh meat,

sausages, salamis, hams and proscuittos, breads, rolls and

cakes; and they never fail to surprise gourmands and connoisseurs

from all over the world. Not by quantity – Croatia

is, as we have said, a small country – but with their incredible

variety. Amidst this wealth of choice one can select foodstuffs

and dishes that stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest

in the world, forming the basis of our national gastronomy

which the world has yet to discover in its full glory, aroma and

flavour. Bearing in mind its real potentials, very little is indeed

known in the world about Croatia's gastronomy. This is why

we are working on a strategy.

Croatia will not amaze anybody with the quantities of food

produced here. In the Croatian waters of the Adriatic there

are relatively small numbers of fish and other sea creatures.

But it is the story of the Adriatic which is typical of Croatia’s

gastronomy: neither the sea nor the seabed is overcrowded

by massive numbers, but the variety of species living here is

quite something. From a culinary standpoint this wealth gains

another, yet more distinct quality: the frutti di mare of the

Adriatic are deemed to be among the most delectable in the

world. Pilchard, sand smelt, anchovy, tuna, dentex, gilthead,

John Dory, red mullet, scampi, sea spider, lobster, oyster, scallops,

calamari, squid... In the right hands all of them can be

transformed into a feast fondly remembered with pleasure

even by those who have enjoyed feasts all over the world.

Croatia neither can nor should compete with the large food

producers. Here, the holdings are fragmented; fields, barns and

liKa - 16-19 dalmatia – 20-23 dalmatia – 24-27

Karlovac

zadar

ŠiBEniK

28-31 dalmatia – 32-35 slavonia 36-39 cEntral 40-43

city of 44-53

duBrovniK

croatia

zaGrEB

fishing boats are small. This situation, which for decades has

been a serious national problem, is now proving to be a first class

potential. In Croatia, chickens do indeed peck in courtyards,

eating what nature provides; here, sheep do graze aromatic

herbs; tuna fish feed on live pilchards in clear seas, and in forests

wild strawberries happily grow in the company of mushrooms –

until bears discover them and have themselves a feast...

Viewed against water resources throughout the world,

Croatian waters, fresh and salt, standing and running, surface

or underground, are all well preserved. The soil is not

contaminated with heavy metals, nor is it exhausted by

over-intensive agriculture. The air is considerably cleaner

than in the majority of other European countries, and people

are being brought up, and are therefore accustomed to, a

traditional cuisine of first-rate nutritious properties, not only

in the Mediterranean part of the country but in its vales in

the north and in the mountain area extending between the

coastal region and the Pannonian plain.

To savour a pogaèa (round, unleavened bread) made from

ancient varieties of grain from Meðimurje, salted by salt harvested

on the Dalmatian islands is in itself a gastronomic experience

fit to start a culinary feast in Croatia. An experienced

connoisseur can follow the intricate paths of Croatian cuisine,

and they will lead him from the rural origins, via folk tradition,

to the intelligent concepts of brilliant young cooks in their fine

restaurants. What a challenge for a palate worthy of its name!

With this publication we aim to outline the gastronomic

routes through Croatia which are of particular interest, or

rather those which lead to singular culinary pleasures.

The tourist map of Croatia divides the country into tourist

regions. Each is a source of high quality cuisine, regardless of

whether the offered dish is a polenta made from white maize,

which takes hours of gentle cooking and stirring in a cauldron

over an open fire in the old- fashioned hearth of a household

that earns its living through agro-tourism, or a pheasant paté

flavoured with fresh Istrian truffles made for the exclusive

festival of high gastronomy called The Golden Truffle. First rate

foodstuffs and ways of preparing them can be found throughout

the land, and the charm of getting to know them, from one

cluster to another, lies in the rich and colourful varieties found

regionally and locally.

croatian Gastronomy

5


01

stria


The gasTronomy of isTria presenTs iTself

i

TourisT Board of The CounTy

of isTria

Pionirska 1, 52440 Poreč

tel.: +385 52 452 797

fax: +385 52 452 796

E-mail: info@istra.hr

www.istra.hr

as one of complete harmony,

characterized first and foremost by traditional folk and urban cuisine offered

in numerous pubs, inns and cellars. as a gastronomic entity istria

is a phenomenon of world ranking. its folk cuisine is a centuries-old response,

on the one hand to economic deprivation, and on the other to the

abundant generosity of nature and the great culinary models of the nearby

italian provinces.

stria is the first Croatian region which has long been visited by special

type of guest: those who regard gastronomy either as the most important,

or as one of the very important, reasons for travelling. The consequence

of a process in which guests visiting the Istrian coast began to "discover"

its interior, completely removed from large tourist complexes and similar

urban interventions. Istria’s interior was, in that respect, a virgin land and

is, in fact, described in monographs written today as Terra incognita, as

the ancient cartographers used to describe an unknown, unexplored land.

The coast and the interior of Istria were, indeed are, complementary not

only in the magnificent landscapes and a dramatic change of atmosphere,

but they also formed and form a unique gastronomic entity combining

the sea food provided by the Mediterranean with its hinterland. Frutti

di mare of exquisite quality were rounded off by

produce from gardens, orchards, vineyards and

forests in the peninsula’s interior. As a whole, the

gastronomy of Istria presents itself as one of complete

harmony, characterized first and foremost

by traditional folk and urban cuisine offered in

numerous pubs, inns and cellars.

Istria was also the area in which the first truly

luxurious restaurants in Croatia opened their

doors. Tourist guides published by the Tourist

Board of the County of Istria were the first to

start a systematic and reliable exploration and

follow-up, as well as offering encouragement for

the development of quality catering establishments.

Concurrently, the well organized Istrian

wine growers began to set up clear criteria for

wine roads, and soon the whole of Istria was crisscrossed

with such roads.

As a gastronomic entity Istria is a phenomenon

of world ranking. Its folk cuisine is a centuries-old

response, on the one hand to economic deprivation,

and on the other to the abundant generosity

of nature and the great culinary models of the

nearby Italian provinces. Simple popular dishes

again seem very modern: omelettes (locally known

croatian Gastronomy

7


01 istria

Oysters from the

Lim channel are

a renowned

specialty of the

Northern Adriatic.

as fritaja), practically a trade mark of Istrian cuisine, are a

clear demonstration of this. Based first and foremost on

good free-range eggs, cooked to perfection, or if you will a

point, to use the gastronomic patois. Added to the omelettes

is one, or at most two ingredients, whose taste is a dominant

one in the dish, and the selection of

which is dictated by the season, as is the

case in particular with wild asparagus. In a

nutshell, Istrian fritaja with wild asparagus

is a popular dish which meets all the criteria

of modern-day high cuisine.

Maneštra, or as some would say minestrone,

is also a part of Istrian culinary

tradition. Boiled potatoes and beans,

with the addition of seasonal vegetables

which give this particular dish its

name: maneštra with sweet corn, barley,

chick-peas, fennel; when combined

with sauerkraut and turnip it is called

yota. Specific characteristics of Istrian

maneštra is pešt – finely chopped bacon,

parsley and garlic. Thus prepared, paste

is added at the commencement of cooking

in order to ensure that the bacon is

thoroughly cooked.

Folk, urban and fine cuisines catering

in Istria overlap and intertwine, which

is no wonder since they are all based on gastronomic

icons such as indigenous forms of pasta made from top

quality flour; then there are oysters, sea spiders, the

best of deep sea fish, white and black truffles and other

mushrooms, wild asparagus, Istrian prosciutto, pancetta,

a specially cured bacon, sausages and ombolo, spiced and

8 croatian Gastronomy

owinG to thEir natural BEauty and archaEoloGical

localities, the Brijuni archiPelaGo, just off

the town of Pula, enjoys the status of a national

parK.

briefly smoke dried boned pork loin, and game both large

and small.

The interest that everyday Istrian cuisine began to

generate in recent decades, not only among guests from

other parts of Croatia but also among those beyond our

borders, gave rise to the development of agrotourism, a

catering industry in rural homesteads based on produce

from the homestead itself. Today, agrotourism is the

key gastronomic feature of the interior of Istria with a

range of dishes no longer restricted to a dozen or so of

the most typical. Alongside the standard range on offer

many households are now expanding their production

of high quality home grown foods, and we now have, for

instance, small family game breeding farms. Most usual

is the feathered variety, but in Istria it is not surprising

to find a wild boar being kept in a pen, as is the case in

Pladnjaki. In such cases village tourism can offer such

delicacies as ombolo, prosciutto and sausages produced

from such game.

chEEsE madE

from Goat milK

is EspEcially

dElicious whEn

flavourEd with

trufflE.


wild asparaGus Grows all ovEr thE

northEn part of istria in thE sprinGtimE.

omBolo- a BonEd

porK loin first

BriEfly smoKEd

and thEn GrillEd

ovEr hot coals.

The mainstay of Istrian catering, and the guarantee of a

good atmosphere, is the range of simple house wines - and

wine has for centuries been the medium of socializing. In

Istrian pubs people still enjoy the Istrian supa, served in a

bukaleta (a ceramic jug): gently warmed red wine, most

often teran or borgogna, is poured into a bukaleta, a slice

of freshly toasted bread is added, together with few drops

of olive oil, a spoon of sugar and a pinch of freshly ground

pepper. The jug is passed around the table with wine being

drunk, actually sipped, through the bread, which makes it

extremely drinkable.

Istrian supa is a custom typical of small village and town

oštarije, or if you will, pubs. Atmosphere in those establishments

is created first and foremost by an open fireplace

which, although frequently set into a corner, is the social

hub of the place; food is cooked on it, meat sizzles on its

metal grids; people really love to gather around, particularly

in winter time.

Ombolo is the king of a menu prepared in such fireplaces.

Slightly smoked pork loin is sliced and grilled over the

charcoal. It is often served with sauerkraut, and in combination

with Istrian sausage.

t r u f f l E s

It is quite usual that mystery stories are spun about truffles

before they are accepted as a part of local cuisine.

Istria was no different. It was only at the beginning of

the last century that Istrians realized what a gastronomic

jewel they had at their disposal. Several excellent types

of truffles grow in Istria almost the year round, while the

most treasured one, the white truffle or Tuber magnatum

pasta sprinKlEd with GratEd trufflEs,

whitE or BlacK, form a part of thE

mEnu of almost EvEry rEstaurant.

Agrotourism is the key gastronomic feature of the interior of this

peninsula. It is based on rural holdings offering quality, home-

cooked food served in a homely and intimate atmosphere.

pico, a kilo of which can fetch more than 3000 euro, come

to the market in the autumn. The truffle season lasts up to

the end of the year.

The main site of this undoubtedly most expensive foodstuff

is the famous Motovun forest, located alongside the

Mirna River, at the foot of the mount upon which rises

the magnificent little town of Motovun. World experts

have still not decided how

the famous truffle from

Alba came to have a

twin of equal quality in

Motovun and several

other smaller habitats

through Istria. But

risottos of EvEry imaGinaBlE Kind - from

thE rEd onE madE with radiccio, to thE

BlacK onE with squid inK - arE anothEr

istrian spEcialty not to BE missEd.

croatian Gastronomy

9

thE woods around

thE anciEnt and

EnchantinG, tiny

towns of motovun

and Grožnjan, are

rEplEtE with all

Kinds of mushrooms

which lEnd

thEmsElvEs rEadily

to a variEty of

dElicious dishEs.


01 istria

Until very recently

the white truffle of

Istria was unknown

by the elite gastronomy

of the world.

the international gatherings of experts and thematic gastronomic

presentations entitled Golden truffle held in the

Marino restaurant in Kremelje, near Momjan, arrived at

a clear conclusion: the white truffle of Istria is in no way

inferior to those from Alba! Indeed, an American journalist

discovered that many “truffles from Alba” actually

originate in Istria.

At the special presentation of haute

cuisine held in the Valsabbion restaurant

not far from Pula, Bruno Clement,

the renowned French culinary wizard,

also known as the King of Truffles,

publicly confirmed that conclusion in

the autumn of 2003. The largest white

truffle ever found, weighing almost a

kilogram-and-a-half, was found in the

Motovun forest.

Until recently the Istrian white truffle

was unknown on the world stage of

luxury gastronomy. It was reaching fine

restaurants of the world through smuggling,

and was served either without its

origin being given, or was being falsely

presented as Italian. Today, Istrians no

longer wish to smuggle, or even export

their truffles. But neither do they want

to save them for themselves. It’s not

that they don’t like them, they want even more to be

able to offer them to those true connoisseurs of this

magical fungus who come to visit the small corner of the

world from which this delicacy originates.

Traditional Istrian dishes prepared with

truffles are very simple, particularly

when the best, the white truffle

is being used. Nothing

should be allowed

to impair its

EvEn thE roman EmpErors who Build thE amphithEatrE

in pula considErEd that thE arEa of

istria was BEst for thE cultivation of supErior

olivEs.

majestic gastronomic presence. Right at table, right

before the guest, a small amount of truffle is grated

over freshly cooked pasta, Istrian fu�i (somewhat

similar in shape to Italian garganeli) or

gnocchi, and there you have it!

Omelette, or fritaja with

truffles is served in a

similar way.


istria is onE of thE BEst placEs for

olivE GrowinG and for thE production

of top quality olivE oil.

i s t r i a n p a s t a a n d

i t s p i c t u r E s q u E

G a r n i s h i n G s

In the course of its journey from Italy towards Istria both

names and forms of pasta changed, eventually being transformed

into authentic features of Istrian cuisine. Lovers of

Italian pasta could probably become confused by the Istrian

lasagna. They are not in fact rectangular sheets of pasta laid

one on top of another with sauce in between, but simply wide

strip noodles, a shape which makes them suitable for different

dishes, including making tasty nests for white truffles.

The best known Istrian pasta is fu�i, small squares of pasta

diagonally rolled into tubes. Flour, salt and water are mixed

into smooth dough which is rolled into a thin sheet, cut into

4x4cm squares, the opposite corners of which are folded

towards the middle and pressed so as to stick together.

