Friday, 12 November 2021

Flos Olei 2022: Istrian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Best in World for 7th Year!

November 12, 2021 - The new Flos Olei 2022 olive oil guide has arrived, and Istrian extra virgin olive oil is the best in the world for the 7th consecutive year!

Last week, the results of the world's only extra virgin olive oil guide, Flos Olei 2022, were announced to the public. And to no one's surprise, Flos Olei again brought great news to Istria and Istrian olive growers, reports HRTurizam.

Namely, 66 olive growers from Istria produced quality extra virgin olive oil that deserves to be included in the new, thirteenth edition of Flos Olei. Thus, in 2022, Istria will once again be adorned with the title of the world's best region for extra virgin olive oils for the seventh year in a row.

This is especially important considering that the publication contains oils from all over the world - from 55 olive-growing countries from 5 continents, and Istrian olive growers are among the 500 best, with a total of 13 percent. In the new edition of the 'extra virgin olive oil bible,' 67 oils from Croatia are included, of which 66 are from Istria and one from Dalmatia.

At the same time, several Istrian olive growers achieved better results than last year, which is proof of significant work on raising the quality and applying the latest scientific and technological achievements in olive growing.

The success of Istrian olive growers is not accidental, but with favorable agro-climatic conditions, the result of numerous agricultural policies of Istria in the past 25 years, such as intensive education of olive growers, distribution of seedlings, but most importantly, loans approved by the County Fund for Agriculture and Agrotourism. Thanks to education, the technology of olive growing and harvest time have entirely changed, and significant investments of Istrian olive growers with the support of the Istrian County have enabled more than 30 technologically advanced oil mills in Istria where hand-picked olives are processed into olive oil. 

Knowledge and funds are invested in preparing oils for the market, which have enabled Istrian extra virgin olive oil to be protected with a mark of origin at the EU level. The mark of authenticity guarantees each consumer that all phases of production, processing, storage, and bottling have taken place in Istria.

"It sounds unreal, and I would say pretentious, but Istria has been declared the best olive growing region in the world for the seventh year in a row," said Denis Ivošević, director of the Istria County Tourist Board, adding that since its first edition in 2010, Istria has and positioned itself as the second-best olive growing region, just behind Tuscany.

However, every year the advantage of Tuscany was smaller. At the end of 2016, Istria took the leading position it has maintained today, but with a far greater difference than Tuscany previously had about Istria.

"Tuscany has come very close to Istria in this issue, and it was uncertain how it will all end this year because last year's campaign in Istria was not memorable, unlike Tuscany, which had an outstanding campaign. However, how it looks this year is sufficiently shown that Istria has 66 olive growers and Tuscany 65, so one more ruled in favor of Istria. Also, excellent results were achieved by the region of Puglia, which in recent years has imposed itself as an olive oil region, and this year it had 51 olive growers included in the guide and came quite close to Tuscany and Istria. An even more important is that up to 1,000 samples from all over the world arrive for evaluation, that a professional panel of tested tasters tests all the received samples in organoleptic terms, that a selection of the 500 best in the world is made and that Istria has 66 among the 500 best, which is impressive," Ivošević added.

To highlight some essential facts from Flos Olei 2022:

- For the seventh year in a row, Istria is the first / best in the world;
- Franko Červar from Novigrad, the best in the category of medium-grade single-variety oil;
- For the first time, an Istrian oil received a grade of 99, Mate oil by Aleksandra Vekić;
- Of the 79 samples sent, 66 olive growers from Istria were included in this year's edition;
- Of the 500 best in the world, 66 are from Istria, which is an incredible 13%;
- Istria itself has more listed oils than the superpower of Spain, which is the world's largest producer and which, due to its size, is divided into 11 large olive-growing regions. Spain has a total of 59 olive growers listed;
- For the third time in a row, as many as two olive growers reached the grade of 98, namely Ipša and Olea BB;
- Seventeen Istrian olive growers were included in the extra class above 94 points.

