Friday, 12 February 2021

Varazdin Cabbage Queen on Most Innovative Woman in EU Agriculture Shortlist

February 12, 2021 – Marija Cafuk, who successfully lead the campaign to have Varazdin cabbage protected by the EU, has been shortlisted for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European Agriculture. She used the opportunity to voice her concerns for Croatia's small producers under proposed new changes in the laws on seeds

Inexpensive and packed with nutrients and vitamins C + K, the humble cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet. One of its most famous varieties is Varazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje), which is protected at a European level as distinct in coming from its point of origin.

Varazdin cabbage's successful entry into European protection is in no way thanks to the efforts of Varazdin resident Marija Cafuk, who is the custodian of Varazdin cabbage seeds and the only person in Croatia who is licensed to sell them. For her efforts, she has now been shortlisted by the European Association of Agricultural Producers Copa Cogeca for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European agriculture.

According to Copa Cogeca, the award aims to highlight the contribution that women make to rural development and the development of new models of food production in the context of climate change and environmental protection.

“Of course, I was pleasantly surprised by the nomination, which I think is a recognition of the long struggle to preserve our Varazdin cabbage seeds in conditions when we lost the last companies that were engaged in seed production and (had to) depend on imports,” Mrs. Cafuk told journalist Zlatko Simic in a recent interview with Jutarnji List. “You know how many conditions we had to meet in order for our seeds to be on the variety list! Let the EU see that there are people in our country who want to preserve their indigenous varieties for future generations.”

The latter part of her comment to the journalist refers to the proposed changes in seed registration laws that are looming on the horizon at both a national and an EU level. Small producers and family farms in Croatia are concerned about the loss of traditional seed varieties and their abilities to grow from them under the conditions of the changes in legislation.

f7abac252ae5ed68121b92ba7a669d87_XLcabbbbb.jpgVarazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje) and its seeds © Varazdin County Tourist Board

“The problem is not only in paying the large costs we have in controlling the sowing of our certified seeds,” Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist, expanding on the matter of the changing seed laws, “but also in increasing the costs we may have if we had to deliver all the seeds we produce for processing, as (will be) required by law.”

Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist she hopes that the ongoing and popular protests and petitions of associations that keep domestic seeds will lead to a positive outcome in regards to the proposed national changes. Of course, she was speaking on behalf of seed custodians and small producers all over Croatia. Having attained its European protection already, Varazdin cabbage and Mrs Cafuk's enterprises are already safe.

Varazdin cabbage is one of two kinds of Croatian cabbage protected by the EU

There are in fact two types of Croatian cabbage protected at the European level – Varazdin cabbage and cabbage from Ogulin. But, whereas Varazdin cabbage is protected in its raw, unprocessed form, the cabbage from Ogulin is protected as a product after its fermentation (it is made into what is sometimes called sauerkraut).

In 2015, when the application was made to European authorities to protect Varazdin cabbage, a notice of opposition was lodged from nearby Slovenia. Slovenia had added new cabbage varieties to its national variety register in 2012 under the names ‘Varazdinsko 2’ and ‘Varazdinsko 3'. Varazdin is a centuries-old town in northern Croatia.

The notice of opposition was discounted. The EU office responsible for protecting new varieties did not consider Varazdinsko 2 and Varazdinsko 3 to be appropriate names, as they suggested a link to a geographical area with which they had no direct connection and to that extent were confusing to consumers. With this impasse of international cabbage recognition finally overcome, Varazdin cabbage was granted its European protection.

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.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Pag Cheese Becomes 24th Protected Croatian Product in European Union

November 25, 2019 - The European Commission announced that Pag cheese is enrolled in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications writes that the process of protecting the name "Pag cheese”, or what you may know better as ‘Paški sir’, began in July 2017, when the Pag Cheese Producers' Association on the island of Pag submitted a request to the Ministry of Agriculture for its protection. 

The Republic of Croatia now has 24 agricultural and food products registered in the European Union as a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication. With Pag cheese, the following other Croatian products are registered: Krk prosciutto, Cres extra virgin olive oil, Neretva mandarins, Ogulin sour cabbage, Baranja kulen, Lika potatoes, prosciutto from Istria, Drniš, Krka and Dalmatia, Poljički soparnik, Zagorje turkey, Krk olive oil, Korcula olive oil, Pag lamb, Solta olive oil, Varaždin cabbage, Slavonian kulen, Međimurje meat ‘z tiblice’, Slavonian honey, Lika lamb, Pag salt, and Zagorje mince. The EU trademark or geographical indication on the packaging guarantees the consumer an authentic product.

This is yet another recognition for Croatian agricultural products after the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, and Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic confirmed the first six protected Croatian products on the Chinese market. They include Neretva mandarins, Baranja kulen, Dalmatian prosciutto, Drniš prosciutto, Lika potatoes and Dingač. They will even list a seventh product, Istrian prosciutto, but as a protected product of Croatia and Slovenia.