Suitable for a variety of dishes, fu�i are most often found

as a welcoming starter to �gvacet – delectable Istrian goulash,

i.e. pieces of meat in a thick gravy - chicken version is very

popular and widespread, as well as all kinds of larger game.

The favourite pasta in Sveti Vinæent and its surroundings are

pljukanci, small, spindle-shaped pieces of dough, most appreciated

when served with pieces of prosciutto and wild asparagus, or

with gravy made with sausage or of mushroom, locally known as

martinèica or, if you will, Clitocybe geotropa. But it is also quite sufficient

to sprinkle this excellent pasta with good grated cheese

– particularly if it comes from the nearby village of Šikuti. There,

one can chance on a very strong cheese, made of a mixture of

sheep and goat milk, but which is not easy to find.

Home-made pasta is highly appreciated in Istria, but there

fritaja, i.e., an omElEttE with aspara-

Gus, is a delicacy enjoyed in istrian

homEs

The largest truffle ever, weighing

almost 1.5 kg, was found in

Istria's Motovun woods.

supa, or istrian

soup, sErvEd in a

BuKalEta: rEd winE

with a slicE of

toastEd BrEad, a

pinch of salt and

pEppEr, and a fEw

drops of olivE

oil, is drunK from

ceramic juGs.

a widE ranGE of trufflE variEtiEs

Grows in istria all yEar round.

are a number of small producers who have earned a fine

reputation among connoisseurs of good pasta.

m a n e š t r a o d B o B i ć i

(minEstronE with swEEt corn)

The best known of the thick stews in Istria is the famous

maneštra od bobiæi, yet another example of how a great

dish can be born out of privation. After all, its main

ingredient is a prosciutto bone, and tradition has it that

it was used more than once, even borrowed from house

to house. Young sweet corn, potatoes, red beans, garlic,

celery leaf, pepper and panceta (specially cured meaty

bacon) or at least its rind – these are the ingredients that

go to make this stew, in addition to the prosciutto bone,

of course. Maneštra of bobiæi, cooked slowly over a gentle

heat, is now once again as popular as it was so long ago

when some anonymous genius created it.

croatian Gastronomy

11

BuzEt, a small,

old town situatEd

inland, cElEBratEs

thE BEGinninG

of thE trufflE

sEason with a

GiGantic omElEttE.


02

varner


To The Curious gasTronome kvarner

from the livestock grazing on mountain, coastal and island meadows.

and these are only some of the attractions, to which we must add snails, frogs,

honey, and for many the highest ace of Croatian gastronomy, lamb in all

its delectable variations, from Pag, Cres, Krk, Rab and other areas... This is

also the area where the best scampi in the Adriatic are caught and prepared.

Among the many compliments given to them is that which claims no other

scampi in the world can compare to them!

It is therefore logical that with such ingredients it was here in the

Kvarner cluster that modern Croatian cuisine was being created in the

second half of the 20th century. Today, some of the leading restaurants

in our country, given a prominent place in the leading world guides, can

be found here.

TourisT Board of The CounTy

of primorje - gorski koTar

n. tesle 2, p.p. 52, 51410 opatija

tel.: +385 51 272 988

fax: +385 51 272 909

E-mail: kvarner@kvarner.hr

www.kvarner.hr

for a detailed list of county tourist

Boards, please refer to page 54.

is a site of most varied opportunities. from the

mountain of učka in the direction of dalmatia, it is a continuation of istria. the

largest croatian islands (cres and Krk) form a part of this cluster, as do the

mountain massifs in the regions of Gorski kotar. first class fish, crabs and other

frutti di mare are readily available in the markets, side by side with “frutti di

forest”: mushrooms, wild fruit, game, and to round if all off here one can savour

some of the best cheeses in this country, made from cow, sheep and goat milk

m a r u n i

Growing in the foothills of Uèka, is the famous

chestnut tree known as Lovranski marun, that is,

the marron of Lovran, whose fruit is most commonly

eaten roasted. Come their season sometime

in October Lovran holds its traditional festivity,

Marunada, when gastronomy is devoted to the sweet

chestnut. In the streets they are eaten roasted, but in

restaurants a range of dishes both sweet and savoury,

including chestnut soup, are prepared.

f r o G s

Although frogs of excellent quality are found in

several locations throughout Croatia, the inhabitants

of Lokve in Gorski kotar are renowned for

their particular fondness for frogs. These are best

towards the end of April, during the �abarska

noæ (Night of Frogs) when the finest frog is

“elected” and when some very specific dishes

can be savoured, particularly “frogs a la Lokve”:

frog legs stewed with snails and local wild mushrooms,

served with boiled potatoes or polenta.

d o r m o u s E

Few people outside the Kvarner area know that

croatian Gastronomy

13


02

lamBs rEarEd

on thE islands

of thE northErn

adriatic, and

from thE hintErland

of vElEBit,

arE spit-roastEd

in many rEstaurants

found

alonGsidE thE

road.

kvarner

Frutti di

mare and

fish are a

dominant

feature in

restaurants

along the

shores.

the dormouse is the gastro-specialty of this region. Today,

the uninitiated tend to look at them askance, but recipes

for their preparation can be found as

long ago as Apicius’ collection of recipes.

Nowadays, their flesh is mostly fried or

spit-roasted. The most delectable of all

is a young dormouse cooked over charcoal,

sometimes coated with corn flour.

Older ones are prepared in goulash and

served with polenta. Dormouse is served

in Kastav, Liganj, Lovranska Draga...

On Whit Sunday (one week after St.

Michael’s Day, September 29th) when

the hunting season opens the dormouse

becomes a gastronomic delicacy of the

first order.

u d i č

Salted leg of an older lamb or a sheep is

hung to dry in the bora (north wind), and

sometimes allowed to smoke for a brief

period. On Cres, leg of lamb thus prepared

is called udiè and is one of the

lesser known pearls of Croatian rural

gastronomy. The same method is also

practised around Dubrovnik, particularly

in Konavle.

GroBnički sir

Grobnièki sir, or cheese from the Grobnik range, is produced

from milk of sheep which graze on the mountain meadows

of Gorski kotar, in the villages above the Grobnik range.

14 croatian Gastronomy

This large cylinder cheese does not come in any uniform

shape since it is shaped by hand, without pressing. It can

weigh up to 20 kg. This is a distinctly salty cheese, which is

why in Rijeka they call it just that: salty cheese.

c h E E s E s o f t h E

K v a r n E r i s l a n d s

Grazing on the north Adriatic islands is very distinct, and

it yields a readily identifiable aromatic sheep milk. On the

island of Krk, people produce a small cheese weighing less

than half a kilo, locally known as formajela. Around Vrbnik

it is usually spherical, while above Baška it is square. If not

sold in its fresh form it is kept in olive oil for up to a year.

On the islands of Cres and Lošinj, cheese is larger and usually

with a higher fat content. Sometimes it is coated with the

residue of olives which remains after the oil has been pressed out

it is in this arEa that thE BEst scampi of thE

adriatic arE cauGht and prEparEd.


a dElicacy madE of thin pastry and

fruit.

of them, and sometimes, although more rarely, it is smoked.

On the island of Rab cheeses are made still larger.

These cheeses can weigh over two kg, and are considerably

harder than the cheese produced on the more northerly

islands of Kvarner.

m i n e š t r a o f k o r o m a č a

Thick vegetable soups were, to a great degree, born out of

poverty, but that is precisely the reason why they are such

excellent examples of folk culinary genius, particularly in the

areas along the coast and on the islands. The old recipe used

on Lošinj is one such example of a dish which once was a

pauper’s meal but is today being sought after by knowledgeable

connoisseurs. Potato and soaked beans are cooked until

the soup reaches the desired thickness; carrots, parsley and

garlic are added, followed by finely chopped panceta (meaty

thE maroni, or

rathEr, swEEt

chEstnuts,

arE BEst EatEn

roastEd.

frEshly picKEd BluEBErriEs, rasBErriEs,

BlacKBErriEs, wild strawBErriEs,

currants…

a sEa-Bass fillEt in a saucE of

rosEmary and whitE winE

First class fish, crabs and other frutti di mare are

readily available in the markets, side by side with

“frutti di forest”: mushrooms, wild fruit, game...

bacon) and finally, young shoots of koromaè, (fennel) to

imbue the dish with its wonderful, aromatic fragrance.

Š u r l i c E

The inhabitants of the island of Krk take great pride in

their indigenous type of pasta, šurlice. It is not unlike the

Istrian fu�i, but more elongated and thinner, and is most

often served with thick meat gravies or frutti di mare sauces.

When a dish is prepared with lamb, as in Baška or, for

special occasions, with game, a palatable everyday meal

becomes a memorable gastronomic experience. The custom

of preparing šurlice in catering establishments has also

been preserved in Dobrinj, a charming small town in the

interior of the island of Krk.

croatian Gastronomy

15

thE huGEly

apprEciatEd

caKEs and

othEr dEsErts

madE of thE

maroni, or

rathEr swEEt

chEstnut of

lovran

BrodEtto

prEparEd

with anGlEr,

is a spEcialty

madE from

fish, onions,

tomatoEs,

carrots and

winE, and is a

vEry popular

dish up and

down thE coast.


lika — karlovac

03


The ConsTruCTion of new, modern roads

ountaineering, recreational tourism linked to mountain streams, rivers

and lakes (notably, rafting, canoeing and canyoning), mountain cycling,

numerous paths through the protected environments of national parks

and nature parks – which include the world renown Plitvice Lakes – have

made Lika a delightfull discovery even for Croatian tourists.

The centuries of neglect are now proving themselves to have been the

guardians of an exceptional comparative advantage that the wide expanse

of pristine nature has to offer. Among other things, the appreciation for

the local gastronomy is growing at a pace. The selection of rustic tradition

is presenting itself in the new light, indeed, it is being seen in the

new light. Aimed at a true connoisseur – its recipes not being the result

of the chef’s tricks of the trade but of the top quality food-stuffs that

meet the highest of ecological standards – this

gastronomy is based on indigenous, wild growing

plants, particularly mushrooms and fruit of the

forest. Up to now the vast majority of mushrooms

– boletus of Lika and chanterelle – were

exported, for instance to Italy, and sold there as

the best Italian mushrooms. New collection stations

and drying facilities have enabled the forest

mushrooms of Lika to become an appreciated

brand among the connoisseurs.

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of karlovaC

Karlovac, a. vraniczanya 6,

47000 Karlovac

tel.: +385 47 615 320

fax: +385 47 601 415,

E-mail: info@tzkz.hr; www.tzkz.hr

for a detailed list of county tourist

Boards, please refer to page 54.

in croatia has brought to the forth the

mountainous region of lika which has been neglected for many years. and while

the new roads opened up new and impressive vistas, the old ones – the traffic

loads and traffic jams now out of their way – were presented with the opportuni-

m

ty to provide services in tune with their unpolluted natural surroundings.

Milk and dairy products, made primarily from

cow and sheep milk, bring all the qualities of the

first class grazing, at times superior even to grazing

offered by the Alpine meadows. The same

can safely be said about the fish and crabs, be

they from streams or lakes. The fishing grounds

for trout and some other fresh water fish are

regarded as one of the most favoured destinations

at the global level, and within that context

Gacka is a trully mythical name. Roe obtained

from the Lika trout has been recognized as the

new delicacy which attracts both gourmands and

gourmets with its appearance and its golden coppery

colour, not to say anything about its flavour.

Dried and briefly smoke-cured fillets of the Lika

croatian Gastronomy

17


03

GacKa rivEr

lika—karlovac

trout are now being vacuum-packed and are becoming

available at the wider market.

The very water in which these fish and crabs find their

habitat is itself a first rate gastronomic attraction. Almost

all water flowing through Lika are not only potable, but

are also rated among mineral and spring waters of superb

quality. More and more of it is now being bottled and

offered at local and foreign markets. And more and more

chefs are now using water of such fine quality to prepare

all stews and soupy dishes, such as the famous Lièki lonac

(or rather the Lika Stew) which will, it has to be said, be

at its best when prepared with meat from cattle grazed

on the local meadows, with vegetables grown in the local

18 croatian Gastronomy

frittErs: vEry

simplE and tasty,

traditional

dElicacy of liKa

ŠKripavac, or as somE would say, “squEaKy”

chEEsE madE of cow milK, saltEd and driEd.

soil and under the local climate conditions, and of course,

cooked in the waters of Lika.

The return to the roots of gastronomy in Lika sends a

special message: quench your thirst with fresh spring water,

stay your hunger with a flat-bread made from wheat freshly

ground in a water-mill, fortify yourself with plum-brandy

„baked“ and nurtured from home-grown plums. And all


BrEad: BrEad BaKEd undEr a pEKa – a

hEavy mEtal or cEramic lid – on an

opEn hEarth.

those are experiences of fundamental quality not easily

forgotten by a gastronome worthy of the name.

thE liKa potato

The protection of the geographic origin

of the Lika potato is a good example of

the validation of culinary skills. The

optimum quality of unpolluted soil,

the altitude, the climatic conditions

and the variety selection, result in

a readily identifiable, superb quality

potato which has now, finally,

been branded in an appropriate

manner. This has been a salvation

from oblivion for some of the simple

dishes of the region, such as the Lièke

pole, or as some would say “potato

halves”. Potatoes of larger and medium

size are washed and sliced in half,

unpeeled. Each half is hollowed out, a cube

of bacon is placed into the potato, and potatoes

are then baked – best results are achieved

if they are baked in a bread oven or under a peka

(a domed, cast iron lid that is placed over food and

covered with live coal). They go particularly well with

Basa, frEsh chEEsE - madE from cow

or shEEp milK - is a spEcialty of liKa.

