Thursday, 1 September 2022

Vir Burger Costs 1200 Kuna, Creator Says He Needs to Double Price

September the 1st, 2022 - One Vir burger comes with a hefty price tag of over 1200 kuna, and the owner of the facility serving it claims that he'll still need to double the price.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Kraken Bar on the island of Vir offers its guests an apparently very special burger, which they'll have to set aside a whopping 1250 kuna for, and the young caterer Ante Basic behind this Vir burger claims he will have to raise its price.

Basic says he is aware that for many people, purchasing this wildly priced Vir burger is something that isn't accessible, but explained that these are top ingredients. He states that he is aware that prices in general are too high, but he wanted to make something very different and better than the usual offer.

''Yes, that's right. We do a burger that costs 1250 kuna. But because of it, I'm in the minus every time I make it because the ingredients are incredibly expensive. That's why I'll have to double the price next season. It will cost 2,500 kuna,'' Ante revealed to local portal Zadarski.

There are two types of top-notch and aged beef inside the burger. The pastry itself is made right there and is caramelised with brown sugar. The Grand Marnier sauce is made of top quality cognac, and the burger also includes goose liver, caramelised onion in a red wine, and green vegetables grown using UV light in 100 percent balsamico vinegar. The burger also has English cheese on it which they had to get special permits to import, and an Italian cheese known for having matured inside a cave. In addition to all of that, the cherry tomatoes get put on the burger in vinegrette tangerine sauce, and as a decoration there's also a large lobster tail.

''I worked out that every burger costs me 1248 kuna to make when all of the costs of the ingredients are added up. That's why I will have to sell it next year at double the current price because this is unprofitable.

The ingredients that go into it are extremely delicate and some are very difficult to find, given that my family has been working in the catering and hospitality industry for a long time, I've travelled a lot and tasted various things at all kinds of restaurants. Maybe this is the most expensive burger in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, but it isn't the most expensive one in the world. In Belgium, there's a burger made from diamonds and gold leaflets which costs 30,000 dollars,'' Ante told Zadarski.

Over the past year, they have sold seven of these Vir burgers, but Basic has stated that they also have other favourable specialties in their offer. Recently, a father and son from Vukovar came to try out one of these burgers because they read about it on the internet and wanted to try it.

''It's true that that happened, but this isn't a dish that you'll eat every week, maybe you'll have it once in your entire life. A guy might want to show off to a girl on a date by taking her for the most expensive burger in all of Croatia, and they'll share it, because it's saturated enough that it's enough for two people. My desire is to turn this into a special story, and those who don't want to pay so much can always choose something from our offer in a price range of 50 to 100 kuna. Our drinks cost from 10 to 2600 kuna, so there's something for everyone,'' Basic concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

71 kg of Food Per Capita Thrown Away in Croatia Every Year

ZAGREB, 24 July 2022 - About 71 kg of food per capita is thrown away in Croatia every year, totalling over 280,000 tonnes, and 76% of that comes from households, while the EU average is 53%, the president of the Food Waste Prevention Centre (CEPOH), Branka Ilakovac, has told Hina.

Prevention and educating citizens has not been recognised in Croatia as key in the fight against the creation of food waste, she said, underlining the importance of expert organisations constantly informing and educating all age groups and sectors.

CEPOH has launched an EU project to build capacities for the Green Deal made to the measure of local communities in order to help everyone who wishes to donate food.

The HRK 442,500 project is mostly financed by the European Social Fund and will last 15 months.

Preventing the creation of food waste is the most important step in food waste management as recommended by the European Commission, Ilakovac said.

It is possible to significantly reduce food waste by educating customers to change daily habits in buying, preparing and consuming food, she said, adding that during the 2020 COVID lockdown, households reduced food waste by 10%.

She said a CEPOH survey showed that nearly half the respondents cited an excess of food prepared as the reason for food waste in their household.

Ilakovac underlined the need to raise awareness of the fact that food waste polluted the air, the soil and underground waters.

Twenty-five percent of habitable areas and 70% of drinking water are used for the world's food production, which is the cause of 30% of greenhouse gases, 80% of deforestation, and one of the major causes of change in land use and biodiversity loss, she said.

That also accelerates climate change, which in turn affects the safety, quality and availability of food, she added.

Throwing food is also a moral problem because of the many socially vulnerable, undernourished and hungry people, whose numbers will only increase due to global inflation and climate change, she said.

