Tuesday, 23 February 2021

People also ask Google: What Type of Food does Croatia Eat?

February 23, 2021 – What type of food does Croatia eat? Well, it's a small country, only around 4 million people. The food must be pretty similar all over Croatia, right? Wrong

The type of food Croatia eats depends on which region you are in. The Croatian menu is wonderfully varied. Homegrown or domestic Croatian food is usually the product of the country's wonderful natural assets. The type of food Croatia eats is also influenced by its close neighbours. Some food Croatia eats comes historically from the menus of places quite far from Croatia.

Croatia is known for food that is often cooked simply, allowing the finest natural ingredients to sing. Food in Croatia often travels a very short distance from the field to the plate or from the sea to the plate. So, what Croatia eats very much depends on the land and assets in the area close by. For instance, in the mountainous region of Lika, potatoes grow well and appear regularly in the cookbook. In Karlovac, the city's wealth of rivers means that freshwater fish and frogs legs appear on the menu.

Sto_vidjetikarlooooo.jpgKarlovac, a city whose four rivers inform the local cuisine © Croatian National Tourist Board

What type of food does Croatia eat in the flatlands of Pannonia might be very different to the food Croatia eats in the coastal regions of Dalmatia or Istria. But, not always. Some kinds of food Croatia eats is ubiquitous – you can find some Croatian food that is popular in every region, like grah – an inexpensive, filling and delicious beans-based dish, popular at lunch or punjeni paprika (stuffed peppers). Sarma - meat-filled cabbage rolls cooked in a tomato sauce – is also popular throughout Croatia. Cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet, being used fresh in delicious crunchy side salads or in is fermented form, as sauerkraut.

picture_2sarmy.jpgSarma

Snack food or fast food in Croatia is available on almost every street corner, from the pekara (or pekarnica), the popular local bakeries. Here, you can grab a burek, pizza slice or pita, which is like a cross between a small pastry pie and a pasty (if you're British and know what a pasty is!)

Other fast food in Croatia includes burgers and kebabs, which range in quality from standard to super-premium. The Zagreb restaurant and fast food menu, in particular, has expanded massively over recent years. The choice of food in Zagreb is now varied and international. But that's not the only place. Want to eat Indian food in Dubrovnik? Can do. Fancy some sushi while staring out over beautiful Kvarner Bay in Opatija? Može (you may)!

navisssssssssssssssssssss.jpgNavis Hotel overlooking Kvarner Bay - Opatija's first sushi restaurant © Hotel Navis Opatija

Croatia now has many Michelin-recommended and several Michelin-starred restaurants. Their number grows each year. But, while the variety of international and top-flight continues to expand in Croatia, this does not tell the real story of what Croatia food is.

Pizza is not really Croatian food (although, like that other Italian import ice cream, Croatians do make it very well). Burgers are not Croatian food, even if pljeskavica is. Pekara might be ubiquitous, but that is not real Croatian food. No. To find out truly what type of food does Croatia eat, you'll have to find a seat in a traditional restaurant or tavern (a konoba, if you're on the coast, krčma, klet or gostiona, gostionica or restoran elsewhere). There you can soak up the wonderful vibes and sometimes spectacular scenery. But, more important that that, you might find a meal you'll never forget.

The only thing in Croatia that truly beats traditional food from a great tavern, is food in Croatia that is made by mom or grandma in the home. If you're lucky enough to be invited to try traditional Croatian food in someone's home, you simply must go. It's the best!

What type of food does Croatia eat?

What food is Croatia known for in the region of Istria?
103990514_2766842676932885_8553088344150944332_ofdzsgabdfbagtfbafgbnasfg.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Istria? © Draguč, Istria by Romulic and Stojcic

The most northwesterly region of Croatia, food in Istria is often distinctly different to that found in the other areas of Croatia. The region's close proximity to Italy can be tasted within much traditional Istrian food. Homemade pastas take centre stage on meat, fish and vegetable dishes and also find their way into Istrian soups and stews. Many small fishing villages exist on the Istrian coast and the catch of the day is not only popular with those who live on the coast – seafood makes its way into the interior of Istria too. Familiar Mediterranean meals featuring seabass, bream, sardine, sole, squid, scallops, crab, scampi, mussels and oysters can be found on the Istrian food menu. Black cuttlefish risotto and the stews Brodet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like elsewhere on the Croatian coast.

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The Istrian interior is a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills covered in vineyards, long stretches of olive groves and fruit trees, picturesque hilltop towns and river valleys which cut through unblemished nature and forest. It is within these forests that one of Istria's most famous ingredients can be found.