The selection of rustic tradition is

presenting itself in the new light.

lamB and potato BaKEd undEr a pEKa – a hEavy

mEtal or cEramic lid – Known spEcialty of liKa.

soured sheep milk or semi-hard cheese locally known as

škripavac (squeaky).

t h E l i K a f r E s h - w a t E r

fish soup

An excellent example of a new and modern dish that

blends well with the local culinary tradition is the cream

fresh-water fish soup. The Lika trout is filleted, and meat is

taken from the tails of river crabs. Heads, bones, shells and

pincers, with the addition of onion and a whole potato,

are covered with water and allowed to boil to a stock. The

soup is then strained and puréed with the potato. The trout

fillets and crab meat are placed into the soup and boiled

briefly, a dash of butter and a sprig or two of fresh wildgrowing

herb like wild chives or bear’s garlic are added.

The soup can also be made with

trout only.

mushrooms from GorsKi Kotar and

liKa arE a sourcE of GrEat plEasurE

for connoissEurs and ExpErts aliKE.

croatian Gastronomy

19

sauErKraut and

smoKE-driEd

mEat, a traditional

dish in

liKa, prEparEd

mostly in thE

wintEr months.


almatia

zadar

04


norThern dalmaTia lies in The CenTre

of the croatian part of the adriatic. islands, coastal

areas and the hinterland provide everything that goes to make mediterranean

cuisine one of the most popular in the world. it is just as highly regarded by

doctors who research healthy diets, and among the most reputable

gastro-critics in search of strong, perfectly balanced flavours.

the two opposites of the Mediterranean clime are found in the Zadar region:

bare rocky countryside where only the most sturdy of medicinal plants of

the Kornati islands will grow and on which only the hardiest livestock,

sheep, goats, donkeys, game and even bees can live, and the rich, fertile

land of Ravni kotari, from where the most sought after fruit and vegetables

arrive to the markets of Croatia.

And it is in this unique area that the best black sour cherry, the famous

maraska, grows. A natural environment of such generosity was bound to

inspire gastronomic geniuses to create top quality recipes, ranked among

which is undoubtedly the world renowned Maraschino liqueur. It has many

surrogates, but only in Zadar is the liqueur produced from the indigenous

Maraska black/sour cherry, in strict observance of an original process

devised three centuries ago.

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of Zadar

sv. leopolda B. mandića 1

23000 zadar;

tel.: +385 23 315 107

fax: +385 23 315 316

E-mail: tz-zd-zup@zd.t-com.hr

www.zadar.hr

s a r d i n E s

The largest fishing village on the Croatian

Adriatic is Kali, on the island of Ugljan. Kali

fishermen catch all types of fish but the basis

of both their trade and of fishing in general on

the Croatian Adriatic is the sardine. It ranks

among the most inexpensive of fish, but often

also among the most highly rated. For most

fishermen, and other connoisseurs, there is no

better fish dish than the modest sardine, but only

if the sardine meets a crucial criterion: that it is

prepared and eaten for elevenses in the morning

after the night it is caught. Due to its cyclic

movement, the sardine is most difficult to catch

during summer months, but according to experts

it is in that very same period that this little fish is

at its most delicious.

In addition to being grilled fresh there are

two other ways most frequently used to prepare

sardines: salt-pickled or marinated. Of late,

however, young Croatian chefs have demonstrated

that sardines can be a part of a meal

served to the most fastidious customers. Usually,

croatian Gastronomy

21


04

swiss chard,

toGEthEr with

miŠanca - a mixturE

of wild-Grown

GrEEn plants - is

thE BEst sidE dish

for fish.

Marachino liqueur

is prepared from the

finest variety of black

cherry - the famous

Maraska of Zadar.

dalmatia

Zadar

the spine is removed from

a fresh sardine, which is

then dipped into a variety

of breaded mixtures with

aromatic herbs, briefly

fried and served with

freshly-made light vegetable

sauces.

t h E c h E E s E

o f p a G

The most highly acclaimed

cheese in Croatia is Paški sir,

the cheese from the island of

Pag. Sheep bred on this island

are among the smallest in the

whole of the Mediterranean and therefore

their milk yield is low, but it is the result of

the meagre grazing abounding with medicinal

herbs. The fierce bora swoops down from Velebit,

whipping up the salty waters of the sea and blowing

them across these meadows, which at times become

white with salt, as if snow covered. Consequently, the

milk that these sheep give is naturally salty and needs no

additional salt. Cheese produced on this island, particularly

in the cheese dairy in Kolan, has in recent

years won the highest awards at prestigious

exhibitions in the Mediterranean.

It is in such demand that it is sold after a

maturing period of only a few months. On

rare occasions is it allowed to mature for

a year or more and it is undoubtedly one

of the finest sheep cheeses in the world.

The quality of sheep milk from Pag is such

that its curd is also regarded as a first

class specialty. The whey remaining after

curdled fresh cheese has been removed is

heated and gently cooked, bringing to the

surface a product resembling fresh clotted

cheese, locally known as puina. It is

excellent when served with home-cooked

polenta or pasta, and makes a delicious

dessert when mixed with Pag honey, and

when used as filling for pancakes.

B r u d E t

Brudet, brujet, brodet or, if you will, brodetto,

is the most common dish on the Croatian

Adriatic, but it is especially loved throughout

Dalmatia. In the Zadar, Šibenik and Split clusters

culinary skills are measured against one’s ability to excel in

the preparation of brudet. The magic of a good brudet is that

it makes the types of fish normally regarded as nothing spe-

22 croatian Gastronomy

cial reveal their hidden, unexpected

qualities when combined with others

in a finely balanced blend.

The criterion of a fisherman’s brudet is the most practical

one: it is made from the fish caught on the day, or

night. It is difficult, indeed practically impossible, to list all

the variations of this dish. The basis of the recipe is onion

fried in olive oil, to which small fish are added whole, while

larger ones are cut into pieces, followed by vegetables,

spices, herbs, wine, prosecco, wine vinegar, and even sea

water. The key condition for a good brudet is that it is made

of several types of fish. The sequence in which individual

types of fish are added is also important; indeed, bearing in

mind the texture of their meat it can be crucial to the final

Brudet, Brujet, Brodet or as some would say,

BrodEtto, is thE most popular fish dish on thE

croatian adriatic, and is particularly apprEciatEd

in dalmatia. thE numBEr of its variations arE many.


thE adriatic sEa aBounds in many

typEs of shEllfish: mussEls, arK

shEll, oystErs...

result, i.e. its flavour.

In order to improve the flavour still further, many cooks

like to add an occasional crab, or at least some shellfish.

In the past the island of Zlarin was famous for its lobster

brudet; in Skradin it is made from eels. Undoubtedly,

though, the most curious is the brudet known as falši, which

contains no fish, no crabs and no shellfish – only vegetables

and spices, and a stone taken from the sea!

l j u t i k a

Among connoisseurs, ljutika, a particular type of onion, is

highly prized for its rich, full flavoured taste, while at the

same time being less heavy on one’s stomach than other

types of onion. In some areas of the Zadar, Šibenik and

Split clusters, as well as in some other parts of the coastal

region, ljutika is pickled in wine vinegar, the onion being

unpeeled because it retains its true flavour much better and

soup prEparEd with lEntils, chicK-pEas

and frEsh vEGEtaBlEs is a nourishinG and

tasty introduction to any midday mEal

fish roastEd ovEr hot coals is a

Gastronomic dElicacy par ExcEllEncE.

For most fishermen and the true

connoisseur, there is no better fish than

the popular pilchard.

they last longer, but peeled when they need to be pickled

faster. In these parts of Croatia ljutika is of exceptional quality

and really comes into its own in a brudet.

croatian Gastronomy

23

ljutika, a particular

typE of

onion, mild and

rich in flavour,

is oftEn picKlEd

in rEd winE

vinEGar.

srdEla, or

pilchards,

thE chEap-

Est of fish, is

frEquEntly

most apprEciatEd

- and whEn

prEparEd By

ExpErts it is

a top ranGE

dElicacy.


almatia

05

šibenik


The landsCape of The ŠiBenik region

is described as a unique monument of nature

within which man has created superb monuments of culture that are ranked

among the top of the list of world heritage: like Šibenik cathedral, a work by the

e

xtending from the canyon, waterfalls and the mouth of the River Krka

to the Kornati archipelago are areas which constitute the most beautiful

and most lovingly preserved national parks of Croatia. If one were to be

pressed to sum up the description and experience of the magic of the

Croatian landscape in one single place, then Skradin is a good choice.

Skradin is a town nestling beneath the Krka waterfalls, where the river

meets the sea. Mystics come here to meditate on the power of nature,

while some of the world’s wealthiest people come here seeking hidden

berths for their yachts, as Bill Gates has been doing for years.

The art of the gastronomy of these parts is just as obsessive and links

some of the oldest traditions not only of this area but of food preparation

in general, with dishes that are found on the most popular menus

of luxury restaurants in the world. Here, one

can still find mišni sir, whose preparation dates

back to the very beginnings of cooking: milk

which has curdled naturally in a sheepskin. Or

wild oysters enjoyed by man today in the same

way as his predecessors, of long, long ago. Pick

them from the sea, open them and swallow

them with a sigh of unadulterated pleasure.

Grilled fish, prepared simply but with great

care, are offered in the same restaurants where

one can savour the unique Skradin risotto

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of ŠiBenik - knin

fra n.ružića bb; 22000 šibenik

tel.: +385 22 219 072

fax: +385 22 212 346

E-mail: info@sibenikregion.com

www.sibenikregion.com

master builder juraj dalmatinac (Georgius dalmaticus).

which, almost like an alchemist’s ritual, takes

12 hours to prepare, and in which meat fibres

are gently transformed into quite new gastronomic

substances.

sir iz miŠinE /

m i Š n i s i r

In the mountainous hinterland of the Zadar,

Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik clusters, cheese

made from sheep milk is produced following the

ancient method: it is allowed to age in a sheepskin.

It is not shaped into any particular form,

but comes in small grainy lumps and is delivered

to markets in the sheepskins in which it has

croatian Gastronomy

25


05

GrillEd fish will

rElEasE its full

flavour only if wE

BastE it usinG a

twiG of rosEmary

dippEd in olivE oil.

dalmatia

šibenik

matured, which lends it a strong, distinct and memorable

flavour. It is best when enjoyed as a part of a simple meal:

with flatbread or bread baked under peka (an earthenware

or metal lid, covered with live coals) accompanied

by strong, red Dalmatian wine.

KumBasicE

Kumbasice are what the folk in Skradin call their sausages.

Coarsely minced pork meat is combined with minced beef; the

mixture is seasoned with nutmeg and specially prepared garlic:

white Dalmatian wine is spiced with garlic and added to the

mince. The sausages are gently smoked and then hung out to

dry in the bora. They are an essential part of many dishes, but

can also be grilled while being basted with olive oil.

s o P a r n j a k

This is a popular folk dish which hails from northern parts

of the Šibenik and Split regions. Thin strudel pastry is

stuffed with a mixture of Swiss chard, olives, figs and olive

oil, rolled and baked (most often in a baker’s oven) and

normally eaten cold. A campaign is now under way by the

26 croatian Gastronomy

restaurants of Šibenik and its surroundings to save this

excellent dish from oblivion.

anothEr spEcialty is food - such as mEat or fish,

or EvEn BrEad - prEparEd undEr a pEKa - a spEcial

lid madE EithEr of cast iron or clay and covErEd

with livE coals, which is also found in dalmatia.


in dalmatia almonds arE usEd not

only for caKEs But also for savoury

dishEs.

ž i ž u l a

�i�ula, Zizyphus jujube, or jujube, growing wild and requiring

no special care, is greatly appreciated by people living

in the Zadar and Šibenik areas. It would probably be just as

popular among tourists, except for the fact that it arrives on

the markets after the summer season, and almost the entire

frEsh tuna fish cauGht in thE sEas

around thE Kornati archipElaGo is

idEal for GrillinG or for carpaccio.

crop is consumed fresh, thus giving diligent housewives no

opportunity to turn them into a more permanent preserve,

such as jam.

In Istria the fruit are immersed in rakia, with the addition

of a small amount of sugar, and left for two weeks in the sun, a

process which transforms the rakia into a delicious liqueur.

the local PoPulation enjoys their

shellfish just as much as did their

forEfathErs down thE cEnturiEs.

In the hinterland of Šibenik sir iz mišine, produced in the

traditional way - allowing sheep milk to cure in

sheep skin sacks - is still a treasured specialty.

croatian Gastronomy

27

harmony of

tradition and

thE modErn way

of lifE: sandwichEs

with homEcurEdprosciutto,

chEEsE and

tomatoEs.

fiGs - a fruit

of southErn

climEs,

dElicious Both

frEsh and

driEd.


almatia

06

split


The people of spliT have a very simple

but very convincing argument when claiming

superiority for the beauties of their city and its surroundings: Emperor diocletian

had the whole of the roman Empire from which to choose a place for his

magnificent palace. the location he chose is today’s split, its very heart, and the

r

source of its urban character, the palace, remains to this day.

ising behind Split are the mountain massifs of Mosor and Biokovo,

their peaks often snow-swept, which nevertheless blunt the most fierce

onslaughts of the bora. Lying in front of it are the islands of Braè, Šolta,

Èiovo and, in the distance, Hvar and Vis, the sunniest of all the islands. A

wise man was the Emperor. Nature presents itself here in all its splendour

and generosity. Before him, the Greeks cultivated the grapevine and olives

on the Dalmatian islands, while those who did not wish to work the land

turned to hunting, gathering and fishing: fresh and sea water crabs and fish,

frogs and shellfish, mushrooms, blackberries and a variety of other berries,

wild-growing edible plants... The continuity of Dalmatian gastronomy is

impressive even by the criteria of the demanding Mediterranean cuisine.

