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Eat Your Way Through Croatia

Croatia is a beautiful country filled with a rich and diverse food culture. Whether you’re looking to explore the culinary delights of the coast or venture inland to discover traditional Croatian cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Croatia. From the freshest seafood to hearty stews and unique local delicacies, read on to find out what you can expect when you eat your way through Croatia.

Seafood Delights

The Adriatic Sea is a bountiful source of fresh seafood, and Croatian restaurants make the most of this delicious ingredient. Try the classic Croatian dish of brudet, a slow-cooked stew of fish, potatoes and tomatoes, or sample some of the country’s freshest riba (fish) served simply grilled with a salad on the side. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some locally caught skampi (shrimp) or jastozi (crab) cooked in a garlic and white wine sauce?

If you’re visiting coastal towns, be sure to keep an eye out for buzara, a seafood dish made with a mix of prawns, mussels and white fish cooked in a tomato and garlic sauce, served with a side of crusty bread. Or why not try brodetto, a fish stew made with monkfish, prawns and squid, cooked in a rich tomato and white wine broth?

For a lighter seafood option, try some of the fresh seafood salads that are popular throughout Croatia. Try skampi salata, a simple salad of shrimps, tomatoes and parsley, or riba salata, a hearty salad of fresh fish and potatoes.

Traditional Croatian Dishes

Croatian cuisine has been influenced by its neighbouring countries over the centuries, and you’ll find an array of dishes that have been adapted from Italian, Hungarian and Turkish recipes. One of the most popular dishes is sarma, a hearty cabbage roll filled with minced pork and beef, cooked in a tomato and paprika sauce.

For a filling main course, try gulas, a rich stew of pork and beef cooked in a paprika-spiced tomato sauce, or paprikas, a dish of chicken or pork cooked in a creamy paprika sauce. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try strudel, a traditional Croatian pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese and herbs, served with a side of yoghurt.

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If you’re visiting the capital of Zagreb, be sure to try strukli, a savoury pastry filled with cheese, cooked in a creamy sauce and served with a dollop of sour cream. For a truly authentic experience, sample some of the more unusual dishes such as sudzukice, a type of spicy sausage, or skradinski rizot, a creamy risotto with asparagus and mushrooms.

Local Delicacies

No trip to Croatia would be complete without trying some of the country’s local delicacies. From smoky prsut (prosciutto) to creamy sir (cheese), Croatia has a wide range of local products that make for a delicious snack. Be sure to try some of the country’s famous rakija (fruit brandy) or loza (grape brandy), or sample some of the local vinjak (wine).

For a sweet treat, try krofne, a kind of doughnut filled with jam, or fritule, a type of fried pastry served with a sprinkle of sugar. And don’t forget to sample some of the delicious local honey, a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some of the more unusual local delicacies such as cicvara, a type of polenta made with cornmeal, or paprenjaci, a type of biscuit flavoured with pepper and honey.

Regional Specialities

Croatia is divided into four distinct regions, each with its own unique culinary delights. In the north-west region of Istria, try fuži, a type of pasta served with a creamy truffle sauce, or manestra, a type of bean and vegetable stew. And be sure to sample some of the local truffles, a delicacy that’s found in abundance in this region.

Head to the south-eastern region of Dalmatia for some of the freshest seafood dishes, such as bakalar, a type of cod cooked in a tomato and garlic sauce, or škampi na buzaru, a mix of prawns, mussels and white fish cooked in a fragrant tomato and garlic sauce. In the north-eastern region of Slavonia, try kulen, a type of spicy sausage, or kobasica, a type of smoked pork sausage.

Finally, the central region of Kvarner is famous for its hearty stews, such as grah, a bean and vegetable stew, and pipi, a beef stew made with tomatoes, onions and paprika.

Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes

Croatia is becoming increasingly vegan-friendly, and you’ll find an array of delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes on offer. Try tufahije, a type of stewed apple served with walnuts and raisins, or mlinci, a type of flatbread made with potatoes and herbs. You’ll also find a variety of vegan and vegetarian stews, such as grah, a bean and vegetable stew, or ajvar, a type of relish made with roasted red peppers and aubergine.

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For a light lunch, try salata od graha, a bean salad made with carrots, onions and parsley, or šopska salata, a rich salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and feta cheese. Or why not sample some of the country’s delicious vegan dishes, such as špinatov sas, a spinach and potato dish, or čuftice, a type of vegan burger made with lentils, beans and vegetables.

Desserts and Sweets

Croatian desserts are sweet and indulgent, and you’ll find an array of delicious cakes, pastries and sweets on offer. Try kremšnita, a creamy custard tart, or štrudla od jabuka, a type of apple strudel. Or why not sample some of the country’s famous torte, such as višnjevača, a cherry and cream cake, or šampanjac, a type of sponge cake flavoured with champagne.

For a truly indulgent treat, try rakijaše, a type of pastry made with walnuts, honey and brandy, or baklava, a type of layered pastry filled with nuts and honey. And be sure to try some of the country’s famous fritule, a type of fried pastry served with a sprinkle of sugar.

Drinks

No visit to Croatia would be complete without sampling some of the country’s famous drinks. Try rakija, a type of fruit brandy, or loza, a type of grape brandy. Or why not sample some of the country’s delicious wines, such as Žlahtina, a type of white wine, or Tribidrag, a type of red wine.

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try štark, a type of non-alcoholic beer, or sok od bazge, a type of elderflower cordial. Or why not sample some of the local vodica (water)?

Snacks and Street Food

Croatia has a vibrant street food culture, and you’ll find an array of delicious snacks on offer. Try burek, a type of savoury pastry filled with cheese or meat, or čevapi, a type of grilled sausage. Or why not sample some of the country’s famous sarma, a type of cabbage roll filled with minced pork and beef.

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try štrukli, a type of savoury pastry filled with cheese, or buža, a type of pastry filled with cheese and spinach. And be sure to try some of the delicious pitule, a type of fried dough served with a sprinkle of sugar.

Food Markets

Croatia is home to an array of vibrant food markets, where you can sample a variety of local delicacies. Head to Zagreb’s famous Dolac market for a selection of fresh produce, or explore Tržnica in Split for a selection of local cheeses and meats. Be sure to visit Riva in Dubrovnik for a selection of fresh seafood, or explore Bol for a selection of local delicacies.

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For a truly unique experience, head to Konoba in Zadar and sample some of the country’s finest wines and cheeses. Or why not explore Mali Lošinj, a small fishing village on the island of Lošinj, and sample some of the freshest seafood dishes?

Conclusion

Croatia is a country rich in culinary delights, with a vibrant food culture that’s sure to delight. From fresh seafood dishes to traditional Croatian stews and local delicacies, there’s something for everyone in Croatia. Whether you’re looking to sample some of the country’s famous wines or explore its vibrant street food culture, make sure you take the time to eat your way through Croatia and experience all that it has to offer.

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