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Istria is famous for truffles. The rare and costly delicacy makes its way generously into Istrian food, shaved over pasta dishes or added to oils, cheese or even chocolate. You can take a guided tour to hunt for truffles in Istria. Truffles aren't the only things hunted in the region's woods – game makes its way into some delicious Istrian food dishes.

tartufi_pljukanci_1-maja-danica-pecanicdgfadsgadfvbgdz.jpgHomemade pasta with truffles - classic Istria! © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Other produce the region is famous for include honey, Istrian prosciutto (prsut) and Istrian olive oil. In 2020, Istria was voted the world's best olive oil region for a sixth consecutive year. You can find it in most Istrian pasta dishes, salads and on almost every dining table. Delicious.

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You can find different local specialities in villages all over Istria, usually informed by the crops most grown nearby or the produce popularly made there. These are celebrated at food and drink festivals which regularly occur in villages and towns throughout the region. Go to any of these if you can. They're a brilliant opportunity to try some of the best traditional foods of Istria, and you'll be able to wash it down with excellent Istrian wine varieties like Malvasia or Teran.

imagefrittty.jpgAsparagus is just one of many ingredients for which the Croatian region of Istria is famous, seen here made into a frittata or omelette © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Some famous Istrian food dishes include Manestra, a minestrone-type soup made with vegetables (and sometimes meat or bones are used to flavour), Istrian žgvacet, a more meaty stew, asparagus (which is often eaten with eggs or made into an omelette or frittata) and speciality beef dishes which come from the region's rare, indigenous Boskarin cow.

What do they eat in Croatia in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast?
split-3712767_1920_1.jpgThe city of Split on the Dalmatian coast

The food eaten in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast is classic Mediterranean food. Croatian waters of the Adriatic sea are very clean and offer up a stunning range of seafood. Fish like sardines, tuna, seabass and bream are incredibly popular and are often served simply grilled, sometimes flavoured with olive oil, salt, garlic and nothing more. A popular – if not ubiquitous – side dish to accompany grilled fish is blitva, which is a hardy green chard that thrives even in the extreme heat and nutrient-weak soil of the region. It is traditionally cooked with potatoes and flavoured with olive oil and salt.

fish-3684985_1920_1.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? Sea bass grilled and served simply is an unforgettable meal of any holiday in this part of Croatia

Other seafood such as squid, octopus, crab, scampi and prawns are popular in Dalmation cooking. Many get the same simple treatment as the fine fish – they are grilled simply, black bars of mild charring from the grill scarring their surface upon serving. Octopus also makes its way into a delicious salad, often served as a starter. Dalmatian seafood is also used in risottos, with prawn risotto and black cuttlefish risotto particular favourites.

fish-725955_1920_1.jpgOctopus salad is a popular starter in Dalmatia

Many more varieties of fish than the famous ones mentioned can be found in coastal fish markets (there are great ones in Rijeka, Kvarner and in Split). You'll find various varieties of fish used in delicious stews and soups served in Dalmatia. Brudet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like in Istria.

4_gastro-stew-optimized-for-print-maja-danica-pecanicyfkufjf.jpgDalmatian food found on the coast often relies heavily on the gifts of the Adriatic sea. This dish, known as Brudet (Brodet in some places) is a fish stew/soup popular all through Croatia's coastal regions © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

A popular traditional method of cooking in Dalmatia is 'ispod peka' – food cooked under a metal bell-shaped covering upon which hot coals and embers are placed. These long and slow-cooked dishes often contain a mixture of meat and vegetables and could be comparable perhaps to a Moroccan tagine – but without north African spices. This method of cooking holds a theatre that matches its great taste, but many places ask you order a day in advance if you want to try it because the cooking time can be long. Octopus, lamb, pork and beef are the most popular choices to be found cooked 'under the bell'

Pekazaton.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? A dish of great theatre is 'peka' - food cooked 'under the bell'. Try the one with octopus! © Zaton holiday resort

Dalmatia is famous for smoked prosciutto (prsut), smoked, dry-cured bacon (pancetta) and lamb. You'll see both whole sucking pig and whole roasted lamb cooking on spits above flickering flames all across Dalmatia. Dalmatian lamb is full of flavour. Unlike elsewhere, where it is flavoured with garlic, rosemary, other spices or even anchovy, Dalmatian lamb is seasoned only with salt and a little olive oil. It needs nothing more and this is the absolute truth. A highlight not to miss.