According to estimates, EU countries throw away 88 million tonnes of food, causing a cost of €143 billion, she said, adding that Croatia, as an EU member state, set the target of reducing the throwing of food by 50% by 2030, which is also in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Ilkovac also said that Croatia had drawn up a 2019-22 plan to prevent and reduce food waste.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Love Croatian Brunch? Zagreb Declared Second Best Brunch City in Europe

July the 23rd, 2022 - Do you love a good, hearty Croatian brunch? If marendas, as they're commonly referred to here, are your thing, then Zagreb is the place to come to. This city has just been voted the second best European city for brunch.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian capital has been ranked as one of the top cities in Europe this summer for a good brunch. The City of Zagreb was crowned the second best city for eating brunch, or as we call it, marenda, a meal that falls somewhere between breakfast and lunch, with a score of 8.85 out of a maximum of 10.

Only Athens in Greece was ranked better than Zagreb with a total score of 8.88 (out of 10). This conclusion was reached following research conducted by the portal Uswitch.com, which combed the ratings of visitors to 235,000 restaurants in a number of European capitals.

Despite th city's high ranking, the average price of a meal in the best restaurants is also the seventh highest in Europe. A visitor will thus pay 32.48 euros for their Croatian brunch in Zagreb, almost twice as much as they'd need to fork out (no pun intended) in the Greek capital, where it will cost around 16.6 euros.

For tourists looking for a good meal, Athens is the first choice thanks to the choice of 1136 restaurants where the average brunch is the fifth cheapest in Europe. Side by side with Athens is Bratislava, with a brunch being only 24 cents more expensive, or 16.42 euros on average.

Zagreb and a good Croatian brunch is followed by Malta's Valletta with a minimally lower restaurant rating of 8.84. Not only does Malta's capital city offer some of the best dining experiences in all of Europe, it also took the second best rating among European capitals in the vegetarian restaurant segment.

At the same time, the average brunch on that Mediterranean island is almost 10 euros more affordable than it is here Zagreb, and cheaper meals are also offered in Lisbon, Sofia, Prague and Bratislava.

In anticipation of another record-breaking summer tourist season in which visitors will be on the prowl for a good restaurant after seeing the capital city's sights and attractions, it is worth recalling the last one. Last year, 13.8 million arrivals and 84.1 million overnight stays were registered in the Republic of Croatia.

Compared to the pandemic-dominated year of 2020, domestic tourism workers, as well as everyone who indirectly lives from tourism, were able to rub their hands together with satisfaction with 77 percent more arrivals and 55 percent more overnight stays. At the same time, the City of Zagreb has been successfully building its image of an extremely desirable destination in the continental part of the country for the last ten years, with 638 thousand arrivals registered officially.

According to the latest data from the City of Zagreb, in the first four months of this year, there were 221.6 thousand arrivals and 510.3 thousand tourist overnight stays. Compared to last year, Zagreb achieved 165 percent more arrivals and 132 percent more overnight stays, but tourism in the capital hasn't yet fully recovered from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. By the end of April 2022, there were about 30 percent fewer arrivals and almost 17 percent fewer overnight stays realised in the city by tourists.

Over the last decade, as the attractiveness of the Croatian capital as a destination and its offer grew, with hostels, apartments, hotels and numerous restaurants being opened. The coronavirus pandemic stopped the upward trend in its very tracks, since the largest number of tourists to Zagreb mostly arrive by plane, and that mode of transportation was suspended for several months for tourism purposes.

With the summer now in full swing and with 2022's figures looking extremely promising, even outdoing 2019's in some areas, a Croatian brunch being given number two in all of Europe will certainly help place Zagreb on the gastronomy map.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Belje Wins Two Gold Medals for Much Loved Slavonian Delicacies

July the 17th, 2022 - Belje has won two gold medals for its much loved Slavonian delicacies, shining a well-earned and very much deserved spotlight on the products from the often wrongly overlooked Eastern Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences in the City of Osijek, the very first kulen quality assessment was held in the organisation of this scientific institution, which is a long-term partner of both small family farms (OPGs) and large producers in the standardisation and improvement of kulen production. Kulen is just one of the many Slavonian delicacies which has been winning over hearts for decades.

Belje sent its premium kulen from the Crna Slavonska (Black Slavonian) and Baranjski kulen (Baranja kulen) lines with a designation of geographical origin for evaluation. Both of these products absolutely delighted the jury, which awarded them gold medals for their high quality.