And what Emperor Diocletian enjoyed in his time has been preserved for

us to enjoy, except that this bounty has been still

further enhanced by the best ideas of generations

of chefs. Principles of what is known as Dalmatian

minimalism are being strictly observed: top quality

ingredients, first and foremost the best types of

fish, are prepared in the shortest and the simplest

of ways – boiled, grilled or fried – so as not to

impair in any way the perfection of the natural

flavours of dory, dentex, gilthead or red mullet. At

the same time recipes were created, and endlessly

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of spliT - dalmaTia

Prilaz braće kaliterna 10/i,

p.p. 430, 21000 split

tel.: +385 21 490 032; 490 033

fax: +385 21 490 032; 490 033

E-mail: info@dalmatia.hr

www.dalmatia.hr

modified and perfected, which required a slow

process of preparation over several days, with

complex mixtures of spices, such as, for instance,

pašticada.

p a Š t i c a d a

In the hand-written cookery books of individual

families in Split, which are handed down and

added to from generation to generation, there can

be found as many as 20 or so different recipes for

one dish: pašticada. This is a meat dish the preparation

of which takes, in accordance with old

recipes, days of patient preparation even before

it comes close to the stove. In the first phase,

meat is marinated in wine vinegar flavoured with

croatian Gastronomy

29


06

dalmatias plit

Vis is the island

of capers - they

seem to grow

on almost every

stone by the sea.

different herbs. Pašticada is prepared from

beef or yearling beef, mostly the muscle

locally known as orah (walnut), although

horse meat and large game are also

used with equal success. In the second

phase, the meat is well browned on all

sides, and in the third phase it is gently

stewed in gravy containing dried fruit,

predominantly prunes, and a number of

spices such as cloves, nutmeg, laurel leaf,

pepper, with the addition of a little wine

and prosecco being added from time to

time. Old recipes insist that the dish not

be eaten immediately after it is cooked,

however long and over however gentle

a heat it had been cooked. Pašticada, the

old masters will tell us, must be allowed to

cool slowly, be cut into chunks, browned

again and only then served in its own

strained juices.

Gnocchi, normally served with pašticada, must be cooked

just prior to being served. Although traditional pašticadas

have a very strong, full bodied flavour, it is not uncommon

to grate some hard sheep cheese over the gnocchi.

sEaGull EGGs

Come springtime, the people of Lastovo visit the surround-

30 croatian Gastronomy

Viška PoGača (flat Bread from Vis) is a traditional

dElicacy from thE island of vis: BrEad stuffEd

with tomatoEs and onion, and somEtimEs with

picKlEd pilchards.

ing islets, reefs and rocks in search of seagull eggs. An

omelette made from seagull eggs is a quite unique dish; it is

actually regarded as a fish meal, although no fish is added

to it. The bird practically lives on a diet of small fish, which

lends a specific flavour to its eggs. The omelette matches

perfectly with capers.

l u G a n i G E

Luganige are the famous sausages from the Sinj area, but also

known in Split and Šibenik, where they are an obligatory part

of Christmas holiday festive feasts. Luganige are made from a

mixture of pork and lamb stuffed into lamb or sheep intestines,

but what makes them special are the spicings: lemon juice and

grated rind, pepper, coriander, cinnamon and garlic juice. The

traditional way in which these sausages are served in Sinj is

somewhat curious: fried with rice cooked in chicken stock. In

Šibenik they are cooked in beef stock, and the mouth-watering

aroma of luganige being prepared heralds a festive lunch.

s m u t i c a

Reaching us from ancient times, possibly even from the

pre-Slavic era, is the method of souring milk with wine and

wine vinegar still practiced on some Dalmatian islands, Braè

and Hvar in particular, which has developed into a very

specific drink. A sheep and a nanny goat are milked directly

into a glass half-filled with red wine, the result being a foamy

beverage locally known as smutica, bikla or ðonkata. This is a

favourite elixir of life which restores strength and good mood

to the tired and the weary.

inhaBitants of vis picKlE motar (crythmum maritimum

l., family of fEnnEl), or rocK samphirE, a

mEditErranEan plant with succulEnt lEavEs, in

wine VineGar, just as they do with caPers.


hvarsKa GrEGada, a sort of BrudEt a

spEciality of thE island of hvar.

G a s t r o n o m y o f t h E

c E t i n a

The business people of the world have discovered the beauty

of the canyons of the Cetina. They come to enjoy, through

them and around them, rafting, canoeing, riding, running,

cycling, even parachuting. All those together combined

make for a perfect team spirit-building exercise involving

extreme effort. The base for this unique exercise of body and

soul is Trilj, and its catering establishments are more than

prepared to restore exhausted businessmen with a range of

first class culinary attractions. The sparklingly clear waters

of the Cetina River are a perfect habitat for fresh crayfish,

trout and frogs. Trout, larger crabs and frog legs are grilled;

smaller varieties usually being set aside for buzara or brudet.

But there are also special recipes, such as fried frog legs

wrapped in slices of prosciutto, flavoured with rosemary and

then slightly cooked with the addition of red wine.

Similar natural and gastronomic attractions

are provided by the River

Zrmanja.

octopus inK lEnds not only an

unusual colour to a risotto, But

also a vEry spEcial tastE.

just as in the olden days: shellfish

GrillEd ovEr pinE nEEdlEs.

The continuity of Dalmatian gastronomy is

quite something, even when compared to the

demanding Mediterranean cuisine.

croatian Gastronomy

31

prosciutto, particularly

that

curEd in istria and

dalmatia, stands

shouldEr to

shouldEr with its

italian EquivalEnt.

dalmatian cuisinE

is inconcEivaBlE

without BrodEtto,

a soupy Kind of

dish prEparEd

with fish, carrots,

tomatoEs and

winE, and most

frEquEntly sErvEd

with polEnta.


almatia

07

dubrovnik


survey polls and experienCe have shown

that there are large numbers of people in

the world who have not heard of croatia, but have heard of dubrovnik. when

people catch their first sight of the city, be it from a plane, car or ship, the view

t

TourisT Board of The CounTy

of duBrovnik - nereTva

cvijete Zuzorić 1/i, p.p. 259,

20000 dubrovnik

tel.: +385 20 324 999

fax: +385 20 324 224

E-mail: info@visitdubrovnik.hr

www.visitdubrovnik.hr

etches itself into their memory.

he incredible feeling for urban harmony, the power of creation which

enabled man to complete its construction, begun by the fierce geomorphology

of the Mediterranean, possesses the same power to amaze as

it did centuries ago, combined with the miracle of survival that has

survived wars, earthquakes, fires and epidemics. The genius of the people

of Dubrovnik has manifested itself in all fields of human endeavour,

including gastronomy. The mighty, redoubtable walls of Dubrovnik and

the Republic had their counterpoint in the high mobility, investigative,

mercantile and adventurous spirit of the mariners of Dubrovnik and their

fascinating fleet of elegant sailing ships, at times unrivalled anywhere

in the world. Notwithstanding all the benefits of the clime and the soil

around Dubrovnik, on the Pelješac peninsula and the nearby islands,

the Republic’s mariners never returned from

their voyages without seeds, plants, spices and,

yes, culinary ideas, from distant exotic lands. It

can therefore come as no surprise to learn that

culinary multiculturalism has been practiced in

Dubrovnik for centuries. In the contemporary

catering of this particular area, this wonderful

tradition is reflected in a wide range, from the

popular cuisine prepared over an open fire or

on a grill, found in the villages of Konavle, to

the most luxurious dishes served in the finest

restaurants where meals are enhanced by the

view of the city walls.

chEEsE of duBrovniK

In the surroundings of Dubrovnik there is a tradition

of producing hard sheep milk cheese formed

into small, flat cakes. During the maturing period

it is regularly doused with olive oil. Indeed, many

Dubrovnik restaurants keep on their shelves large

glass containers in which these little cheeses are

stored in olive oil.

thE nErEtva Estuary

The wild, striking features of the Neretva River are so

croatian Gastronomy

33


07

rožata, othErwisE

Known as

crEmE caramEl,

is a traditional

dEssErt of

duBrovniK,

madE from EGGs

and caramEl.

Paradižet, a

Dubrovnik variation

of "floating islands"

- that famous dessert

of Viennese cuisine.

dalmatia

dubrovnik

amazing that the visitor, cruising through the labyrinth

of its backwaters, would undoubtedly be prepared

to settle for a modest sandwich just to be able

to concentrate on the constant changes

of landscape around him. But it has

to be made quite clear that the

estuary of this river is just as

much a paradise on Earth for

gastronomes, for its land and

its subterranean region, its

waters and its air are replete

with species simply made

for an incredible culinary

pleasure.

The first attraction

undoubtedly is the eel, the

enjoyment of which dates as far

back as the times of the Roman

emperors, Vespasian in particular, as the

archaeological finds in the

village of Vid tell us. Its flavour is

guaranteed first and foremost by the waters

in which it lives; visitors are not a little

surprised to see a fisherman reaching down

to drink the water on which he is sailing and

fishing. Eels being snakelike, swift, slippery

and crafty, qualities they amply prove by

the fact of their incredible survival, from

their spawning grounds in the Sargasso

Sea to their habitat in the Neretva estuary,

catching them takes a great deal of skill

and experience. The largest examples are

always the females, males usually being half

their size. Throughout the autumn eels are

bigger and fatter, and for most connoisseurs

those caught in spring are more appreciated.

However, it is the very fat of the eel

that guarantees the juicy texture of meat

when prepared by a master. Probably the

best way of preparing eels is on a small spit

with 5-10 cm-long pieces skewered onto it.

The fat melts slowly, soaking into muscles,

and the surplus drains off. Eels can also be

grilled, or prepared in a brodetto. In this

red-coloured dish eels are often accompanied

by frogs, which are another great gastronomic attraction

of the estuary. Wild ducks and coots round off this list.

t h E o y s t E r s o f s t o n

Debates on which are the best oysters in the world are endless

– it is difficult to establish a final set of criteria. Among the

candidates are certainly the oysters of Ston. And while the final

appraisal is subjective, there are, nevertheless, some objective

34 croatian Gastronomy

criteria that set the oysters of Ston apart from the competition

and make them distinct. The sea currents in its environment

carry large quantities of minerals, the traces of which impart a

very elegant and unique flavour. On the other, northern, end of

the Croatian Adriatic the oysters of the Lim canal have made a

name for themselves. Connoisseurs, for their part, do their best

to, along with the cultivated ones, acquire wild oysters. Especially

attractive are the oysters from the mouth of the Krka River where

it flows into the Adriatic Sea. In Croatia, along with the treat

of eating raw oysters, the younger generation of chefs is serving

them batter-fried, grilled, in soups and as an oyster risotto.

in thE surroundinGs of duBrovniK shEEp milK has BEEn

usEd for thE production of chEEsE for cEnturiEs.


aisin, driEd GrapE – a tastE of... thE nErEtva rivEr rEGion is a truE

hEavEn for any connoissEur of finE

food.

frutti di marE risotto is a must on thE

mEnus of rEstaurants and tavErns.

The ingenious folk of Dubrovnik have

demonstrated their abilities in many fields,

including gastronomy.

EvEry Kind of

fish, prEparEd

By an ExpErt,

providEs a tastE

to rEmEmBEr.

B u t a r G a

Butarga is a fish extract, a powerful concentrate of proteins

and hormones prepared by drying the roe of the grey

mullet. It is highly valued not only because it is scarce, but

because its consumption, even in small quantities, boosts

life’s energies and vitality, and it is therefore attributed

with powerful aphrodisiac properties. At the beginning

of August, mullet from the Neretva estuary start out on

their course for the Pelješac peninsula, always on the

same day and always along the same route. On Pelješac,

buterga is savoured in one way only: thinly sliced, and

accompanied by bread and wine. Buterga slices resemble

ducats, and that is how they are valued too! Alongside the

oysters of Ston, butarga is the most outstanding specialty

of Pelješac and the Bay of Ston. Butarga slowly melts in

the mouth, releasing waves of

powerful flavour and providing

a unique experience not

readily forgotten.

thE old marKEt

in thE cEntrE of

town.


lavonia

08


ThroughouT hisTory The role of slavonia

has always been to feed croatia. the fertile

pannonian plain, with its unparalleled agricultural potentials, has attracted

civilizations since prehistory. Generous land yielded riches, riches gave rise to the

development of culture, and an environment of high culture was an ideal

place for gastronomy to flourish, as it has done for thousands of years. powerful

influences from the East and the west were resolved through confrontations

a

on the battlefield, but also through cohabitation in the kitchen.

TourisT Board of The CounTy

of osijek - Baranja

Kapucinska 40, 31000 osijek

tel.: +385 31 214 852

fax: +385 31 214 853

E-mail: info@tzosbarzup.hr

www.tzosbarzup.hr

combination of Austro-Hungarian, Oriental and indigenous Croatian

gastronomic ideas amid strongly based agriculture has resulted in a

readily recognizable Slavonian cuisine based on top quality ingredients.

In addition to all the previously mentioned influences, which can be

accurately determined from the historical aspect, significant traces were

also left by the manner in which food was prepared back in nomadic

times and during the great migrations. Cooking in the open is still the

most popular form of Slavonian gastronomy, and it engenders a great

deal of passion, emotion and nostalgia. Sitting around a fire over which

a cauldron gently bubbles away, around barbecues and spits, with horses

and carriages not far away, on the banks of the Rivers Drava and Danube,

in the wetlands of Baranja, to the strains of violins and tambouritzas: now

that spells an atmosphere of some considerable

power! All of the brightest amongst the stars of

Slavonian gastronomy are the masters of dishes

prepared in a cauldron, a variety of fish and meat

paprikash, but they are just as good at preparing

dishes cooked on the spit, from the small, forked

spit used to cook a carp over hot coals, to the

more majestic, where oxen are slowly turned and

roasted throughout the night. Slavonia is indeed

for a detailed list of county tourist

Boards, please refer to page 54.

a cornucopia, which is equally generous in its

hospitality and where dishes are rarely cooked

for less than ten or more diners. The Slavonians

are a jolly lot; they enjoy company and their

gastronomy is simply tailored to that end.