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Elsewhere, Dalmatia is famous for its cheese. The cheeses from island Pag are particularly famous – usually hard in texture, full of flavour and not inexpensive. You'll find them served alongside prsut and olives on the buffets of any parties or official functions and are best enjoyed with local wines. Croatia's most powerful red wines come from Dalmatia. If that's your kind of wine, this is one of the best regions in the world.

e0210f36257c3dffb45491df5f1ba0c8asfjpaioshfGAILSDHGFLsdfsadhgasjd.jpgWhat food do they eat in Dalmatia in Croatia? The cheese from the Dalmatian island of Pag is extremely famous © Croatian National Tourist Board

Apart from peka, another famous Dalmatian coastal dish is Pašticada. Like peka, an authentic Pašticada requires pre-ordering – it takes a minimum 24 hours of preparation time to make a good one, as the beef used within it is marinated. Finding a truly great Pašticada is difficult. The best are cooked with care, love and attention within the home and are served for special occasions. If you're lucky enough to try one of those, recapturing that distinct fruity taste will be difficult and many restaurant-ready versions will disappoint.

1440px-Pasticada_1.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Dalmatia on special occasions? Pašticada. If you try the best, it will likely be homecooked © Popo le Chien

A lot of Dalmatian coastal food is comparable to that found all along the Mediterranean shoreline. One distinct anomaly is the city of Omiš, whose cuisine is supplemented by its position at the mouth of the huge Cetina river. You can read a detailed article about the cuisine of Omis here.

What kind of food do they eat in Croatia within inland Dalmatia / the Dalmatian hinterland?
gorchf.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? It varies. In the city of Drniš, they are famous for making a distinct prosciutto (prsut) © gorchfin

The Dalmatian hinterland is one of the great gastronomic regions of Croatia, yet it remains largely undiscovered by the crowds visiting the coast. It can be tough to leave the beautiful beaches, but a trip behind the mountains is worth it for multiple reasons, not least the food.

It really is the shortest of journeys to make. For that reason, the cuisine of inland Dalmatia contains all the treats you'll find on restaurant menus by the coast (but probably at half the price!) In addition, they have their own specialities you're unlikely to find by the sea.

drnyyyyyyy.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? Drniški Pršut © Tourist Board of Drniš

In the city of Drniš, they are famous for their cheese and distinct pršut, in Imotski they're known for a delicious almond cake. In the hinterland behind Omiš, you'll find Poljicki Soparnik – a truly authentic Croatian dish. In the villages around the Neretva valley, close to Metkovic, you'll find frogs and eels used in local cuisine.

soppy.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The hinterland behind the city of Omis in Dalmatia is one of the few places you'll find Poljički Soparnik, a truly authentic Croatian food © Marc Rowlands

Continental Croatian cuisine and traditional Mediterranean cooking collide in the Dalmatian hinterland – it really is the best of both. Much of the lamb Dalmatia is famous for comes from the foothills on either side of the Dinaric Alps and meat plays a perhaps bigger role in Dalmatian cuisine than it does on the coast.

What food is Croatia known for in Zagreb?
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Compared to just ten years ago, the Zagreb food offer has exploded in its number of options. You can find Japanese sushi, Chinese food, Levantine food, Mexican food, Indian food, food from Sri Lanka, Lebanese and Arabic food, Thai food and Turkish food in authentic Zagreb restaurants and other food outlets. You'll also find some of Croatia's best burger joints and pizza restaurants in the capital. These excellent imports now rival the classic Balkan grill/barbecue joints for the attentions of restaurant-goers and those who order takeaway.

fallyfffs.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, these days you can eat food from all over the world - including delicious falafel © Falafel etc.

If you're only in Zagreb for a short amount of time, please don't miss the grill experience. The Croatian capital really does have some of the best in the country and it's a much more authentic experience than a burrito or sweet and sour pork with fried rice.

turkeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Foods like burek, kebab and baklava can be found all over the Balkans, a remnant of the time the Ottomans were here. But, the best baklava in Croatia is available in Zagreb, made by Turkish guys at La Turka © Mateo Henec

Alongside the pljeskavica, cevapi, sausages and pork steaks on the Balkan grill menus, you'll often find stuffed meat options. Some of these are very popular in Zagreb. It could be a burger, with bacon included or one filled with cheese. Or, it could be a chicken, turkeys, pork or veal portion, tenderised and flattened with a cooking mallet so that it can be rolled around cheese and ham and cooked in breadcrumbs, like the famous Zagrebački odrezak.

magazinnnnn.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? DO NOT miss the grill restaurants in Zagreb. Magazinska Klet, just behind Autobusni kolodvor (intercity bus station) is a really good one © Magazinska Klet

Zagreb food is much more influenced by continental European cooking than the menu found near Croatia's coast. Austrian influences can be seen not only in the city's rich architecture – its cakes and pastries are comparable to some found on just the other side of neighbouring Slovenia.

Strukli is a Zagreb speciality – a baked or boiled pastry dish which can have different fillings and accompanying sauces, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream and cream being among them. Another distinct element of the Zagreb food offer is gablets – small dishes of food, served in restaurants at lunchtime, for a below-normal restaurant price. These are a great way to sample traditional Croatian food inexpensively. Ask a local for a recommendation of where does the best.