"Each piece of kulen that comes from our production is dealt with by hand, as is the case with all of the family farms. We make our Baranjski kulen according to strictly defined protection specifications, and as such, we proudly highlight our European blue ZOZP stamp on every single piece of it. It's a production that lasts about four months in total and during which we carefully monitor all stages, from start to finish. We also produce kulen from Black Slavonian pigs, which we raise on our pastures in the Kopacki Rit Nature Park," said Ljiljana Vajda-Mlinacek, Belje's head of corporate communications.

Goran Kusec, a professor at FAZOS (the aforementioned scientific institution in Osijek) and one of the best connoisseurs of kulen in all of the Republic of Croatia, commented on the evaluation and the quality of the samples sent for evaluation.

"For many years now, together with my colleagues from the Faculty of Food Technology, I've been evaluating kulen throughout the Eastern Croatian regions of Slavonia and Baranja. This year, we decided that the time had come to organise a proper evaluation within a large scientific institution, such as our faculty, in order to further emphasise the importance of kulen and its production for the entire region. 33 kulen samples from all five Slavonian counties took part in the evaluation and all of them were excellent. We evaluated the cut, taste and smell of kulen according to international standards and norms,'' concluded Kusec when discussing these Slavonian delicacies which more than deserve the limelight.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Croatian Tomatoes to Hit Market With New Proven Quality Label

July the 7th, 2022 - Croatian tomatoes are set to hit the market and the shelves boasting a brand new ''proven quality'' (dokazana kvaliteta) label, much like other products have done over the last couple of years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the Ministry of Agriculture passed the Decision on the recognition of the ''proven quality'' label for vegetables, the request for the recognition of the same label was submitted by the Association of Associations of Croatian Vegetable Growers.

The first producers who successfully completed the process of confirming the conformity of tomato production with the ''proven quality'' label for vegetables are Belje plus d.o.o. and Fructus glasshouses d.o.o. and soon it will be possible to buy Croatian tomatoes with this label on the market.

Vegetable producers who use the ''proven quality - Croatia/dokazana kvaliteta - Hrvatska'' label must ensure that these vegetables undergo a production process according to very precisely defined criteria in their specification, which includes care for environmental protection through the responsible use of fertilisers and pesticides, the use of the optimal time of harvesting those vegetables, the length of time spent in transport in order to preserve the nutritional value of the product, and the proper selection of the packaging that protects the vegetables from damage during their storage and transport.

It's worth noting that the first sector that recognised the advantage of this system was the fruit production sector, and the request for recognition of the ''proven quality'' label for fruit was submitted by the Croatian Fruit Association, and from October 2021, apples marked with this label could be bought on the market.

Another sector that has also recognised the advantage of this system is the consumption egg sector, and the request for the recognition of the ''proven quality'' label for consumption eggs was submitted by the Poultry Science Association, and consumption eggs marked with this label have been available for purchase on the market since February 2022.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

One in Five Croatian Citizens Eat Meat Everyday

ZAGREB, 8 May 2022 - One in five Croatian citizens eat meat every day, 69% eat it several times a week, and chicken and pork are the most consumed ones, a survey by the JaTrgovac magazine and the Hendal market research agency shows.

According to the survey, 7.6% of respondents eat meat several times a month and 1.6% do so rarely. It also shows that almost 98% of the population are meat eaters.

Chicken is most often consumed by 55.1% of citizens, followed by pork (31.8%), veal (9.7%), turkey (2.6%) and lamb (0.8%).

As for preference, 39.3% of respondents love chicken the most, followed by pork (21.3%), veal (17.1%) and lamb (15.3%). Turkey is the favourite meat of 4% of respondents.

As for cured meat, the most consumed one is bacon (33.5%), followed by sausage (19.7%) and ham (16.8%).

Bacon is the favourite cured meat of 29.1% of respondents, followed by prosciutto (28%), ham (12.8%) and sausage (12.5%).

The survey was conducted in March and the respondents were aged 16 and older.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Croatian Domacica Biscuits Spark Sexism, Feminism Debates

May the 5th, 2022 - The much loved Croatian domacica biscuits, of all things, have been causing quite a stir of late, with debates about sexism and the singling out of women coming to the fore. Kras' popular snack has found itself in some seemingly accidental hot water.

Domacica, which if you speak Croatian, you'll know means housewife, has now been joined by words such as umjetnica (female artist), menadjerica (female manager), pravnica (female lawyer) and the list goes on. While it seems Kras' intention was to highlight how women belong in high roles just like men do, for some the opposite reaction has occurred.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, "Housewife and artist", "Housewife and programmer", "Housewife and manager", "Housewife and lawyer"…, are just some of the names of the new movement of Kras' popular Croatian Domacica biscuits.