K u l E n a n d

KulEnova sEKa

Kulen, or kulin, is the most prestigious, most

appreciated and yes, the most expensive sausagetype

product, not only in Slavonia but across

Croatia. The recipe to which it is made seems

very simple: the best parts of pork cleaned of

all fatty and connective tissue, ground paprika,

garlic and salt are the ingredients used to fill a

meticulously cleaned intestine. But as they say,

croatian Gastronomy

37


08

In Croatia the penny

bun has always been

the most treasured

among mushrooms,

and the local population

is skilled in

recognizing it.

all croatian

flour

oriGinatEs

from slavonia.

slavonia

it is not what but how something is made; every nuance

is important in the making of kulen and can be a crucial

factor at the Kuleniada – a national competition of the

grand masters of the makers of kulen.

The pig must not be too young, but

rather large, weighing over 180 kg. The

breeds most sought after are Mangulica

and the black Slavonian pig. Its diet is

the key to the quality of meat, the best

being from pigs allowed to freely roam the

forests and copses of Slavonia and feeding

on, among other things, acorn of the

famous Slavonian oak. It is believed, and

for quite a few it is the normal practice,

that the best results are achieved if meat

is chopped by hand rather than minced,

but there is also a school of compromise:

the best parts of meat are chopped by

hand for taste, while the rest is minced

in order to achieve the consistency that

kulen should possess. Garlic is usually

strained into the mixture. Of particular

importance is the right choice

of top quality ground paprika,

and the ratio of sweet and hot

paprika used, since it is this

spice which ultimately gives the

product a sharpness that is mild, noble and

in no way aggressive. The quantity of salt requires a precision

that allows for not the minutest mistake.

The prepared mixture is stuffed into different natural

casings, but the best for kulen is a meticulously cleaned and

treated blind gut of a pig. The secondary choices are the

bladder and the small intestine of a pig, or a large bovine’s

intestine. When the kulen mixture is stuffed into smaller

intestines it is known as kulenova

seka (kulen’s sister).

Kulen being a thick

sausage, and kulenova

seka also never

38 croatian Gastronomy

being a thin one, special care is required when filling the

casing; this has to proceed slowly and carefully, since a

single small air bubble can prove disastrous during the

curing period. Once the filling is completed the casing is

additionally salted in brine for up to five days; then, the

casing is rinsed well and tied in order to retain the traditional

shape even after a curing period of several moths.

If the winter is cold and dry kulen is smoked every third

day, if it is warm and damp, smoking is carried out every

day. The smoking period takes a month, or longer, until it

acquires a dark brown colour. The optimum curing period

in cold, airy premises, primarily attics, is about half a year,

but it is a longstanding tradition in Slavonia that kulen is

eaten at Easter. When the curing is completed, the kulen

is stored, and the best way of storing it is in cereal grain

or in bran. Discussions and squabbles extend from the

optimal methods of preparation, making, curing, storage

to serving; they are vigorous and never ending. While

most connoisseurs claim that kulen should be cut into

finger-thick slices, there are those who believe this to be

sacrilege and that this, the best of Croatian sausages,

can be fully savoured only if cut thinly and served on a

wooden platter.

v i n E y a r d G a s t r o n o m y

In recent years the famous wine producers of Slavonia

have won world acclaim, which has resulted in an

increased number of visits by gastronomes. Organized

groups arriving for wine tasting are also offered a

corresponding culinary array. This growing interest has

prompted the wine makers of Slavonia to launch their

own catering establishments.

f r E s h w a t E r f i s h a n d

fish papriKash

Carp and trout are the most

common freshwater fish


Good fish-papriKash must contain as

many typEs of fish as possiBlE.

frEshly Ground rEd papriKa as an

addition to frEsh cottaGE chEEsE - a

simply irrEsistiBlE comBination.

intEnsE, hot flavours arE a synonym

of slavonian Gastronomy.

Cooking in the open is just as popular in Slavonia

as it has always been, involving a great deal of

passion, emotions and even nostalgia.

slavonia is

also Known

for its many

typEs of

GrapE.

available on Croatian markets, since they are bred in a

number of fish farms. However, there are those who know

that the range of fish on offer is far more varied: catfish

and horned pout (liked for practical reasons because it

has no small bones, just the spine) can often be found in

continental fishmongers. Somewhat rarer is the very tasty

pike perch and pike. Rarely, one can chance upon tench,

a rather fatty but exquisitely flavoursome fish. Lately, in

Zagreb’s Dolac market it has been possible to obtain, at

more than reasonable prices, smoked common bream,

an extremely tasty fish but best appreciated by the more

patient connoisseur, as it is full of tiny bones. Eels cannot

be bred in captivity but they do appear in fishmongers’

shops. Among other types of fish found in clear and cold

rivers, which are of interest to gastronomes, is the grayling,

but one has to go out and catch it as it almost never

appears on the markets.

There is a fish dish known as paprikash, logically named

fish paprikash, regarded as one of the most outstanding

Slavonian specialties, but which can also be found

in Zagreb, particularly on Fridays. A good fish paprikas

demands as many types of fish as possible. It is prepared

in a small (or sometimes not so small) cauldron and

cooked over an open fire. Its main spice is paprika, hot

and sweet. Hungarians in Croatia are renowned producers

of top quality paprika, both ground and crushed. In the

vicinity of Vukovar, especially in the village of Èakovci

(not to be confused with the town of Èakovec), hot and

sweet paprika of the highest world quality is grown, dried,

crushed and ground.

s a l e n j a c i

Today, cakes made with pork fat seem like some distant

example of gastro-archaeology, but when those who today are

old were young, salenjaci were one of the most common desserts

in many parts of the Slavonian and Zagreb clusters. Flaky pastry

was made with minced fat, and stuffed with apricot or plum

jam, or with walnut filling, prior to baking.

podEranE Gać e

(rippEd pants)

Quite apart from their taste of traditional popular cakes,

poderane gaæe owe their survival in no small measure to their

highly memorable name. Rectangular-shaped cakes, the main

ingredients of which are flour, sugar and eggs, with a touch of

rum for a fulsome aroma, are nicked in two or three places

before being fried in hot oil, the finished article resembling a

ripped piece of cloth.

croatian Gastronomy

39

KulEn or Kulin -

thE most hiGhly

valuEd salami-typE

product of

slavonia.


central

croatia

09


CenTral CroaTia Borders wiTh hungary

in the north, slovenia to the west, with Bosnia

and herzegovina in the east, and in the south it approaches fairly

close to the adriatic sea. Geographical maps reflect an intricate combination

of ethnic influences out of which issued the culinary patterns of

small regions: Zagorje, Prigorje, međimurje, Banovina and at the southern

c

roatian language dialects spoken in these areas sometimes differ one from

another to such an extent that a foreigner is often led to believe that they

are in fact different languages. The same applies to the recipes which include

all the wealth of middle class, popular and rural cuisines. In the livestock

breeding areas to the south of the cluster

cuisine is based on simple dishes such as

polenta (localy known as pura) cooked

slowly in the hearth for hours and, when

done, soured milk, fresh cottage cheese

or butter is poured over it. Until recently

regarded as pauper’s fare, these dishes are

today highly regarded as rustic examples of

the culinary arts. Moving northwards, this

pastoral atmosphere at the south of this

cluster undergoes a complete change, as for

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of krapina - Zagorje

Zagrebačka 6, 49217 krapinske toplice

tel.: +385 49 233 653; fax: +385 49 233 653

E-mail: info@tz-zagorje.hr

www.tz-zagorje.hr

TourisT Board of The

CounTy of sisak-moslavina

s. i a. radića 28/ii; 44000 sisak;

tel.: +385 44 540 163

fax: +385 44 540 164

E-mail: tzsmz@email.t-com.hr

www.turizam-smz.hr

for a detailed list of county tourist

Boards, please refer to page 54.

edge of lika and Gorski kotar.

instance in Vara�din. This Baroque town

still preserves and maintains its tradition

of following the recipes of upper middle

class cuisine of the age of Baroque, clearly

evidenced in the way that game is prepared

and served with meticulously prepared

sauces. Castles and shepherd’s huts are the

dividing line, both the opposites and the

unity of cultural heritage, but also places

where today, picturesque restaurants have

opened their doors.

p r G a

The traditional cheese of Podravina,

which has recently been rescued from oblivion

and is now ever more frequently found

in town markets, is called prga, or prgica.

Several variations of its production are

known, the most common method being

as follows: strained fresh cottage cheese

is mixed with cream; salt and ground red

paprika are added, and sometimes garlic.

croatian Gastronomy

41


central

09 croatia

The mixture is shaped into small cones which are left to air

dry, but it can also be smoked.

sir i Vrhnje (or as

Ground red papri- somE would say, cottaGE chEEsE

ka, hot or sweet, and smEtana)

Fresh cottage cheese and smetana are so

is the main condi- popular among Croats that this edible

ment of these parts, syntagm has even appeared on jumbo

posters used in political election campaigns!

one which Croats He who cherishes sir i vrhnje most can usually

be assured of a great empathy among voters.

adopted from the

The cheese in question is freshly curdled,

Hungarians. gently strained cow milk cheese, formed

into round cakes of ½ kg or so, the quality

of which greatly depends on the quality

of grazing, which in this particular case is

excellent. Although the Zagreb cluster is the

centre of the sir i vrhnje tradition, this type of cheese is produced

in many locations of this cluster, as well as in certain parts of

Slavonia. It is sold exclusively in the markets.

Cottage cheese and smetana are eaten primarily

completely fresh, and serving is simplicity itself:

smetana is poured over cheese – one measure (a

measure being an old one, amounting to c 1.5 dcl) of cheese to

one or two measures of smetana, with a little salt and red paprika

sprinkled over it. It is also traditional that the bread which is

served with this simple dish is made from maize, with unleavened

dough, and baked to produce a thick, crunchy

crust. The bread is baked in large, round forms,

sometimes weighing as much as 10 kg. The most

usual side dishes for cottage cheese and smetana

are radishes and spring onions. The mixture is also used

to make a variety of spreads, the taste depending on the ingredients:

chopped spring onion and ground red paprika,

sometimes garlic - especially when young, chives

– particularly the wild-growing variety, dill, crab

grass, thyme or marjoram. Well mixed fresh cheese

and smetana make a delicious topping for broad, homemade

noodles, often accompanied by a sprinkling of small

pieces of fried bacon, and, according to taste, with garlic. In

some parts of continental Croatia, in particular the Slavonian

region, pasta prepared in this way is placed in a very hot oven

in order to obtain a nice golden, crisp crust.

c a r p

The large number of fish farms worldwide has made

carp an inexpensive if undervalued fish. Sadly, it is

often bred in poor quality water and fed a poor quality

diet. In complete contrast are the carp bred in Vransko

jezero (Vrana lake) near Biograd, regarded as among

the best in Europe. Although locally it is grilled,

some methods used in Slavonia seem much better

42 croatian Gastronomy

warm hEartEd and hospitaBlE, thE winE producErs of

slavonia arE always happy to invitE visitors to thEir

cEllars to tastE thEir winEs.

suited. Gutted and salted it is affixed to a forked branch which

is then stuck into the ground close to live coals, thus allowing

the fish to slowly “melt”. Larger specimens, cut into slightly

thicker slices, are fried in pork fat. Carp from a fish farm can

also be top of the range fish if both water and food are of good

quality – as is the case at the fish farm in Crna Mlaka.

t r o u t

Californian trout have spread throughout the fresh waters

of Europe, Croatia included. But in certain locations the

indigenous Croatian brown trout (Salmo trutta morpha fario)

has survived, and it is indeed a specialty of the first order. It is

identifiable by its red spots, its meat being significantly more

reddish, juicer and flavoursome than Californian trout. The

brown trout is preserved in the Gacka River – a cult fishing

ground for trout lovers from all over the world, and it can

also be found in the Rivers Slunjèica and Èabranka. The

locally preferred method of preparing it is to douse it in corn

meal and to fry it (the miller’s way). There is a company

called “Leko” which produces excellent smoked trout,

which can be found on Zagreb’s Dolac Market.

f r E s h w a t E r f i s h a n d

fish papriKash

Carp and trout are the most common fresh water fish found on

Croatian markets, since they are bred in a number of fish farms.

Those in the know, however, are aware that the range of fish

this rEGion is

Known for its

whitE variEtiEs

of GrapE.


cEntral croatia is rEnownEd as an

arEa for its widE ranGE and wEalth

of vEGEtaBlEs.

hErE, thE pEnny Bun is most oftEn

EatEn in comBination with EGGs, a Bit

of Bacon and onion.

a loaf of ovEn-BaKEd BrEad, madE

from homE-Grown corn mEal, can

wEiGh up to 10 KG.

A good fish paprikash demands as many types

of fish as possible and it is cooked in

a small cauldron over an open fire.

on offer is far more varied: catfish and horned pout (liked for

practical reasons because it has no small bones, just the spine)

can often be found in continental fishmongers. Somewhat rarer

is the very tasty pike perch and pike. Rarely, one can chance

upon tench, somewhat fatty but with an exquisite flavour.

At Zagreb’s Dolac Market, it has recently been possible to

purchase, at a more than reasonable price, smoked common

bream – very tasty but best appreciated by the very patient

connoisseur, as it is full of tiny bones. Eels cannot be bred in

captivity but they do appear in fishmongers’ shops. Among

other types of fish found in clear and cold rivers and which are

of interest to gastronomes, is the grayling, but one has to catch

it oneself, since it almost never appears in the markets.

A dish known as paprikash made from fish and therefore

logically known as fish paprikash, is regarded as one of the most

outstanding specialties of Slavonia, which can also be found in

Zagreb, particularly on Fridays. A good fish paprikas demands

as many types of fish as possible and it is cooked in a small (or

sometimes not so small) cauldron over an open fire. Its main

spice is paprika, both hot and sweet.

croatian Gastronomy

43

fish-papriKash

cooKEd in a

cauldron ovEr an

opEn firE, madE

ExclusivEly from

frEshwatEr fish.

trout coatEd in

BrEad flour and

GrillEd arE a

spEcialty of this

arEa.


zagreb

city of

10


aBove everyThing else, ZagreB is The Converging

point as well as being the

intersection of all the regional gastronomies of croatia, and more

often than not offers a selection of the best from each of them. this is clearly

visible on the city markets – 13 larger and 10 smaller ones, but most

of all at the central market known as dolac, ideally located only meters from

the central square, on an elevation at the same level as the cathedral. in every

i

ts activities precede its very existence, since back in the 19th century lively,

often acrimonious discussions raged over the location of Zagreb’s central

marketplace, what it should look like, who should build it, maintain it and,

of course, who should use it. For centuries, Zagreb has been trading in the

open and in accordance with strict rules. Records dating from 1425 tell us

that trading in fresh fish was defined with far more precision than it is today:

should they happen upon fresh fish that had been on display for too long, the

unforgiving market inspectors of the day would cut off the tails of such fish,

thus reducing them to second class goods.