1440px-Štrukli_iz_Okrugljaka_1.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, they are very proud of the dish known as štrukli © Bonč

A modern European city of almost a million people – approaching a quarter of the country's population – it goes without saying that not a large percentage of Zagreb's land space is devoted to farming and agriculture. So, when we are discussing the food, plus much of the produce and menu of Zagreb, in many cases what we are actually talking about is the food of a much wider region surrounding the city. Zagreb County produce plays a big part in the cuisine of Croatia's capital. So too does that of the agricultural area which lies on the other side of the mountain Medvednica, which dominates Zagreb's skyline. That area is traditionally known as Zagorje.

sommy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In much of the capital of Zagreb, the food and cuisine is actually informed by the areas surrounding, like Zagreb County. The pretty hills of Samobor in Zagreb County © Samobor Tourist Board

What food do they eat in Croatia in Zagorje and northern Croatia?
zgrrlksfh2.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The unspoiled rural landscape of Zagorje 'over the mountain' of Medvednica, informs much of what we class as Zagreb cuisine  © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje produce forms the basis of much that you'll find on the menu of Zagreb. This traditional region today stretches across several Croatian counties, each containing rolling hills, with vineyards rising above agricultural fields. It is very often a very pretty landscape.

dsjkafjgfJGVK1111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Pffft! Forget the food, I want to eat this impossibly pretty landscape! This is Zagorje © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The food of Zagorje is traditionally the food of an agricultural region – simple, hearty fare, using the freshest produce that grows in the fields surrounding. Soups (in particular, a famous creamy potato soup), stews and bean-based dishes sit alongside sausages, filled pastries and fowl on the Zagorje menu.

militin11111111111111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Zagorje mlinci © Mlin Jertovec doo

The region's cuisine is famous for some distinct inclusions. Polenta is used more in the Zagorje kitchen than in other regions. You'll likely find a greater choice of fowl here than anywhere else in Croatia. Duck, geese, guinea fowl, pheasant, chicken and turkey can be found on the Croatian food menu and many of these are commonly found being farmed in Zagorje. Such birds can be found in the diet of Croatians right the way through Zagorje and up to the most northern part of Croatia, Medimurje.

majaturk.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagorje, turkey and other birds are usually served with pasta sheets called mlinci. Both Zagorje turkey and Zagorje mlinci are protected at their place of origin at an EU level © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje turkey is Croatia's most famous. Like other bird dishes cooked all across Croatia, it is frequently served alongside distinct pasta sheets called Zagorski Mlinci, which is cooked in the bird's roasting juices and fat. In Zagorje, they are known for their baking – excellent pastries, both savoury and sweet, and their speciality grain breads, make their way across the mountain and into the hungry capital. Look out too for a savoury strudel they make with a mushroom filling. Yum! And, if you venture as far up as Medimurje, look out for one of their specialities called Meso 'z tiblice. Like much of continental Croatia, in Zagorje, locally made cheeses are an important part of traditional food, as are preserved meats and sausages.

What food does Croatia eat in Slavonia?
donjion1111.jpg What type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat fresh food from their gardens or fields © Croatian National Tourist Board

As a rule, Croatians don't really like their food too hot and spicy. In an unpublished section of an interview with a Croatian Michelin restaurant chef, TCN was told that this appreciation of more milder flavours even extends to a reticence to eat older, aged and fully flavoured game and other meat. This conservative palette and minimal appreciation of strong spicing can be seen throughout the Croatian menu. And, in many cases, it's understandable. When produce is so fresh and full of flavour, it only impedes a dish to mask the taste of these ingredients with spices. The one region in Croatia that absolutely loves bold flavours within its traditional food is Slavonia.

slavvuy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have a much more spicy menu than the rest of Croatia © Romulić & Stojčić

A huge traditional region running east of Zagreb, across the flatlands of the Pannonian basin, right up to the border with Serbia, Slavonia is today divided up into several different counties. Also, within the history of this traditional region, two distinct regions share space alongside Slavonia in the Pannonian basin – Syrmia and Baranja. It perhaps does a disservice to these two small regions that they are often just swept under the broader title of Slavonia. Each makes its own incredible contribution to the Croatian menu.

Slawonien-850x491jdkssfADS.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have two huge rivers bookending the north and south of their traditional region - the Drava and the Sava © Croatian National Tourist Board

In Croatian Syrmia (the other half of this traditional region lies across the border, in Vojvodina, present-day Serbia), you'll find some of the best white wines produced in continental Croatia. In Baranja, they are masters of preserved meats. The smoked, dry-cured bacon here may not be as famous as Dalmatian pancetta, but you'd be hard pushed to decide which was better. One of Croatia's oldest and best-regarded meat producers, Belje, is from Baranja.