"Although we have known this for many years, I think it is imperative to be aware of the fact that in no discipline, in any industry, in sport or any other important competition or simply in places where reputation is gained and confirmed, we do not have such a success as Istrian extra virgin olive oil has for seven years in a row," Ivošević points out and adds:

“We are very proud of this fact, but it seems that a lot of work is needed, especially in our country. It takes internal marketing and maturing our importance for this to gain full and true value. We must become aware of it first in Croatia and then for those who promote Croatian gastronomy to point it out proudly. Among other things, Franko Červar won in the category of monosort oil with medium fruitiness. Finally, in this edition, for the first time in history, we received a score of 99. It is Mate Aleksandra Vekić's oil, and I believe that the time has come and that it is seven years confirmation is enough proof to make us aware that we are the best in the world in something," concluded Ivošević.

The complete list of award-winning extra virgin olive oils Flos Olei 2022 can be viewed HERE.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

House of Istrian Olive Oil Has Been Reopened in Pula With New Address

July 1, 2021 - The House of Istrian Olive Oil now has a new address in Pula and its doors are once again open to all lovers of not only olive oil but, in particular, Istrian oil, which is considered one of the best in the world.

After a challenging year, the House of Istrian Olive Oil moved and continued to work in a new space in Istarska 30, only fifty meters from the Pula amphitheater, reports HrTurizam.hr. All fans of the history of olive growing and top Istrian olive oils, both domestic and foreign guests, will be able to continue to enjoy a unique cultural and tourist product.

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As the initiator of the project and the owner of the House of Istrian Olive Oil Lorena Boljunčić explained, the concept of the House of Oil remains the same, but the new space gives it greater opportunities and new dynamics.

“The museum part has been expanded to include a number of interesting facts from the history of Istrian olive growing from the Roman period to the present day: how the Romans produced olive oil, where it was exported, how oil refining has changed over the centuries and a number of important facts about modern olive oil production. Through educational guided tastings, visitors can learn how to recognize quality extra virgin olive oils, to which aromas and flavors you should pay attention and taste different varietal oils from various Istrian producers. The entire space covers 560 square meters," said Boljuncic.

Let us remind you, the House of Istrian Olive Oil was opened in 2017 in Pula. Through many years of work, an innovative cultural and tourist product has been created to promote a part of the Istrian culture: top Istrian oils with international awards as well as other valuable and Istrian products. Wanting to be a responsible member of the local community, the Oil House has participated in many events in the Istrian County, and more than 25,000 foreign guests from all continents and over 50 countries have passed through the museum and education/tasting.

The House of Istrian Olive Oil has entered the renowned tourist guides and has won awards and recognitions. Thus, in 2017, it received the Golden Goat Award of the Istria County Tourist Board, and a year later the Council of Europe received the House of Oil in the European organization of Cultural Routes with an emphasis on the route "Olive Routes".

Also in 2019, the House received the international BIG SEE award for interior design for public use and was nominated for the best Slavic museum Živa award.

For more information about the museum and guiding packages prices, be sure to check their website.

When it comes to olive oil, Croatia is one of the leading countries in the industry. From Istria to Dalmatia, you can find all the information you need to know about the origins, processes, and where to buy Croatian olive oil on the Total Croatia page, now in your language!

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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Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Denis Ivošević of Istria Tourist Board: We Want to Achieve Even Better Flos Olei Results

February 9, 2021 - Denis Ivošević of the Istria County Tourist Board revealed that olive oil producers in the region have prepared earlier than ever to achieve even better results in the 2022 Flos Olei guide, and that their work with olives won't stop there. 

Glas Istre reports that at the end of January, the Istria County Tourist Board launched a campaign and sent an invitation to all producers to apply for and deliver extra virgin olive oil for the new edition of the 2022 Flos Olei guide.

According to the Istria Tourist Board director, Denis Ivošević, they began collecting Istrian extra virgin olive oils much earlier this year to reserve the first spot at the tastings. He adds that it may sound unusual, but the order of evaluation is already significant for the outcome and maintaining the reputation of Istria as an international olive oil destination.