The history of Dolac, from the first initiative for its construction to its

opening day, provides excellent material for a chronicle of scandals, one which

did nevertheless have a happy ending. Today, this is a market with an open-air

section and a covered area on two levels, logically

organized, well laid out and free flowing. The supply

primarily reflects seasonal food production by

regions. The most interesting in this wide selection

of produce are products by small, family agricultural

holdings. Although economic logic dictates that

small producers should work together in order to

survive the onslaught of cheap goods from the world

markets, the logic of gastronomy shows us that small

producers provide a fantastic impetus to quality

produce and, in particular, to a high standard of

gastronomy. Goods are sometimes more expensive

TourisT Board of

The CiTy of ZagreB

Kaptol 5; 10000 zagreb;

tel.: +385 1 4898 555

fax: +385 1 4814 340

E-mail: info@zagreb-touristinfo.hr

www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr

respect this is the most prestigious market in croatia.

on Dolac than on other Croatian markets, but that

is logical: regional markets are mostly supplied by

local producers; to Zagreb markets they bring the

best that they can offer.

Dolac is therefore a daily meeting place for the

culinary stars of Zagreb, known and unknown. In

their own words, this is where they start cooking.

According to Ana Ugasrkoviæ, the rising star of the

Zagreb gastronomic stage, good cuisine consists of

90% of good buys. The ability to select the best

ingredients at the optimal time in the season is the

basic art of a good gastronome, one upon which top

quality cuisine is based all over the world.

croatian Gastronomy

45


10

on dolac,

cEntral marKEt

placE of

zaGrEB, small

producErs of

all croatian

rEGions BrinG

thE BEst thEy

can offEr

city of zagreb

From Dolac, chefs return to their respective restaurants

in which they offer their guests regional specialties, first and

foremost those from Dalmatia, but also from Istria, Slavonia,

Prigorje, Zagorje, the best dishes from Lika and Gorski kotar,

but also from some Croatian communities outside Croatia – in

particular Herzegovinian and Bosnian specialties. Fish is often

equally fresh in the restaurants of Zagreb as it is on the coast;

the season of lamb from the islands begins in Zagreb; the first

white truffles are just as impatiently awaited in Zagreb as they

are in Istria; selections of top of the range kulens regularly

arrive to chosen locations in Zagreb; a special gastronomic

week is dedicated to oysters from the Bay of Ston and the

Lim channel in spring, on the feast day of St. Joseph, when

they are in their seasonal peak. But Zagreb also nurtures its

own, authentic dishes known as “burghers’ cuisine”. This

cuisine is the historical sediment of Austro-Hungarian cultural

heritage. Some names and expressions are of German origin,

some are Austrian and Hungarian, and they are still in use

today. Grenadir marš (Grenadier March – pasta with onion

and potato), kajzeršmarn (Kaiserschmarn, a dessert made from

pancake batter) appear from time to time on the menus

of Zagreb’s restaurants which delight in sailing the

nostalgic waves of the purger cuisine.

s a m o B o r s K a

K o t l o v i n a

Large pans with wide rims, sometimes

as much as 2 m in diameter, are

Kotlovina - thE sEcrEt of a

Good flavour liEs in GEntlE,

slow cooKinG, as opposEd to thE

fast GrilinG.

46 croatian Gastronomy

capital of croatian Gastronomic dEliGhts

placed on specially designed stoves – usually cleverly adapted

metal barrels. In Zagorje, Prigorje, Zagreb, but above all in

Samobor, these kitchen contraptions, which go by the name

of kotlovina, as does the dish prepared in them, are the symbol

of merrymaking, good times and good food. Every gathering of

people in the open is an excellent opportunity for a kotlovina.

The basic recipe is simple and very rustic. Pigs’ legs are fried,

or rather melted, in the pan, invariably with chopped onion.

They are doused first with water and then with wine. Once

this basic stock is prepared, pieces of meat are added, usually

pork cutlets. The secret of a good flavour lies in gentle, slow

cooking, as opposed to the fast grilling technique. Recipes for

kotlovina are varied and, in contrast to the recipe for the basic

stock, can be very complex. The meat used can come in the

form of sausages; but it can be chicken, veal, yearling beef,

even game. All root vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines,

even young beans and mushrooms find their way into

a kotlovina in order to make the flavour as rich as possible.


pumpKins from thE vEGEtaBlE GardEns

of ZaGorje are eaten oVen-roasted or

as an addition to Bio-caKEs.

The Dolac central market is a daily meeting place for

the culinary stars of Zagreb, known and unknown.

In their own words, this is where they start cooking.

Potato is served to soak up the juices. When the abundance

of ingredients becomes too much, the true connoisseurs

return to the puritan Samobor version

PaPrenjaci(or pEppEr Biscuits)

The pepper biscuit is an old recipe that could be found from the

eastern borders of Slavonian cluster to the southern border of the Split

region. Its main ingredients are flour, eggs and pepper, and its variations

several. And since they symbolize the old, popular cuisine, the national

airline company serves them on its flights as small, sweet refreshment.

Today, it is produced, packaged and distributed by a pastry shop on

the island of Hvar, and from one in Zagreb – which has resulted in

the biscuit becoming a Zagreb souvenir.

PaPrenjak, a

pEppEr Biscuit

madE from

flour, honEy,

EGGs and a Good

pinch of pEppEr,

is a symBol of

thE old popular

cuisinE and an

official zaGrEB

souvEnir.

m i Š a n c a

Picking, gathering or catching only what nature herself

provides us, without any effort by the growers and breeders,

would be enough to experience endless culinary delights.

Frequently, such dishes are underappreciated since the

ingredients grow in abundance across meadows, clearings

and woods, and as a consequence do not fetch particularly

good prices. And ideal example of this kind is mišanca, that

is, a “mixture” of wild or semi-wild plants gathered in spring

or early summer, particularly in the Mediterranean regions

of Croatia. Formerly, it consisted of some 20 or more plants,

plums untrEatEd with pEsticidE maKE

suPerB home-made jam.

while today its basis is various types of wild and semi-wild

onion, certain grasses, edible flowers, and herbs. The method

of preparing a mišanca is from a combination of popular

culinary concepts and skills. At the start of the season, in

early spring, mišanca can be eaten fresh, as a salad, dressed

with wine vinegar and olive oil. It is quite

delicious with the addition of salt-pickled

anchovies, olives, capers and hard boiled

eggs. Mišanca can also be briefly cooked

in boiling water and again served with a

number of additions, but which now extend

to boiled potatoes, chick-peas, broad beans,

beans, lentils. Fish laid on a bed of mišanca

and baked in the oven in an earthenware

dish, ranked at the peak of gastronomy, is

becoming ever more inviting to the young

stars of the culinary arts in Croatia. The

richness of genuine Mediterranean aromas

offered by mišanca, the power of essential

oils contained in wild-grown plants,

opens up new avenues into delightful culinary

interpretations: mišanca in fritajas, or

rather omelettes and pancakes, made into

a sauce and served over home-made pasta,

cooked together with lamb or kid over a

gentle heat, cooked with dried mutton or

proscuitto bone and potatoes, combined

with olives and mixed into flat cakes...

This wonderful mixture should be sought

out, albeit under its different names, in all

the regions of the Croatian Adriatic, but

also on the markets of Zagreb. The wider

the variety of plants included, the more

appreciated mišanca is, and the touch for

deciding on the correct ratio of individual plants, as per the

recipe, is a sign of a chef extraordinaire.

m u s h r o o m s i n c r o a t i a

Some twenty years ago Ivan Focht, philosopher, aesthetic of

music, biologist and a passionate mushroom expert, wrote to

his friend: “music and mushrooms came to us from the heav-

quality vEGEtaBlEs and fruit from

small producErs providE ExcEllEnt

EncouraGEmEnt for quality Gastronomy.

croatian Gastronomy

Mišanca is a mixture

of wild-grown, mostly

Mediterranean plants

- sometimes as many

as 20 different kinds

- used fresh as salad

dressed with olive oil

and wine vinegar or,

briefly cooked, as a

side dish to fish and

meat, but also to

other vegetables.

47


10

VrGanj, or the

pEnny Bun,

is thE most

valuEd mushroom

in thEsE

parts, and is

most commonly

prEparEd

slicEd, sautEEd

with onion, with

EGGs addEd

at thE End of

thE cooKinG

procEss.

Over the last decade

the Zagreb region

has nurtured and

developed free-range

strawberries, due to

the beneficial climatic

conditions of the area

city of zagreb

ens.” Back then this was a romantic confession of a scientist

at the end of the road; today, it sounds more like a touristic

slogan. In the forests of Gorski kotar and Slavonia, alongside

rivers, in the meadows of Lika, on islands, in Istria, in short,

everywhere, there exists the mysterious world of mushrooms

which is an inexhaustible source of dis-

48 croatian Gastronomy

capital of croatian Gastronomic dEliGhts

cussion and pleasures to both mushroom

experts and gastronomes. At a time when

mushrooms in Europe are being threatened

by the destruction of their habitat, and

when some species have long disappeared,

Croatia seems more like a botanical garden,

a protected oasis which everybody can

enjoy. Everybody, from tourists and mushroom

experts to scientists and ecologists.

And long my this remain so.

cEp(pEnny Bun)

When one makes mention of the mushrooms

in Croatia, most people will automatically

think “Penny Bun.” The cep is

a mushroom that comes to everybody’s

mind with its shape, divine fragrance,

majestic cap and charming plumpness. It

has always been a most cherished mushroom

in Croatia, one that anybody can

recognize despite the fact that there are

some 30 similar varieties in the same family,

some of which are listed as protected plants.

Ancient tradition has it that should you ever chance upon a

lone cep, you should ask it quietly, “where is your brother?”,

since they invariably grow in pairs. There are several methods

used in their preparation. In Zagorje they are best served with

eggs: a spot of pork fat, some sliced onion, sliced cep added

and gently cooked. Eggs are then blended into it and the

mixture fried to a soft texture. Another highly popular, delicious

recipe is Penny Bun soup, always with the addition of

smetana and vinegar. Mushrooms of all types are often grilled

over live coals, but it is the Penny Bun which is by far the best

when cooked in this way: simply dipped into melted butter

and placed on a grill. When done they are sprinkled with salt

and a few drops of a fine alcoholic beverage and served with

rye bread and a slice or two of prosciutto or ham gently fried

over the fire. It may be widespread, and indeed common, but

the Penny Bun still remains one of the best and most highly

regarded of mushrooms. In the region of Gorski kotar there is

a place called Ravna Gora, where a “Day of mushrooms” is

organized on an annual basis: mushroom hunters spend a day

together looking for Penny Buns which, needless to say, are

consumed with great relish at the end of the day.

c h a n t E r E l l E

Should you chance to meet a peasant on the edge of a forest

and were to ask him if there are any mushrooms there, you

will make a mistake. Not because the man is secretive about

his find, but because for him the word “mushroom” carries

a different meaning. Only an edible mushroom with which

he is familiar is a real mushroom, and this is limited to about

ten varieties that form a part of traditional popular cuisine.


in rEcEnt yEars

thE numBEr of

rEstaurants in

croatia KEEpinG

pacE with GrEat

achiEvEmEnts

of hautE cuisinE

has BEEn

constantly

GrowinG.

smrčak, or morel - tradition has it that in the

villaGEs whErE folK Eat a lot of this BlEssEd

mushroom, BachElors arE fEw and far BEtwEEn

and women are always jolly.

Those mushrooms that rural folk do not know, or which are

not edible, are simply not regarded as mushrooms.

a G a r i c

A common and tasty mushroom, curious for the fact that it is

eaten on the islands. Islanders have always been oriented to

the sea and meagre soil, putting their faith in their boats and

their hoes. Mushrooms, however, seem to have escaped their

attention, rujnica, or agaric, being an exception. (Indeed, on

the island of Korèula the agaric is in fact called a “mushroom”,

since members of that family which are not eaten are

not regarded as mushrooms!). They are eaten on the islands

of Lastovo, Korèula and Mljet. This is a firm-fleshed mushroom

and is therefore suitable for a longer period of cooking.

The traditional dish on Korèula is mushrooms in sauce:

onion, tomato concentrate, potato, red wine, sugar and olive

oil, cloves, salt and pepper; and there you have a delicious

sauce. Fish is and was prepared in a similar way.

horn of plEnty (crna truBača)

The Horn of plenty is a mushroom which practically cannot be

mistaken for any other. Difficult to find, but when it is found

you realize you are surrounded by them, as if on a large, black

carpet. The Swiss call it “poor man’s truffle”, to the English it is

“Horn of plenty”, while Germans see it as a “deadly trumpet”.

Regardless of its name, however mythical or bizarre it may be,

it still smells divinely and is perfect when pickled, eaten cold

as salad, and is at its best when dried and ground into a powder.