Baranja is also famous for kulen, a sausage made only from premium cuts of pig and coloured red by a generous spicing of paprika. But, like so many parts of this region's menu, kulen is also made in Slavonia proper. The land is the same meaning much of the menu is the same so, please consider the following inclusions to be common in all.

MK4_5082rommyslav.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? A selection of Slavonia and Baranja cold meats. Baranja kulen is the irregular-shaped sausage in the top left of the platter © Romulić & Stojčić

Slavonia's close proximity to Hungary is responsible for much of the strong spicing and flavours of the region's food. Paprika, in sweet and mild and more hot and piquant styles, can be found in many dishes of the Slavonian cookbook. Indeed, although the condiment ajvar is popular as an accompaniment to grilled meat everywhere and therefore made all over Croatia, it is in Slavonia that you'll regularly find the spiciest (although even theirs is milder than some brilliant, more brutal versions made elsewhere in the Balkans). Paprika makes its way not only into preserved sausages like kulen but also into Slavonian soups and stews.

Kulen_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Slavonian kulen. Slavonian kulen does not have the same irregular shape as Baranja kulen © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Two great rivers border the north and south of Slavonia – the Drava and the Sava, with smaller ones running off or into them through the entire region. These produce a wealth of river fish which are popular in the Slavonian diet.

Throughout almost all the year in Slavonia, it is common to see large Šaran (carp), gutted and butterflied, then impaled outside on branches bored deep into the earth. This allows them to be suspended next to open fires which impart an incredible smoky flavour in the cooking of the fish. These Šaran frequently grow to incredible sizes in the big two rivers. The sight of this al fresco, traditional cooking method, known as u rašljama, is impressive, unforgettable and mouth-watering.

Šaran_Ivo_Biocina.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Šaran (carp) u rašljama © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Šaran also can be found among other river fish in the favourite Slavonian stew of fish paprikas. Richly red from paprika, you can again see this impressively cooked outdoors in Slavonia. Traditional heavy pots are suspended over open fires by the riverside, the dish bubbling and steaming above an intense heat. You would traditionally eat its liquid part first, as a soup, before delving into the fish parts that remain in the bottom (it's advisable to eat it only in this way as it's the best way of avoiding the many bones so typical of the river catch).

fishpap.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Fish paprikash (fiš paprikaš, sometimes shortened to simply fiš) © Romulić and Stojčić

Comparable to fish paprikash but made with meat is the Slavonian favourite of Cobanac. Again, boldly flavoured with paprika, this stew is bolstered in its punch by the use of hunted meats such as venison and wild boar. It is hands down one of Croatia's best dishes. You can find similar game meat used in Slavonian hunters stew and perklet, another thick and tasty dish informed by Hungarian neighbours.

cobanac81269598126589.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Cobanac, a hearty, spicy stew made in Slavonia using wild meats © Youtube screenshot 

Slavonia and neighbouring Vojvodina was once the breadbasket of much of the former Yugoslav federation. Here, this land that was once underwater is incredibly rich in nutrients. Indeed, in harder times, many people from all over the region came to live here, assured of finding work in the region's thriving agricultural industry. Slavonia today is not nearly so integral to the supply of the whole domestic nation's food, but agriculture still thrives here. And, the land is still rich.

areal05donji.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat river fish and fresh fruit and vegetables grown in their own, often large back gardens © Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board

In Slavonia, many live a rural life and even in some towns and large villages, Slavonian houses have huge gardens behind them which are traditionally used for growing vegetables, fruits and nuts or rearing chickens and pigs. Some Slavonian households engage in all of these and others too keep beehives (Slavonian honey is famous and comes in a variety of exciting, different flavours). The products of their labour ensure the freshest ingredients end up in Slavonian home cooking (although, some of their fruits are diverted from the dining table to the pursuit of making rakija). The personal rearing of animals for food also produces a culture in which none of the animal goes to waste.

Krvavica_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Krvavica © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Alongside standard or garlic and paprika flavoured sausages like kobasice, or the aforementioned kulen, in Slavonia you can find Švargl, a terrine made from offal, Čvarci, deep-fried rind (pork scratchings) and krvavica, a Croatian blood sausage. Although perhaps straying far from Italian traditions, Slavonia is also responsible for what is arguably Croatia's greatest style of pizza. Slavonska pizza is a hefty festival of different types of pork meats, loaded with onions and cheese too. It's already a gut-buster but, order it with an egg on top and when you burst the yolk to run across your forkful, you'll forget that pizza was ever Italian in the first place.

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Monday, 8 February 2021

Dalmatian Bacon Joins Prosciutto With European Protection

February 16, 2021 – Pršut tends to hog the limelight when people discuss Croatia's mastery of preserving pig, but prosciutto is far from the whole story. Croatian bacon is the best bacon in the world! Having now attained EU-protection, Dalmatian bacon looks set to rightly become the next most famous export of traditional pork produce from the region.