"The fact is that every year, more and more is invested in knowledge, but also the acquisition of new skills, so we believe that we will collect a record number of samples that will allow us to approach new records - not only in the number of listed Istrian olive growers but also that for the first time, one of the Istrian olive growers reaches the prestigious 99 points. This is the result we hope for, which would mean a lot to all of us and bring additional momentum to the development of olive growing and confirm the top reputation of Istria as an olive growing destination," says Ivošević.

Recall that Istria has been part of this unique guide since 2005, when only two Istrian producers from the region were included. The Ipša family from Ipši and the Beletić family from Novigrad had the honor of being the first. The guide was then published under the name L'Extravergine, and from 2010 it changed its name and publisher to a new, today recognizable name, Flos Olei. Since the first edition of the guide under this new name in 2010, Istria has taken an important role and positioned itself as the second-best olive growing region, just behind Tuscany. However, every year the advantage of Tuscany was smaller. Finally, in 2016, Istria took the top spot that it has maintained to this day, but with a far greater advantage than Tuscany previously had on Istria. 

"It sounds unreal, and I would say pretentious, but Istria has been declared the best olive growing region in the world for the sixth year in a row. How it looked last year is sufficiently shown by the fact that Istria had 71 olive growers and Tuscany 43. However, it is even more important that more than a thousand samples from all over the world arrive for evaluation, that a professional panel of verified tasters in the organoleptic sense tastes all the received samples, that after that, a selection of the 500 best in the world is made, which is impressive," the director of the regional Tourist Board proudly points out.

The flattering accolades should be taken as motivation for further investment and growth.

"During the corona crisis, I would say the most challenging year in recent history, when there were almost no investments and those planned were stopped in time, only the field of olive growing, among the few, achieved what was intended. Thus, the largest investments were made to raise the quality of processing, storage, and the presentation and sale of Istrian extra virgin olive oils. Total investments exceed HRK 50 million, which is an extremely great achievement for such a specific, niche product. On the one hand, investments have been made in new modern and technologically advanced processing plants. On the other hand, investments have been made in architecturally interesting building solutions with designer-equipped new tasting rooms and boutiques. So last year, the Chiavalon family opened a new olive growing center in Vodnjan, a modern building that includes a special line of Mori olive processing, with a new cellar, tasting room, sales point, storage space. The Ipša family also continued with investments, which also opened an attractive olive growing center in Ipši near Oprtalj. It is a renovated and revalued traditional building where there is a new line of Mori olive processing, with a new cellar, tasting room, point of sale, Istrian tavern, and warehouse. The interim director of the Fund for the Reconstruction of Earthquake-Affected Zagreb, Damir Vanđelić, and his family have opened a new olive grove and center along the road from Bale to Rovinj. The new oil mill is also a refurbished and revalued traditional building housing the new Mori olive processing line, with a new cellar, tasting room, and sales outlet, combined with fruit and vegetable production, given that the olive grove center is located on a 67-hectare-large family farm.

We should also mention the significant investments of the Galić family, which opened a new cellar for extra virgin olive oils in Kostanjica near Grožnjan, a tasting room, and a sales point and a panoramic terrace, as well as Oleum Maris, where a new olive center opened along the road between Vodnjan and Pula. It is a modern building with a new basement and sales point and continues with a new tasting room and projections and a panoramic terrace. Finally, thanks to an investment by the Beletić family from Novigrad, a new, modern Pieralisi olive processing line was opened.

This list is only part, or the most significant investments of Istrian olive growers, with a handful of smaller ones that complete the picture of how much importance is attached to raising new olive groves, acquiring new knowledge and skills, improving production and the technological process, but also new models of presentation and sales of the final product - extra virgin olive oil of premium quality.

"In Istria, olive growing has become the ultimate question of identity and national pride!" says Ivošević.

"Olive growing in the broadest sense of the word is not just producing extra virgin olive oil. If we have proven that we are capable of producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil, that we know how to promote, brand, advertise, and sell it, we must certainly try in other disciplines that come from the basic product - olives," says Ivošević, and delves into the areas where there is potential for further growth. He says it is the production of table olives, which is rarely used commercially on the Peninsula today.