This magic powder is then used as a spice, as that secret

ingredient that every mushroom expert and mushroom lover

simply must have in his or her kitchen.

morel (or smrčak)

No mushroom hunting adventure is more exciting than the

hunt for morels, and he who hunts the morel, this magnificent

mushroom, is a very special person. In order to be successful

he is prepared to do what other mushroom gatherers

do not do. This is a strange mushroom which likes those

places that other members of its family do not like, and is

gathered with great passion and with a certain inexplicable

feeling verging on sensuality. Every gatherer has his own

secret hunting grounds which he guards jealously. Spring is

the season which makes the hunter feel restless, and as soon

as he feels the time has come, off he goes, for if he is only

a few days too late there will be nothing to find. It is a true

pleasure to join the mushroom gatherers of Meðimurje or

Gorski kotar, who organize traditional events and compete

for the “Golden morel”, i.e. the largest and most beautiful

specimen. Last year, the first prize was won by a 43cm-high,

nEw olivE

GrovEs arE

sprinGinG up

alonG thE

coastlinE EvEry

yEar, and olivE

oils producEd

By younG olivE

GrowErs arE

winninG intErnationalrEcoGnition.

croatian Gastronomy

49


10

younG culinary

stars of croatia

arE promotinG

thE usE of local

foodstuffs of

supErB quality

in thE liGht of

contEmporary

world Gastronomic

trEnds.

a croatian lunch

is inconcEivaBlE

without a soup,

liKE this onE madE

with phEasant.

city of zagreb

600g morel found in the area around Delnice. One of the

ways of conserving mushrooms is drying.

o l i v E s a n d o l i v E o i l

Among the most successful revivals of ancient agricultures is the

regeneration of olive production. There are olive groves extending

from the westernmost areas of Istria, down the length of

the coastline, including islands large and small, down to eastern

borders of the Dubrovnik region, with new groves being planted

every year. Young experts are winning prestigious acclaims both

at home and abroad, for their oils, like that produced by multiple

prize-winner, Sandi Chiavalone

from Vodnjan, being at

very peak of the

50 croatian Gastronomy

capital of croatian Gastronomic dEliGhts

Mediterranean olive growing industry. And it has been proved

that the best olives oils in Croatia come from relatively small olive

groves, where literally every tree receives special attention and

care. Certain customs and practices, like washing the olives in the

sea, make Croatian olive oils even more special. The most common

and widespread varieties in Croatia are indigenous: bu�a and

oblica. Although the practice of mixing different varieties is common,

domestic olive growers recently began supplying a variety of

oils, and this is where the indigenous varieties come into their own.

The best oils are often on offer in prestigious wine boutiques.

Among purist connoisseurs an increasingly favoured hors

d’oeuvre is fine olive oil, freshly baked top quality bread and

salt, nowadays becoming ever more popular even in exclusive

restaurants. Possible additions to this magnificent simplicity

could be capers and highly appreciated fillets of salt-pickled

fish in olive oil, with few drops of good wine vinegar and a few

slices of onion. Marinades made with raw fish in top quality

olive oil, in particular anchovies, sprinkled with the juice of

home grown lemons, are especially popular in the Split and

Zadar clusters. Baking is the old, traditional way of releasing

the bitter elements from olives. The baked olives are then kept

in olive oil and aromatized with Mediterranean herbs, primarily

rosemary, which is also the best way of enjoying them. Another

old custom is being revived, this time among bakers: pieces of

olive are mixed into bread dough, the result being deliciously

piquant bread. Green and black olives are used to produce a

spread, usually for bread, but smart chefs use it as a condiment

for filleted fish and a variety of meat escalopes.

G a B l E c a n d m a r E n d a

(mid-morninG snacK)

The meal taken between breakfast and lunch is a very


Garlic, EspEcially whEn younG, is a

much favourEd flavourinG.

important and much cherished Croatian custom. In the

Zagreb region and in some parts of the central region this

meal is called gablec, along the Adriatic coast – from the

Istrian peninsula to the Dubrovnik region – this vital social

institution is known as marenda. And since this mid-morning

meal is a widespread custom, the dishes served are also the

most popular and mostly cheaper ones, eaten with a spoon

BarBEcuE - thErE is practically no

food that croats would not prEparE

on a Grill.

and fresh bread which is usually dunked, and when food is

especially tasty the plate is finally cleaned off with a piece

of bread. Popular restaurants and inns frequently have

special menus for marenda and gablec, and these dishes are

only cooked and served in late morning hours: bean soup

with pieces of bacon, off-cuts of prosciutto left on the bone,

sausages (somewhat less common is dried mutton). This is a

classic dish which comes in countless variations and is just

as popular as gablec as it is as marenda. The second on the

list of popularity is tripice, or fileki, or as some would call it,

tripe. Lamb tripe, which spread to continental parts from

the coastal areas, is more infrequently met but more highly

regarded than tripe from yearling cattle. Kid tripe is a real

rarity and a cult dish. Paprikash and goulash occupy the third

place in popularity. Although cod is not dried in Croatia it

also enjoys a cult status among Croats, literally a must for

meals on Christmas Eve. As far as marenda is concerned,

it is served mostly on Fridays, usually as a thick soup with

thErE arE many variations of this

simplE, finE caKE, BaKEd in oil, Known

as ustipci in thE north and fritulE in

thE south.

Small producers provide a fantastic impetus

to quality produce and, in particular, to

a high standard gastronomy

small producErs

offEr

thEir chEEsEs in

Each of thE 23

marKEts in thE

croatian capital

croatian Gastronomy

51

spit-roastinG, an

anciEnt way of

cooKinG food,

arrivEd in this

country from thE

East.


10

fancycomBination of potato

and chEEsE

maKEs this

ordinary mEal

fully dElicious.

city of zagreb

potatoes, spiced with garlic, a la white or a la red – the difference

being the addition of tomato. Marenda is normally

accompanied with bevanda – wine diluted with water so as to

be able to continue one’s labours to the end of the working

day. Inland, white table wines with a higher content of acidity

are diluted with mineral water and known as gemišt, and

if soda water is added then it is called a špricer.

r o š t i l j a n d G r a d e l e

(Grill roastinG)

There is practically no good food which Croats would not prepare

on a grill (roštilj) in the continental part of the country, or rather

on a gradele - its counterpart along the coast. And preparation is

equally varied everywhere. All the better parts of meat are grilled,

the meat coming from practically all kinds of animals: poultry, pig,

yearling beef, beef, lamb, kid, game small and large, snails, frogs,

fish, crabs, shellfish, molluscs, and even vegetables and cheese.

Bread itself is improved on the grill to keep hunger at bay until

the main attractions are ready. Traditionally, the grill is tended

by men who like to boast of their skills in this department,

everyone having some special nuance or personal method

which sometimes goes into meticulous detail, like the selection

of the right kind of wood and, of course, the heat of the

live coals. Highly sought after is dry grape vine, while some grill

for many foods, BEinG prEparEd undEr a pEKa is

thE pinnaclE of Gastronomic ExcEllEncE.

52 croatian Gastronomy

capital of croatian Gastronomic dEliGhts

masters collect veritable boutiques of different dry woods, which

are then further enhanced through the addition of aromatic

plants, such as rosemary sprigs. Generally speaking, grilling is best

when done over plenty of live coals which produce a gentle heat,

whereas grilling over a fire is regarded as barbaric, or at least demonstrating

a certain lack of good taste and manners.

ražanj (spit roastinG)

Although somewhat less varied than grilling, the spit also allows

for the preparation of many dishes: from small ones for poultry

to massive ones for oxen. Spit roasting is common all over the

country and is the main feature of catering establishments along

the arterial roads, where spits function as a form of live advertising.

Most commonly spit roasted are suckling pigs, lambs and,

less frequently, kids. This is a very ancient method of preparing

food, being imported to these parts from the East. But in the

good old days it was not young animals that were spit roasted,

because the scarcity of meat dictated that an animal should reach

its full adult size before being slaughtered. Traces of this ancient

tradition are still seen in Croatia in the custom of spit roasting

oxen, particularly for popular festivities. Central parts of the

Slavonian region are renowned for their masters of spit roasting

an ox. However, folks from certain large villages in Slavonia,

such as Gundinci, prefer a heifer since they know from much

enjoyed experience that its meat is considerably juicier. Gentle

heat and good meat are the keys to every successful spit roast.

Bearing in mind that there are practically no spices involved, the

genuine quality of meat is necessarily a major factor. Spit roasting

is always a slow process, its rotation being slow and steady.

It takes an experienced cook to salt an animal for the spit, while

during roasting it is basted only with oil, or melted pork fat, and

sometimes with stock, wine or beer.

pEKa (BaKinG lid)

The majority of gourmands regard food prepared under a peka

as the ultimate in grilled dishes. This simple accessory – a

simple domed lid – can be made of metal, thinner or thicker,

often of cast iron, but true connoisseurs are particularly appre


zaGorsKi ŠtruKli, thinly rollEd

pastry fillEd with a mixturE of frEsh

cottaGE and smEtana - savoury as an

hors-d'oEuvrE, swEEt as a dEssErt.

ciative of the earthenware peka. Food cooked under a peka,

be it in a fireproof pot or directly on a stone slab, comprises

meat with vegetables, usually veal, lamb and yearling beef,

covered with potatoes and other vegetables. Larger poultry is

also prepared in this way, and in the mountainous part of the

Kvarner region. Even if catering establishments provide only

bread baked in this way, their ratings are usually elevated.

Blitva (swiss chard)

The entire Adriatic area is peopled by folk who find it hard

to imagine life without Swiss chard, so much so, in fact, that

some have suggested (not entirely tongue in cheek) that this

plant is of such importance for Croats, particularly those living

by the sea, that it should form part of the new Croatian

coat of arms. Blitva is best when young, when its leaves are

thin and soft, of a bright green colour, and only some 10 cm

long. Preparation of this much revered plant is simplicity itself:

immersed in boiling water and allowed to cook for a brief spell,

carefully drained and sprinkled with olive oil. It is often served

with boiled potatoes, and sometimes they are cooked together,

particularly when chard is no longer quite so young and tender.

Thus prepared, it is most commonly eaten with fish. New generations

of Croatian gastronomes are using chard in new, more

imaginative ways, often inspired by old and almost forgotten

recipes. Savoury strudels and pies prepared with Swiss chard

and fresh cheese; sauces for pasta made from boiled chard and

basil; minced meat rolled into large leaves of chard and cooked

gently in an oven; larger fish stuffed with chard and herbs...

f r a m E w o r K : n E w

G E n E r a t i o n s o f

c r o a t i a n c h E f s

Today, however, there is in Croatia a veritable pleiad of

new culinary stars from the younger and middle generations.

Their number is directly related to the very dynamic

national gastronomic stage which permits them a wide scope

of research and experimentation. It also prompts them to

reassess the culinary heritage of these parts, to seek new ways

of revitalizing traditions and to test methods of utilizing top

quality local ingredients in the contemporary gastronomic

trends prevailing in the world. In other words, what we

fish is oftEn Equally frEsh on thE

marKEts of zaGrEB as it is on thE coast.

have here is a deep understanding of the genesis of local

gastronomy: it has always been a place of fruitful meetings

between different cultural patterns. It has to be underlined,

however, that this new generation of Croatian chefs is facing

a task greater than any of its predecessors: their aim to

demonstrate to the world that one of the greatest national

assets of Croatia is her gastronomy.

c r o a t i a n m a r K E t s

Every town of any size in Croatia has at least one marketplace

to which the rural homesteads from the surrounding areas

bring their fresh produce. As recently as the end of last century

it seemed that cheap food of dubious quality, arriving from the

world markets, would spell curtains for the small producers

of quality products. Instead, it has become apparent that the

number of people willing to pay more for fresh local products is

steadily growing. Alongside enduring treasures, like fresh cottage

cheese and cream, free-range eggs, or grincajg (from the

German Grünzeug) - bunches of root vegetables and greens

for traditionally prepared soup, ever increasing numbers of

customers are seeking indigenous types of fruit and vegetables,

wild edible plants, forest mushrooms and many other foodstuffs,

the high quality of which can be ensured only by small

breeders and grower-gatherers. One of the permanent tasks of

the nationwide care for our gastronomy is the need to preserve

such markets, to safeguard small grower-gatherers and breeders,

as well as the country’s traditional dishes.

BEans, chicKpEas and lEntils form

thE Basis of many ordinary dishEs.

All root vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, even

young beans find their way into a kotlovina

in order to make the flavour as rich as possible.

trditional fancy

BrEad sprinKlEd

wth salt.

croatian Gastronomy

53


general information

general informaTion

We extend our warm welcome to you and

we are pleased and proud that you have

decided to visit our country. The Croats call

their country “Our Beautiful Homeland” –

the starting verse of the Croatian national

anthem.

The Republic of Croatia is a European parliamentary

state and a part of European political

and cultural history. By size it is classified

among the medium size European countries

such as Denmark, Ireland, the Slovak Republic

or Switzerland.

Croatia is a land of open frontiers and clear

cut customs regulations. It is also a land of

concord and one that is respectful towards

its guests. We Croats strive to make Our

beautiful homeland equally beautiful to all

who visit it, and we do our best to ensure

that they take with them only beautiful

memories.

Travel doCumenTs:

a valid passport or some other identification

document recognised by international

agreement; for certain countries a personal

identity card is sufficient (i.e. a document

which testifies to the identity and citizenship

of the bearer).

information: diplomatic missions and consular

offices of the republic of croatia abroad

or the ministry of foreign affairs and European

integration of the republic of croatia.

tel: +385 1 4569 964; E-mail: stranci@

mvpei.hr; www.mvpei.hr

CusToms regulaTions:

customs regulations in the republic of

croatia are almost completely harmonised

with the regulations and standards of Eu

member states, but the value of objects

of non-commercial character for personal

use allowed to be brought into the country

without tax duty or pdv (vat) is limited to

300 hrK (kuna).

foreign and local currency and cheques are

freely taken in and out of the country by foreign

and croatian citizens with residence abroad,

but the transfer of an amount exceeding

40,000 kuna must be declared to a customs

official. valuable professional equipment and

technical devices must also be declared to a

customs official at the border crossing.

pdv (vat) is refunded to foreign nationals

when leaving the country for individual goods

purchased in croatia, for amounts in excess

of 500 hrK, upon the presentation of a

pdv-p, or rather a “tax-cheque” form verified

exclusively by a customs official.

for additional information please contact the

customs administration (www.carina.hr)

information regarding the conditions of

import of products of animal origin in the

personal luggage can be obtained from the

ministry of agriculture, fishing and rural

development – administration for veterinary

medicine (tel.: + 385 1 610 9749, 610 6703

and 610 6669).