If you've visited Croatia – perhaps, even if you haven't – you'll have tried or at least heard of its famous prosciutto. Known locally as pršut, this dry-cured ham is a renowned delicacy. Taking pride of place at every public buffet, it is served thinly sliced, usually uncooked and savoured simply alongside bread, cheese, wine and olives. It is enthusiastically imported from Croatia across Europe and no less than four Croatian prosciutti from different regions are protected at an EU-level. But, pršut is not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's mastery with preserving pig.

As well as famous sausages like Kulen, kobasica and krvavica, Croatia is also brilliant at making bacon. That's no overstatement. They are not just good at it – Croatian bacon may be the finest you will ever try.

The best bacon made in the country usually come from Dalmatia and Slavonia and is, like Dalmatian prosciutto, smoked. Though Dalmatian bacon may stand slightly in the shadows of the region's more delicate pršut, this more robust and flavoursome product is featured within a greater wealth of traditional, cooked dishes and praised by anyone who tries it.

dalmatinska-panceta-gvarilovic-lidl-263517.jpgDalmatian panceta © Gavrilovic

However, the secret of Dalmatian bacon may soon be let out of the bag. This traditionally made product has received the same EU-protection as Dalmatian prosciutto. Sometimes called slanina or panceta (even though, in Italy, the title of pancetta is usually reserved for bacon which is not smoked), Dalmatian bacon was protected at a national level in 2019, the first steps required in order for it to apply for a similar classification within the EU. Confirmation of its EU-awarded protection was announced by the Croatian Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday 16 February 2021

Dalmatian bacon is salted by hand, pressed and smoked. Unlike bacon available in other countries, Dalmatian bacon is only ever that which is elsewhere called 'streaky' bacon, as opposed to 'back bacon'. It is made from pork belly and chest. It has belts of whitish fat running along its length, which carry a substantial amount of flavour. Its traditional salting and smoking process are so thorough that it can be eaten raw, uncooked and is regularly enjoyed in this way.

Dalmatian bacon is aided in its preservation by low winter air temperatures and in its drying by seasonal winds.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Six of the Best! Croatian Protected Produce On Sale in China

September 18, 2020 – Six items of Croatian protected produce are among the 100 European items to go on sale in China

Six items of Croatian protected produce are among the 100 European items to go on sale in China. In a reciprocal deal, 100 Chinese products will also be recognised and recommended on the European market.

34933c5e0f633c5d1e4f45c5b0cd6dc9_XL.jpgDalmatian prosciutto © TZ Vrgorac

Baranja kulen, Dalmatian prosciutto, Drniš prosciutto, Lika potatoes, Dingač wine and Neretva mandarins are the premium six Croatian protected produce chosen to be among the European 100. All of the Croatian protected produce is already recognised at a national and at an EU-level and designated its status based on its unique place of origin.

Dingač.jpgDingač wine © Silverije

339ed3435d099dd0a91c267af376e8f0_XL.jpgNeretva Mandarins

The European products will be specially marked and receive special privileges when they go on sale in China. Alongside the Croatian protected produce, other items on the European list are French champagne, Greek feta cheese, Italian Parma prosciutto, Italian mozzarella, Irish whiskey and Portuguese port. On the Chinese list of products are distinct varieties of rice, bean and vegetable products, some of which will already be popular with Europeans who eat or cook Chinese cuisine.

_DSC5737_DxO.jpgDrniš prosciutto © Tourist Board of Drniš

The full list of Croatian produce protected at an EU-level currently includes Istrian olive oil, Dalmatian prosciutto, Pag cheese, Lika lamb, Poljički Soparnik, Zagorje turkey, Korčula olive oil, Istrian prosciutto, Sour cabbage from Ogulin, Neretva mandarins, Slavonian honey, Drniš prosciutto, Cres olive oil, Pag salt, Baranja kulen, Bjelovarski kvargl, Varaždin cabbage, Pag lamb, Šolta olive oil, Meso 'z tiblice, Zagorje mlinci, Krk prosciutto, Lika potatoes, Slavonian kulen, Krk olive oil.

MK4_5082.jpegBaranja kulen, featured within a traditional Slavonian platter © Romulić & Stojčić

b9def02b6d20f4f0adb6e889f99af491_XL.jpgLika Potatoes

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Friday, 28 June 2019

Big Plans for Croatian Meat Industry and Dalmatian Prosciutto

Big plans are in the works for the Croatian meat industry, more precisely the Pivac company who are going forward with enormous investments near Vrgorac, all in the name of Dalmatia's beloved prosciutto (pršut).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Marta Duic writes on the 27th of June, 2019, more than seventy percent of the production of certified Dalmatian prosciutto with a protected designation of origin in the EU, comes from the Vrgorac region, and the largest prosciutto production complex in the whole of Southeastern Europe is located in the village of Zavojane.