"We have almost no serious producers who have found their niche or specialization in this area, and that is the part we definitely miss, especially since the demand for such a product is extremely high, especially given the developed gastronomy in Istria and Croatia. The use of table olives can definitely be used in a wide range of Istrian gastronomy presentation. For example, it can be used in various forms and techniques of preparation as an introductory greeting from the kitchen, as a separate snack, or in combination with other products as a supplement to various tastings. It can also be used as an appetizer, hot or cold, as an addition to the main course, and why not as part of a dessert? But, most importantly, we would avoid importing the worst quality of such olives, which we import almost without any quality criteria and health control," explains Ivošević.

One of the directions is certainly a stronger focus on niche cosmetic production of olive-based boutique cosmetics. In this part of dedicated production, he recalls, we have pioneers who began using extra virgin olive oil in cosmetics, not only through sales in specialty stores but also in increasing use in wellness, beauty, and health treatments.

It is unnecessary to explain that extra virgin olive oil, in the way it is produced in Istria, is a natural product and contains many qualities. It is naturally rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It has a high content of phenols that have a beneficial health effect because olive oil polyphenols help protect blood lipids from oxidative stress. Extra virgin olive oil is also a natural source of tocopherol, a precursor of vitamin E, which helps protect cells from oxidative stress when present in sufficient quantities. Tocopherols in the presence of phenols act synergistically, i.e., enhance their antioxidant effect.

"It has long been known that extra virgin olive oil is a natural remedy, and now the globally known Jennifer Lopez has launched a cosmetic line based on olive oil "JLo Beauty Olive Complex," which will certainly encourage some to try the same in that specific niche of cosmetics and natural remedies," says Ivošević.

In the end, he says, the waste generated by processing olives can be used wisely, by using firewood seeds. In this way, the potential of olives would be fully used, and the problem of disposing of that waste would be partially solved.

"With new directions, such as this, Istria will show that in addition to the prestige in the production of premium extra virgin olive oil, we turn to other disciplines that include an extensive range of opportunities - from the segment of health, nutrition, and psychophysical fitness, beauty treatment and rejuvenation, wellness treatment, in the broadest sense of the word, all the way to sustainable and responsible development in terms of waste management for heating," concludes Denis Ivošević.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Historical Mystery: Dinosaurs Secret to Top Istrian Wine and Olive Oil?

August 30, 2020 – Dinosaurs may have disappeared 65 million years ago, but before that, they lived, multiplied, and died here in Istria for a full 80 million years. Are they the secret to top Istrian wine and olive oil?

As Jutarnji list/Mladen Gerovac writes, it is not possible that dinosaurs haven't left any other, invisible traces in Istria apart from footprints and bones. Even though this has not been scientifically confirmed, the fact that these huge intriguing creatures have lived on this soil for millions of years raises questions as to how they lived and the traces they left.

There are numerous traces of dinosaurs in Istria: on Veli Brijun, Kamenjak, in the bay near Bale, on the islets of Fenoliga and Levan, on the Marlera peninsula... Therefore, educational trails have been set up, dinosaurs' bodies have been shaped, and exhibition and amusement parks have been designed with them as the main characters.

Dinosaurs have been treading this soil for millions of years, living here, breeding, turning the local forests and glades of that time into their pastures, hunting grounds, nests, and promenades. But why right here on the coast of Istria? How did they live and how did they disappear?

Did they leave some more traces on this land where we walk, sail, host tourists from all over the world, and enjoy beautiful landscapes? And especially the fruits of this specific Istrian land: in the best olive oil, in top wines, fruits, vegetables, prosciutto, cheese, truffles...?

 

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Dinosaur's fossilized feet on Brijuni, Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

 

Herbivores and carnivores

Paleontologists have registered more than 10,000 dinosaur remains worldwide: bones, skulls, teeth, coprolite (fossil feces), and fossilized feet. True, not a single coprolite was found in Istria, but according to the Istrian flora in Cretaceous, it is quite clear that herbivores have fed well with rich plants of that time: tall and lush ferns, flowering plants, coniferous and deciduous treetops.