All of this, of course, didn't manage to hit the shelves and pass people's attention without numerous reactions on social media. Many feel that there is no need for so much political correctness, and others feel like another stab at women is being taken, be it intentional or not.

"And what's wrong with being just a housewife?" one social media user asked.

"There's nothing quite as enjoyable as buying some of your unnecessarily expensive but still favourite biscuits and being greeted by political propaganda trying to teach you how to think," one Twitter user wrote.

"When a biscuit is just a ''programmer'' or ''manager'' and there is a 'domacin' (an unemployed man who takes care of the house and cooks lunch), this policy from Kras will make sense," one Twitter user wrote, as N1 reports.

"Kras made us a whole collection to understand what we can also be, alongside being housewives," another Twitter user wrote.

Still, there are others who think the Croatian Domacica biscuits campaign has hit the right mark.

"The name Domacica is well known now and they're trying to play around with words a little. They aren't creating a new brand but instead using the same name with creative ideas. It isn't ideal, but not every shift has to be the status quo. A great example for me is Dorina & cvarci, they've been sold out, there were waiting lists for them, what a great PR stunt,'' wrote one woman.

Many people were surprised because they always thought that the name Domacica merely referred to the idea of homemade biscuits themselves.

Kras also spoke up and attempted to explain the goal of this campaign, which appears to have got a little lost along the way...

"After numerous inquiries, we're now responding with some more information. The goal of our new Domacica campaign is to raise public awareness of the importance and complexity of the responsibilities that women most often take on in the household and to make them aware that caring for the household should be the common job of all household members.

With this goal, primarily in order to attract the attention of people and to open up discussion around a very important topic, we put Croatian Domacica biscuits out in a special issue on the shelves as the first step of our campaign. In addition to the inscription Domacica, we added several frequent occupations to the biscuit boxes, as far as the production process allows, to remind us that women, in addition to their work at work, are most often the ones who take care of the household on a daily basis as well. With the campaign, we want to encourage all members of society to take their share of obligations and responsibilities in the home so that the distribution of household chores is equal.

In collaboration with Ipsos, we conducted a survey in which the majority of respondents, both adult women (70 percent) and adult men (51 percent), as well as teenage girls (73 percent) and teenager boys (72 percent), claim that women do most of the work in the household. In the next phase of the campaign on social media, we'll use challenges to encourage people to take on some of the household chores and document specific activities by which they participate in the equal division of those said chores.

Part of the campaign will be educating the younger generation about their own responsibility towards household chores and the importance of the fair division of household chores among all members to encourage them to create the right habits from childhood and adopt them for the future. In agreement with the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics, we're launching an initiative to change part of the definition of housewife in certain dictionaries and modernise this concept.

We believe that the public will recognise the true intention of this campaign and we're calling on everyone to get involved in raising awareness and promoting this socially important topic,'' they said from Kras.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Could Drought Throw Spanner in Works for Croatian Strawberries?

March the 26th, 2022 - Could Croatian strawberries from the fertile and ever-rich Neretva Valley in southern Dalmatia be under threat following an unusually long dry season?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to an abnormally long dry period, Croatian strawberries from plantations down in the Neretva Valley have been placed in danger, as reported by the Maslina portal.

Although it is now climatologically spring, meaning that the general level of precipitation should technically be enough at this moment in time, the situation is completely different and unusual for this time of year. Only 20 millimetres of rain has fallen so far, while for comparison, about 800 mm fell in the period from October to December.

According to agro-estimates, about two million strawberry seedlings have been planted down in the Neretva Valley, which should be harvested during April, but in order for the these much loved 100% Croatian strawberries to properly ripen, they need regular watering with high quality water, which is not available in the Neretva Valley.

Namely, the water is salty owing to the location, which was repeatedly warned about by the association of fruit and vegetable producers (Neretva Youth/Neretvanska Mladez), which addressed the situation in an open letter to the competent Minister, Marija Vuckovic, warning her of the problem of irrigation.

The association warned that Croatian strawberries are an agricultural crop that is extremely sensitive to increased salt concentrations, especially sodium chloride, but the water in the canals from which local farmers take what they need is currently of extremely poor quality, which is naturally placing Croatian strawberries and indeed other locally grown produce in an unfavourable position.

They also pointed out that extreme climate changes haven't bypassed the Neretva Valley either, because there has been and continues to be almost no rain.