The geographical area of Pag cheese production includes the island of Pag and the two islands of Maun and Škrda. Pag cheese is hard sheep cheese made from whole fat sheep's milk of the original breed of Pag sheep. Milk for the production of Pag cheese is obtained from Pag sheep grown semi-extensively throughout the year in fenced pastures within the geographical area of production. 

To read more about things made in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 4 November 2019

Production of Lika Products Grows, More EU Protection Coming?

The EU-level protection of škripavac cheese will doubtlessly put a spring back in the step of the sixteen cheese producers who produce this product in Lika-Senj County. As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of November, 2019, after lamb and potatoes, Lika could soon gain a third EU-protected product - škripavac cheese.

As revealed by Ivana Starčević, who is the head of the Lika Local Action Group (LAG), the initiative was initially launched four years ago by several associations and is being implemented as part of the Integra Lika 2020 project.

"Because there's a market for this type of high-quality product, protection is a logical step in order to raise production to a higher level, price the product and brand this region as an area offering high quality food. The duration of the EU-level procedure will depend on the time it takes to check documentation and any need for adaptation to European Commission requirements,'' explained Starčević.

As she explained, in addition to the mark for sales growth and better placement, promotion and work on recognition of this local product are crucial. According to information obtained from Agrovelebit, the producer of the first  Lika product to receive protection at the EU level - Lika potatoes - demand has grown precisely due to publicity and that is currently outstripping supply.

At LAG Lika, they believe that their experience so far will help them position the cheese on both the national and EU markets. In the wider area, this particular type of cheese is produced by sixteen registered cheese makers.

"The marketing of products from here has intensified with the establishment of the Lika Coop Cooperative, which markets domestic products to stores and souvenir shops at Plitvice Lakes National Park and to the Lika Quality certified sales points,'' Starčević stated.

OPG Miškulin from Smiljan, otherwise Nikola Tesla's hometown, produces traditional local cheeses as well as numerous other products from the region.

"Protecting škripavac cheese at the EU level for small traditional producers like us means a lot. With all the investment that we have to increase production and placement, this puts an extra spring in our step. We've acquired new cows from Austria, and thanks to more milk, we have also increased our škripavac production. We've completed the construction of a new barn, and we're planning to apply for the Lika Quality label,'' said Marina Miškulin, the owner of the aforementioned Smiljan-based OPG.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Pag Salt Gains EU Protection - Croatia Now Has 22 Protected Products

As Morski writes on the 11th of April, 2019, Pag salt (Paška sol) has received protection at the EU level. This information has now been published officially and Pag salt has been entered into the register of Protected Geographical Indications (EU PGI), and Pag salt has earned its sought-after protection status throughout the European Union.

"Pag salt'' is sea salt obtained directly from the seawater of Pag bay, its shape that of small cubic crystal structures that are white in colour and contain minerals and trace elements. Most of the crystals are up to 1 mm in size, so 98 percent of all of the salt crystals manage to pass through a sieve with a mesh size of 1.3 mm. It has a concentrated salty taste without any bitterness.

The seawater from the bay of Pag is extremely clean and well-filtered because the bottom of Pag bay, from which it is obtained, is highly rich in shells which act as natural purifiers of the sea, meaning the seawater in that area has very low values ​​of heavy metals, which are at considerably lower levels than the average value of rest of the Mediterranean sea. In addition to that, Pag bay is located far from any areas in which industrial works are carried out, meaning that the sea is even more pure.

Croatia boasts a long and very rich tradition of production and preparation of various agricultural and food products that are characterised by certain special, unique qualities and traditional production methods, and now finally Pag's much loved salt has earned its protection at the highest level.

Although the Republic of Croatia is still the youngest member state of the European Union, it can be extremely proud of itself as it now has 22 different agricultural and food products with names that are now protected at the European Union level, either in the sense of having a protected destination of origin, or having a protected geographical indication. The EU currently has three such schemes which work to protect the names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Lamb from Lika Becomes 20th Product to be Protected by EU

Lamb from Lika is the 20th Croatian product to be protected by the EU.

Monday, 10 October 2016

14 New Croatian Products to Receive EU Protection

In the current register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications at the EU level are prosciutto from Krk, extra virgin olive oil from Cres, mandarins from Neretva, sour cabbage / sauerkraut from Ogulin, kulen from Baranja, potatoes from Lika, prosciutto from Istria, prosciutto from Drniš, Dalmatian prosciutto, soparnik, zeljanik or uljenjak from Poljica, turkey from Zagora, and the recently added olive oil from Korčula and lamb from Pag.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Olive Oil from Korčula and Lamb from Pag Have Been Added to the EU’s List of Protected Agri-Food Products

Today, the decision came into force that two new Croatian food products will receive a protected designation of origin on the official EU list: olive oil from Korčula and lamb from Pag.

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, 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.