CurrenCy:

the kuna (1 kuna = 100 lipa). foreign curren-

54 croatian Gastronomy

cy can be exchanged in banks, exchange

offices, post offices travel agencies and

hotels.

posT and TeleCommuniCaTions

post offices are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

on weekdays, in smaller centres from 7 a.m.

until 2 p.m.; some offices work a split shift.

in most towns and tourist centres, on-duty

post offices are open on saturdays and

sundays.

phone cards are used in all public

telephones and may be purchased from post

offices and from newspaper and tobacco

kiosks. international calls may be made

directly from public telephones.

www.posta.hr

shops and public services working hours

most shops are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

on weekdays, on saturday and sundays until

2 p.m.; in the season longer.

public services and business offices work

from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., mondays to fridays.

healTh serviCes

there are hospitals and clinics located in

all the larger towns and cities, while smaller

centres have dispensaries and pharmacies.

foreign visitors who are covered by health

insurance in their own country do not have

to pay for services of emergency health care

during their private stay in the republic of

croatia if a convention on social security has

been signed between the country they come

from and croatia, i.e. if they have in their

possession a certificate stipulated by such

a convention confirming their right to health

care. health care (including transport) is

used for emergency cases in the manner and

according to regulations valid for croatian

citizens covered by social security, with

identical participation in health care costs

(participation and administrative duties).

persons coming from countries with which

no such convention has been signed shall

personally bear the costs of health services

rendered.

power supply:

220 v, frequency 50 hz

tap water is potable in all parts of croatia.

puBliC holidays

1 january - new year’s day

6 january - epiphany

Easter sunday & Easter monday

1 may - labour day

corpus christi

22 june - anti-fascist resistance day

25 june - statehood day

5 august - victory day and national thanksgiving

day

15 august - the assumption

8 october - independence day

1 november - all saints’ day

25-26 december - christmas holidays

fuel sTaTions:

open from 7 a.m. until 7 or 8 p.m. every day;

in the summer season, until 10 p.m.

on-duty fuel stations in the larger cities and

on main international routes are open 24

hours a day.

all fuel stations sell Eurosuper 95, super

95, super 98, super plus 98, Euro diesel

and diesel, and gas (lpG) is also available

in major cities, and at fuel stations along

motorways.

for information on fuel prices and a list of

centres selling lpG gas go to:

www.ina.hr; www.omv.hr; www.tifon.hr; www.

hak.hr

imporTanT Telephone numBers:

international country code for croatia: +385

police: 92

fire Brigade: 93

ambulance: 94

roadside vehicle assistance: 987

(when calling from abroad or by mobile

phone, call +385 1 987)

national centre for search and rescue at

sea: 9155

the countrywide number for all emergency

situations: 112

General information: 981

information on local and intercity numbers:

988

information on international numbers: 902

weather forecast and road conditions: 060

520 520

croatian automobile club (haK): +385 1 46

40 800, internet: www.hak.hr;

E-mail: info@hak.hr

dear guesTs,

in order to ensure both your pleasant stay

in our country and the observance of its

laws, we respectfully request that you check

whether you have been correctly registered

for the whole period of your stay, from the

day you arrive to the day of your departure.

this is an important and necessary procedure,

particularly if you are staying in private

accommodation, both for the sake of guaranteeing

you a quality service and in order to

prevent illegal operations of those who are

not registered for the provision of accommodation

service.

CounTy TourisT offiCes

�Bjelovar-Bilogora, trg Eugena

Kvaternika 4, 43 000 Bjelovar

tel.: +385 43 243 944

fax: +385 43 241 229

E-mail: info@tzbbz.hr; www.tzbbz.hr

�Brod-posavina, petra Krešimira iv br. 2,

35000 slavonski Brod

tel.: +385 35 408 393; fax: +385 35 408 392

E-mail: turisticka-zajednica.bpz@sb.t-com.hr

www.tzbpz.hr

�dubrovnik-neretva

cvijete Zuzorić 1/i, 20000 dubrovnik

tel.: +385 20 324 999; fax: +385 20 324 224

E-mail: info@visitdubrovnik.hr

www.visitdubrovnik.hr

�istria, Pionirska 1, 52440 Poreč;

tel.: +385 52 452 797; fax: +385 52 452 796

E-mail: info@istra.hr; www.istra.hr

�Karlovac, a. vraniczanya 6, 47000 Karlovac

tel.: +385 47 615 320

fax: +385 47 601 415,

E-mail: info@tzkz.hr; www.tzkz.hr

�koprivnica-križevci, antuna nemčića 5,


*thE puBlishEr cannot GuarantEE thE

complEtE accuracy of thE information

containEd hErEin, nor BE hEld rEsponsiBlE

for any Errors as may BE containEd in futurE

amEndmEnts or chanGEs to such information.

48000 Koprivnica

tel.: +385 48 624 408

fax: +385 48 624 407

E-mail: tz-kk-zupanije@kc.t-com.hr

www.tz-koprivnicko-krizevacka.hr

�krapina-Zagorje, Zagrebačka 6,

49217 Krapinske toplice;

tel./fax: +385 49 233 653,

E-mail: info@tz-zagorje.hr; www.tz-zagorje.hr

�lika-senj, Budačka 12, 53000 Gospić; tel.:

+385 053 574 687; fax: +385 53 574 687;

E-mail: tzz-licko-senjske@gs.t-com.hr

www.lickosenjska.com

�međimurje, ruđer Boškovića 3,

40000 čakovec

tel./fax: +385 40 390 191

E-mail: info@tzm.hr; www.tzm.hr

�osijek-Baranja, Kapucinska 40/ii, 31000

osijek

tel.: +385 31 214 852

fax: +385 31 214 853;

E-mail: info@tzosbarzup.hr

www.tzosbarzup.hr

�Požega-slavonia, trg sv. trojstva 1,

34000 Požega; tel.: +385 34 274 900

fax: +385 34 274 901,

E-mail: kontakt@tzzps.hr

www.tzzps.hr

�primorje-Gorje, n. tesle 2, 51410 opatija;

tel.: +385 51 272 988, 51 272 665; fax:

+385 51 272 909

E-mail: kvarner@kvarner.hr; www.kvarner.hr

�sisak-moslavina, s. i a. radića 28/ii, 44000

sisak; tel.: +385 44 540 163

fax: +385 44 540 164;

E-mail: tzsmz@email.t-com.hr

www.turizam-smz.hr

�split-dalmatia, Prilaz braće kaliterna 10/i,

21001 split; tel./fax: +385 1 490 032, 21

490 033, 21 490 036;

E-mail: info@dalmatia.hr; www.dalmatia.hr

�šibenik-knin, fra n. ružića bb,

22000 Šibenik; tel.: +385 22 219 072

fax: +385 22 212 346;

E-mail: info@sibenikregion.com

www.sibenikregion.com

�Varaždin, franjevački trg 7, 42000 Varaždin;

tel./fax: +385 42 301 036

E-mail: tz.var.zupanije@vz.t-com.hr

www.turizam-vzz.hr

�virovitica-podravina,

trg kralja tomislava 1, 33000 virovitica;

tel.: +385 33 726 069

fax: +385 33 721 241

E-mail: tzvpz@vt.t-com.hr; www.zupanija.info

�vukovar-srijem

Glagoljaška 27, 32100 vinkovci

tel./fax: +385 32 344 034,

E-mail: turisticka-zajednica@vk.t-com.hr

www.tzvsz.hr

�Zadar, sv. leopolda B. mandića 1,

23000 zadar; tel.: +385 23 315 107

fax: +385 23 315 316

E-mail: tz-zd-zup@zd.t-com.hr; www.zadar.hr

�Zagreb county, Preradovićeva 42,

10000 zagreb

tel: +385 1 4873 665

fax: +385 1 4873 670

E-mail: info@tzzz.hr, www.tzzz.hr

�zagreb city, Kaptol 5, 10000 zagreb;

tel.: +385 1 4898 555; fax: +385 1 4814 340

E-mail: info@zagreb-touristinfo.hr

www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr

impressum

puBlisher: croatian

national tourist Board

for The puBlisher:

niko Bulić, m.sc.

ediTors: slaVija jačan

oBratoV, rene BakaloVić,

mirjana BraBec

TexT: rene BakaloVić

tourist offices

hrvaTska TurisTiČka ZajedniCa

iblerov trg 10/iv, p.p. 251; 10000 zaGrEB,

hrvatsKa; tel: +385 1 46 99 333;

fax: +385 1 45 57 827

www.hrvatska.hr; E-mail: info@htz.hr

kroaTisChe ZenTrale für Tourismus

1010 wien, am hof 13, Österreich

tel: +43 1 585 38 84

fax: +43 1 585 38 84 20

E-mail: office@kroatien.at

kroaTisChe ZenTrale für Tourismus

60311 frankfurt, Kaiserstrasse 23, deutschland

tel: +49 69 23 85 350

fax: +49 69 23 85 35 20

E-mail: info@visitkroatien.de

kroaTisChe ZenTrale für Tourismus

80469 münchen, rumfordstrasse 7, deutschland

tel: +49 89 22 33 44

fax: +49 89 22 33 77

E-mail: kroatien-tourismus@t-online.de

enTe naZionale CroaTo per il Turismo

20122 milano, piazzetta pattari 1/3, italia

tel: +39 02 86 45 44 97

fax: +39 02 86 45 45 74

E-mail: info@enteturismocroato.it

enTe naZionale CroaTo per il Turismo

00186 roma, via dell’oca 48, italia

tel: +39 06 32 11 0396

fax: +39 06 32 11 1462

E-mail: officeroma@enteturismocroato.it

ChorvaTské TurisTiCké sdružení

110 00 praha 1, Krakovská 25

česká republika

tel: +420 2 2221 1812

fax: +420 2 2221 0793

E-mail: info@htz.cz; infohtz@iol.cz

ChorváTske TurisTiCké Združenie

821 09 Bratislava, trenčianska 5 , slovakia

tel: +421 2 55 562 054

fax: +421 2 55 422 619

E-mail: infohtz@chello.sk

horváT idegenforgalmi köZösség

1053 Budapest, magyar u. 36, magyarország

tel./fax: +36 1 266 65 05, +36 1 266 65 33

E-mail: info@htz.hu

offiCe naTional CroaTe de Tourisme

75116 paris, 48, avenue victor hugo, france

tel: +33 1 45 00 99 55

fax: +33 1 45 00 99 56

E-mail: infos.croatie@wanadoo.fr

CroaTian naTional TourisT offiCe

london w6 9Er, 2 lanchesters, 162-164

fulham palace road, united Kingdom;

tel: +44 208 563 79 79

fax: +44 208 563 26 16

E-mail: info@croatia-london.co.uk

CroaTian naTional TourisT offiCe

new york 10118,

350 fifth avenue,

suite 4003, u.s.a.

tel: +1 212 279 8672

TranslaTed By: volGa

Vukelja-dawe

language ediTing:

anthony j. dawe,

VolGa Vukelja-dawe

design: mEdia KoncEpt

phoTography: ivo pErvan,

damir faBijanić, saša

Pjanić, romeo iBrišeVić,

fax: +1 212 279 8683

E-mail: cntony@earthlink.net

narodowy ośrodek informaCji TurysTy-

CZnej, repuBliki ChorwaCji

ipc Business center, ul. Koszykowa 54

00-675 warszawa, poland

tel: +48 22 828 51 93

fax: +48 22 828 51 90

E-mail: info@chorwacja.home.pl

kroaTiska TurisTByrån

11135 stockholm, Kungsgatan 24,

sverige

tel: +46 853 482 080; fax: +46 820 24 60

E-mail: croinfo@telia.com

kroaTisCh naTionaal Bureau

voor Toerisme

1081 GG amsterdam, nijenburg 2f,

netherlands

tel: +31 20 661 64 22

fax: +31 20 661 64 27

E-mail: kroatie-info@planet.nl

offiCe naTional CroaTe du Tourisme

1000 Bruxelles,vieille halle aux Bles 38,

Belgium

tel: +32 255 018 88; fax: +32 251 381 60

E-mail: info-croatia@scarlet.be

ХорвaтCkoe туристическое

соовщество

Krasnopresnenskaya nab. 12, 123610 moscow,

1502, russia

tel: +7 495 258 15 07

fax: +7 495 258 15 07

E-mail: htz@wtt.ru

hrvaŠka TurisTiČna skupnosT

1000 ljubljana, Gosposvetska 2, slovenija

tel: +386 1 23 07 400

fax: +386 1 230 74 04

E-mail: hrinfo@siol.net

kroaTisChe ZenTrale für Tourismus

Badenerstr. 332, 8004 zürich, switzerland

tel: +41 43 336 2030

fax: +41 43 336 2039

E-mail: info@kroatien-tourismus.ch

ofiCina de Turismo de CroaCia

calle claudio coello 22, esc.B,1˚c

28001 madrid

tel. 003491 781 5514

fax: 003491 431 8443

E-mail: info@visitacroacia.es

denmark

3460 Birkerod

activities performed by the vaGaBond agency,

Bregenrodvej 132

tel: +45 70 266 860; fax: +45 48 131 507

E-mail: info@altomkroatien.dk

japan

ark hills Executive tower n 613

akasaka 1-14-5, minato-ku

tokyo 107-0052

tel: +81 (0)3 6234 0711

fax: +81 (0)3 6234 0712

E-mail: info@visitcroatia.jp

milan BaBić, damil kaloGjera,

jasminka juG, miljenko

klePac, stiPe surać, daG

oršić, marko erceGoVić,

zaGrEB tourist Board archivE,

tZ lika-senj, tZ kastaV, tZ

ravna Gora, tz lovran

prinTed By: rotooffsEt -

tiskara meić

zaGrEB, 2009

croatian Gastronomy

55

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