"For two months now, we've been experiencing an extremely dry period with a dry wind - bura", the Neretva Youth Association explained for the Maslina portal.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Zagorski Štrukli and Bagremov Honey Join 33 EU Protected Croatian Products

March 9, 2022 - The European Commission announced that the 'Zagorski štrukli' was now registered as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and 'Zagorski bagremov med' as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

In the nineties, the European Union has established a unique system for protecting and promoting traditional agricultural products and foodstuff. Such products are marked with the symbols of the European Union for the protected designation of origin, protected geographical indication, or a traditional guaranteed specialty, which provides the consumer with information on the purchase of an original product of known origin.

Croatia already has 33 protected products. Adding these other two, whose proposal was submitted in 2018, takes our Country to 7th place in the ranking list of EU countries with the most significant number of protected designations of agricultural products and foodstuffs.  

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List of the 33 products whose names are registered in the EU before March 7th. (Image: Ministry of Agriculture of Republic of Croatia)

The application to register the traditional Zagorije dish, made of dough with cottage cheese filling, more precisely known as Zagorski štrukli/Zagorski štruklji, was submitted by the association for the protection, preservation, and promotion of traditional Zagorje products “Tradicija Zagorja” (The Tradition of Zagorje).

On the other hand, the process of protecting the name Zagorski bagremov med was submitted by the Krapina-Zagorje County beekeepers’ association. Zagorski bagremov med (Zagorje black locust honey, sometimes called acacia honey) is produced in Hrvatsko Zagorje from the nectar of Robinia Pseudoacacia.

These important awards confirm that Croatia has a rich legacy of agricultural products and foodstuffs, characterized by a remarkable quality and traditional production. 

Croatia’s cuisine has several influences ranging from Hungarian and Venetian to Austrian and Turkish. These varying traditions come together to create a fresh and seasonal eating style, splitting in a range of eight loosely defined regional styles of food: Zagorje, Slavonia, Medimurje, Lika, Gorski Kotar, Istria, and Dalmatia.

Spreading the knowledge on the meaning of protected designation of origin, protected geographical indication, and traditional guaranteed specialty, as well as informing people with labels on products whose names are protected and registered as one of the previous designations, helps the producers promote their products and teach the consumers how to identify an authentic traditional product. 

If you needed another reason to visit Croatia and discover its culinary tradition, here are two more, or rather…35 to discover!

For more on Croatian products, producers, companies, and exports, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Croatian Cheeses: An Introductory Guide

March 2, 2022 - When traveling, experiencing a country’s gastronomical delights is at the top of my to-do lists. Food easily reveals a tremendous amount about the country’s culture and customs, reflecting the unique history, identity, values, and beliefs of its inhabitants. This is definitely the case when it comes to Croatia’s culinary heritage.

There is so much to cover when it comes to Croatia’s food scene. Despite the country’s relatively small size, there is an astounding amount of regional variety.

Let’s get into the swing of things by introducing one of my favorite Croatian products - cheese!

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Can't resist a gorgeous cheese plate. Image: Pexels

Oldest cheese found in Croatia

Sir (pronounced s-ee-r), cheese has been an integral part of Croatian history from as far back as 7,200 years, where researchers from Pennsylvania State University found traces of the world’s oldest cheese along the Dalmatian coast.

Although records from the time are scarce, it is theorized that during the 4-5th century BCE, Thracian and Illyrian sheep farmers accidentally produced the first cheeses when milk they kept stored in bags spontaneously fermented and curdled. Today, cheese features heavily in both sweet and savory dishes throughout Croatia such as Burek and Strukli.

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Sheep were the dominant livestock for cheese production. Image: Pexels

Yet, on the global culinary scene, Croatian cheeses remained shrouded in relative obscurity due to the lower levels of production, and the disconnect between traditional cheese producers and the international market.

However, this situation started to change when in 2017, Paški sir, a hard sheep’s cheese from the island of Pag with its delectable notes of wild sage and thyme, took home the gold for the best sheep’s milk cheese at the Global Cheese Awards, giving Croatia’s cheeses much-needed recognition.

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Paški sir. Image: Gligora/Facebook

In recent years, Croatia has seen the launch of new types of high-quality cheese, as both artisanal and industrial producers continue to experiment with new additions and methods. Don’t be surprised to find both industrially produced cheese, alongside homemade cheese, on the tables of Croatian families.

Croatian cheese galore

This might come as a surprise but despite its small production, Croatia still boasts a mind-boggling variety of delicious cheeses like Škripavac, Tounjski, Creski, Sir iz mješine, Prgica, Lećevački, and Basa, just to name a few!