Carnivores have fed on everything that moved. And altogether, they richly fertilized the soil of their habitat so that it would respond with an even richer "table".

 

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Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

 

Among Istrian dinosaurs, scientists mention herbivorous sauropods and carnivorous theropods. The herbivore brachiosaurus is especially impressive. It is 27 meters long and 12 meters high, and weighing about 70 tons.

Certainly, numerous dinosaurs with their huge bodies, appetite, and rich remains have ennobled this Istrian land over millions of years, be it red, black, gray, or white. Hardworking Istrians grow olives, vines, vegetables, fruits here today. They extract the best olive oil, the finest Malvasia, Merlot, Teran, Cabernet Sauvignon from the fruits of the earth.

The autochthonous Istrian Boškarin has been grazing here for two and a half thousand years, together with cows, sheep, and goats. Thousands of guests of this beautiful region enjoy it all today. But it must not be forgotten – in the beginning, there were dinosaurs here.

 

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Vineyard in Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

 

So, let’s leave room for some unscientific, but simple conclusions. Can so much biomass go unnoticed? Aren't dinosaurs responsible for the exceptional Istrian wine terroir? For the top quality local olive oil?

Dinosaurs may have disappeared 65 million years ago, but before that, they lived, multiplied, and died here in Istria for a full 80 million years.

 

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Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Flos Olei 2020: Istrian Olive Oil Makes Up 15% of 500 Best Olive Oils in World

December 11, 2019 - The eleventh edition of the most influential guide to the world's top extra virgin olive oils, Flos Olei 2020, was officially promoted in Rome last week. Istrian olive oil was once again in the international spotlight. 

Namely, HRTurizam writes that Istria has once again been awarded the title of the highest-quality extra virgin olive oil region in the world, for the fifth consecutive time. This is especially important given the fact that the publication contains oils from around the world, that is, from 53 olive-growing countries. Better yet, Istrian olive oil makes up as much as 15 percent among the top 500 olive oils in the world.

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Thus, in the new edition of this olive oil bible, 79 oils from the territory of Croatia are included, 77 of which are from Istria. There is also one oil listed from the island of Krk and one from Dalmatia. At the same time, most olive growers achieved better results than last year, which is proof of significant work on raising the quality and application of the latest scientific and technological developments in olive growing.

Such worldwide success certainly contributes to the branding of Croatia, and especially of Istria as a gastronomic destination, since extra virgin olive oil is a major food supplement and a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and is valued almost everywhere in the world for its organoleptic and medicinal properties.

"It sounds unreal and I would say pretentious, but for the fifth year in a row, Istria has been named the best olive oil region in the world. Since its first release in 2010, Istria has immediately taken on an important role and positioned itself as the second-best olive oil region, just behind Tuscany. But each year, Tuscany's advantage has diminished, and at the end of 2016, it has occupied the leading position it retained to this day, but with a far greater difference than Tuscany previously had compared to Istria. It’s enough to say that Istria has 77 listed olive oils this year, and Tuscany 53. Even more important is the fact that more than 1,500 samples from all over the world arrive for evaluation, that a professional panel of tested tasters organoleptically test all received samples, that afterward, the best 500 in the world are selected and that within the top 500 Istria has 77, which is truly impressive,” says Denis Ivošević, director of the Istria County Tourist Board.

Ivošević also touched on one important topic, which is that Croatia must start respecting themselves, as others would start recognizing Croatia, and pointed out that it is of utmost importance that Croatia become aware of the fact that in no discipline, in any industry, in sports or any other significant competition, or simply in places where reputation is gained and confirmed, does Croatia have such success as the Istrian olive oil region.

"We are very proud of this fact, but it seems that there is still a lot of work to be done both in our country and abroad, that this primacy bears full and true value, that we become aware of it first in Croatia, and that all those who promote Croatian gastronomy proudly point it out. I believe that the time has come and that five years of validation is proof enough to make us aware that we are in the best of something in the world,” concluded Ivošević.