The owner is the Croatian meat industry's well known Pivac, which is soon set to complete works at a brand new plant located in the nearby economic zone of Ravča.

"Here, traditional forms of production are used just as our grandparents did, only in larger quantities. In addition to prosciutto, we also do pancetta, salami and sirloin. At this location and at this altitude, we're facing towards the wind, and when it comes to Dalmatian prosciutto, the changes of the bura and jugo winds are important,'' explained Darko Markotić, the director of the Pivac meat processing industry during a visit to prosciutto complex in Zavojane. From the 4500 pieces produced back in 2004, this Croatian company has arrived to the production of as many as 150,000 pieces today, and about ten percent of their production is produced from that sole complex in Zavojane.

"The main export markets are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary," Markotić stated.

In the Ravča zone, in October, a new plant will be opened. In this zone near Vrgorac, there will be a total of nine companies involved in various activities, from the production of car parts and electrics, to laundry.

"The space covers 10,500 square metres and has 300,000 capacity units for prosciutto, where we'll implement all of the modern technology, but we will continue to produce it traditionally," said Markotić.

Investments for the meat industry aren't stopping, because by the end of 2020, they plan to complete a plant for cutting fresh meat and more, as well as new distribution centre covering southern Croatia, and an accompanying administrative building. When this new major investment cycle is over, the new Pivac complex in the aofrementioned economic zone near Vrgorac will cover more than 30,000 square metres, and the value of the total investment will reach a massive thirty million euros.

"It's a private investment, and there's no facility like the one we're getting anywhere else in the world,'' noted the director of this successful Croatian company.

Alongside the aforementioned 300,000 pieces of prosciutto, 2,500 tons of other cured meat products will be stacked and only half a million of them will be processed,'' explains Markotić.

Interestingly, the Croatian company Pivac produces more pancetta than prosciutto on an annual basis, about 2,000 tons of it a year, and in addition to large trade chains, their products are sold in 285 stores. Markotić also pointed out the fact that the key ingredients in Dalmatian prosciutto are salt and smoke, and in natural weather conditions, the prosciutto is dried out for 30-40 days.

The entire process lasts for a minimum of twelve months, and the goods are then usually placed on the market after twelve to twenty months. The prosciutto complex in the village of Zavojane has now expanded, it now employs 25 people with an impressive annual production of 150,000 pieces of prosciutto.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

'Days of Dalmatian Smoked Ham' Begins in Zagreb

It is the beginning of 'Days of Dalmatian Smoked Ham in Zagreb', a smoked ham filled feast that will last until November 7.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Vrgorac is a Town of the Dalmatian Pršut and Wine!!



Yesterday, February 29, 2016, the Tourism Council of the Vrgorac Tourist Board issued a declaration to have Vrgorac become the City of the Dalmatian Pršut and Wine and announced a 3-day manifestation - The Days of the Dalmatian Pršut and Wine to take place in early September at the Ethno village Kokorići.

Inspired by the fact, that the meat industry Braća Pivac, several smaller registered smoke-houses and private smoke-houses located in the Vrgorac area, together place more than 130.000 pieces of the Dalmatian Pršut on the Croatian market, which makes it more than a half of the Croatian production. And the fact, that the Vrgorac areas: Jezero, Rastok and Bunina have more than 14 milion grapevines, which makes the Vrgorac area one of the biggest Croatian wine region, while with a long family tradition of making wine, more and more winemakers turn to growing old native types of vine, all these facts brought the Vrgorac tourist board to a decision to start the ethno-gastro festival The Days of the Dalmatian Pršut and Wine.

It should be an annual, 3-day weekend event, which will pair the traditional culinary values of the hinterland with the authentic rural ambience of the ethno-village Kokorići and the delightful scenery of the Vrbgorac hinterland accompanied by the Dalmatian folklore an other Vrgorac products (honey, chees, bacon, fruits and vegetables).

 

For more details, follow the Vrgorac tourist board.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Tomorrow Starts the 11th National Pršut Fair in Sinj

 
Under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarović the 11th National Pršut (Smoked Ham) and Cured Meat Products Fair will take place on March 19 and 20, 2016 at the Hotel Alkar, informs Ferata.hr.

The opening ceremony of the two-day fair will be on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30. According to an announcement of the director of the PC Sinj Ana Barać for Ferata.hr, everything is ready for this year´s gastronomic and entrepreneurial event.

"There is something interesting about this year´s fair. It is the presentation of the Dalmatian Pršut, which received its European award - his geographically protection, along with the one from Krk, Istria and Drniš. It will be an opportunity to present to all visitors and exhibitors how it got the recognition - both throught the presentation of the exhibitors, but also through numerous professional workshops and training courses, which will take place.."