These cheeses are typically made from goat (kozji), sheep (ovčji), cow’s (kravlji) milk, or a combination of the 3.

Like Croatian food in general, cheese offerings tend to vary between regions but one of the staple cheeses that can easily be found on the shelves of every grocery store is svježi sir, or fresh cheese.

Svježi sir is typically associated with the regions of Zagorje and Prigorje, about an hour's drive north of Zagreb. This creamy, delicate soft cheese is often consumed at breakfast and is made by processing cow’s milk which gives it its signature mild tanginess, comparable to greek yogurt.

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Svježi sir, Croatia’s unsung hero of cheese. Image: Pexels

Derivatives of Svježi sir also include Posni sir, a low fat, smooth, spreadable version, and Zrnati sir which has a grainy texture that most closely resembles cottage cheese. More recently, Icelandic Skyr has also found local popularity due to its high protein, low-fat content. Although consumed like yogurt, Skyr is actually a sour milk cheese.

Another type of Croatian cheese that is commonly sold at farmers' markets is what is known as Kuhani sirevi, or cooked cheese.

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Different types of Kuhani sirevi. Image: Mate Bojčić/Facebook

Kuhani sirevi gets its name from the preparation method where cow’s milk is boiled (i.e. cooked) and curdled with vinegar, before the addition of salt and various spices such as paprika, basil, dill, and oregano.

The result is a semi-hard, rich cheese with a mild chew that when eaten on its own, has a sweet, clean, and grassy flavor. Some producers also smoke this cheese to produce a variant called Dimljeni sir, giving the cheese a delightful smoky aftertaste.

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Aging Lećevački cheese. Image: Njuškalo.hr

Closer to (my) home, Lećevački sir may be one of the most widely recognized Dalmatian hard cheeses, having won several awards in the past. In fact, it was so well-received even back in the day that it was served in the Court of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph (1848-1850).

This cheese originates from the Split hinterland and is made from the milk of either cow, sheep, or a mix of both. It has a mild, grassy aroma with a sharp, slightly spicy aftertaste as a result of the Mediterranean herbs (e.g. rosemary, thyme, sage) that the livestock graze on. Some culinary enthusiasts have even likened aged Lećevački sir, to Paški sir with its nutty notes and crunchy flavor crystals.

Sir iz mišine is a cheese produced in the regions of Zadar, Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. Sir iz mišine used to be made exclusively from surplus sheep’s milk, but is today produced with a mix of goat and cow milk.

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Sir iz mišine, sold from its lambskin sack. Image: Njuškalo.hr

What makes this cheesemaking process unique is that the milk is aged in lambskin sacks (mišina), made from 6-month-old lambs. When the cheese is ready in the fall, it is transported and sold from these same lambskin sacks. This aging technique also imparts a distinct earthy aroma to the cheese, which is often used as an ingredient to flavor various dishes.

Unfortunately, this cheese is becoming more scarce since the process is kept alive by only a handful of cheesemakers in the region, so do try it if you chance upon it in a market.

Last but not least, there is Težački sir. Težački sir is a hard pasteurized Dalmatian cow milk cheese, aged for a minimum of 4 months. Some producers use this cheese to produce other varieties such as Težački Iz Maslinove, where the same cheese is aged for at least 6 months in pressed olive skins. As the wheels age, the cheese absorbs the flavor and aroma of the olives.

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The making of Težački Iz Maslinove at Gligora. Image: Gligora/Facebook

BONUS! How to get the best of both worlds with a method of storing cheese that is unique to the area of ​​Dalmatia and surrounding islands. Semi-hard cheeses are diced into cubes and stored in earthen, or glass containers filled to the brim with olive oil. This way, you get to try the best of Dalmatian cheese and the region’s luscious olive oil.

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Sir u ulju, cheese preserved in olive oil for the best of both worlds! Image: My Tasty Pot/YouTube

A quick note on pasteurization

Some Croatian cheeses, in line with European cheese production standards, are made from “raw”, unpasteurized milk that comes straight from the animal. This process is forbidden and/or highly restricted by countries such as Canada, Australia, and the U.S.

Check for labels stating that the product is pasteurized - pasterizirano, or pasteurized and homogenized - pasteriziran i homogeniziran, or if you’re in a restaurant, ask staff for clarity on this.

All in all, I hope this short guide will help you traverse some language barriers and uncertainties when it comes to trying a slice of Croatia’s culinary wonders. Dobar tek!

For more on Croatian products, producers, companies, and exports, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

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