You can find the Flos Olei 2020 guide here

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Flos Olei Names Istria the World's Best Olive Oil Region, Again!

October 15, 2019 - Flos Olei, the world's most influential and extensive guide to the world of olive oil, has declared Istria the world's best olive oil region, again! 

Namely, the northern Croatia region of Istria has once again been recognized for its olive oil, further establishing Croatia and this region as a relevant destination for international gastronomy. 

HRTurizam writes that the popular Flos Olei 2020 publication, considered the bible of olive oil, lists as many as 79 oils from Croatia among the top 500 olive oils in the world. Of the total, 77 olive growers are from Istria, with one each from Dalmatia and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. 

For five years in a row, Istria has boasted the most olive oils in the Flos Olei publication.

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Out of the maximum 100 points, three olive oils from Istria (Ipša, Mate and Olea B. B.) scored an impressive 98 points.

This is once again an immeasurable success for Istria, where the tradition of olive growing has lasted more than two millennia. 

Plava Kamenica writes that Istrian oils are the base of the triangle that must form Croatia’s international gastronomic identity. The other two elements of that identity are, as they say, white truffles and Kvarner shrimp. Based on this triangle, which has an unconditional international gastronomic value, other elements of Croatia’s gastronomic identity can be affirmed: from tuna and other fish to cheeses, black Slavonian pigs and more.

Plava Kamenica continues that the truly sensational success of Istrian olive oils is as essential for the international affirmation of Croatian gastronomy as Michelin stars.

Now, this fantastic result should be promoted by all possible channels - not just in gastronomy and tourism. They add that it is high time for Istrian oils to become part of Croatia's diplomatic legitimacy; whoever officially represents Croatia in the world should also serve it with Istrian oils.

You can see the Flos Olei 2020 guide of the 500 best olive oils in the world here

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Grubić Family Produce 6000 Bottles of Istrian Olive Oil Per Year

Croatian olive oil, particularly that from Istria, is known and respected worldwide as among the best on the planet. Having received numerous awards and recognitions, any lover of this golden liquid (the type that isn't beer, that is), should make sure to pay this stunning region of Croatia a visit.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of June, 2019, in the very heart of olive oil heaven, also known as Istria, lies a sort of elixir of life - virgin olive oil. The Grubić family has been manufacturing and processing such olive oil for several decades and continues to introduce yet more new trends in this competitive industry.

The story of the olive oil made in Bale, Istria, dates back to 1927, as Emanuel Grubić, owner of the oil mill, told Poslovni Dnevnik, describing the date when the first "modern" oil mill was built, which remained in operation for a further 38 years.

It was eventually closed back in 1965, but the Grubić family halted its decay and dilapidation, purchased it and renewed it during the 1990's, and so preserved the rest of the line. There was no complete restoration, but the past and the future of Istrian olive oil and olive growing as a whole can be looked into further within the building's museum, which showcases old exhibits with stone mills, presses, hydraulic pumps and more.

There is also the modern Pieralisi olive processing plant. The museum and the new part are divided by a glass door, behind which lies the ''new'' olive oil experience.

Today, the family from Bale, Istria, deals exclusively with olive oil and cold processing, and they currently work to produce three different olive oil varieties.

"We haven't got large plants and industrial halls, we cultivate two varieties and we concentrate on the quality rather than on the quantity. On our eight hectares [of land], about 1,700 olive trees have been planted, from which ten farmers harvest up to 200 kilograms per day, manually, so that the fruits aren't damaged, as is the case with mechanical harvesting. We produce and sell up to 6,000 bottles a year. These are olives that are over 400 years old,'' Grubić stated, adding that they're also engaged in service activities and therefore process olive oil for their partners, too.

The taste and the top quality of their olive oil has been recognised abroad as well as here in Croatia; having been placed among the best extra virgin olive oils in the entire world, as well as earning other similar titles, numerous times.

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

Saturday, 9 March 2019

What Does it Take for Istrian Olive Oil to be Rated Best Year after Year?

The region of Istria once again wears the proud title of the best olive oil region in the world, but what does it take for Istrian olive oil to prevail?

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