Similar to previous years, this year´s fair will gather numerous exhibitors of not only food producers, said Barać and added:

"This year we expect about 60 exhibitors, primarily of cured meat from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to pršut, there will be other delicacies for the visitors to buy and taste, such as bacon, Slavonian kulen (sausage), home-made sausage, chees, olive oil, soparnik, uštipci (donuts), wine and rakija. We will present authentic local products, handicrafts and souvenirs.."

You can read the whole article here and be sure not to miss this very tasty event in Sinj this weekend.

 
Thursday, 3 March 2016

The 11th National Pršut Fair in Sinj Soon

(photo: Ferata.hr / Ante Botić)
 
It might be the most used word in the hinterland - pršut. Especially nowadays, when there is a lot going on regarding the decision of the European Commission to protect the Dalmatian Pršut. A strong tradition in making this delicacy is present in many parts of the Inland Dalmatia, Sinj is one of them.

The 11th National Fair for Pršut and Cured Meat Products Sinj 2016 will take place on March 19 and 20, 2016 at the Hotel Alkar in Sinj. Organized by the Venture Centre Sinj and the Split-Dalmatia County, this year´s fair will be held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Ministry of Agriculture and several other ministries and state institutions.

"The 11th Pršut Fair is of a great importance for Sinj and the Cetina region, in terms of tourism and entrepreneurship. There will be authentic home-made food presented, a value produced by our pršut-makers, which was recognized by the European union as the Dalmatian Pršut is now protected by the European geographical indication. This fair is a place where people can get together and share their products, customs and our traditions," said the Sinj Mayor Kristina Križanac for Ferata.hr.
 
Along with pršut, there will be plenty of other local homemade delicacies for everyone to taste - homemade bread, uštipci (donuts), bacon, chees and some good red wine.
Saturday, 27 February 2016

Dalmatian Smoked Ham (Pršut) Protected by EU - Try the One from Dugopolje

(photo: Domagoj Jakopović / 24sata)
 
Dalmatinski Pršut (smoked ham) has been added to the EU´s list of Geographical Indications under the CAP quality scheme.this month and together with the Pršut from Krk, Istria and Drniš, and the extra virgin olive oil from Cres, the Mandarin from Neretva, Ogulin sauerkraut and Baranja kulen (susage), it is the 8 product from Croatia to be protected by the European Commision.

According to Narodni-List.hr, the procedure was initiated four years ago at the request of the Association of Producers. The Ministry of Agriculture registered it at the national level and on February 2014, the Ministry sent a request to the EU Commission to protect the Dalmatian Pršut at the EU level.

Only products, which meet specific criteria can carry the label - the Dalmatian Pršut is described as preserved dry-cured product made from a pig´s leg and the bone, skin and fat, with no additives except sea and is to be produced in Dalmatia.

More detailed conditions say, that from the moment of slaughter to the start of salting, must not pass more than 96 hours and not less than 24 hours. The whole process from salting, through drying and ripening has to be done within the Dalmatian area.

And where to taste such an original Dalmatian Pršut? Inland Dalmatia is the right place to look for, especially Dugopolje with its Pršut from the Smjeli producers.

"We make it the same our ancestors did, the natural environment and ideal conditions for the production of the pršut and other cured delicasies," said Vlade Prančić, owner of the Smjeli company to 24sata on the occasion of opening their store in Zagreb,

Althought they produce several sorts of products, such as ham, bacon, salami and sausages with much care and love, their Dalmatian Pršut is the holder of numerous awards from national and international competitions.

The Dalmatian Pršut of the Smjeli company is smoked and dried naturally, and the strong wind, mild exposure to smoke and the sea salt and the traditional way of ripening gave it a distinctive aroma, mild salty flavour and a reddish colour.

The director of the company, Vlade Prančić, has been interested in the production from an early age. All the knowledge was passed onto him by his father and grandfather, whose nickname was turned into the company name. Their tavern was the most important part of their stone house in Dugopolje and 10-kg pršuts were smoked at the fireplace, then would be transferred under a plain stone and after seven to eight days returned to the smoke again. Pršut in this family was done and eaten after 2 years of smoking and there had to be always pršut and wine in the house. The production process has not changed much, hence the name "Just like in good old days" stated at the Smjeli Dalmatian Pršut.

For a high quality pršut, it is extremely important to have a good pig´s leg, weighing between 14 and 16 kg of fresh meat. Pršut is smoked on dry hornbeam, which has a sweet taste and a little less on beech. Bura (north wind) is very desirable, but not for a long period of time, because it would dry the pršut too much. It is the best, when bura and jugo (south wind) alternate, which is what happens the most in our area," said Vlade Prančić.

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