Croatian cuisine is tasty, healthy and fascinatingly varied, as it combines two culinary traditions — Mediterranean, based on seafood, and central European, with its simple but nutritious schnitzels and strudels.
Moreover, Croatia was lucky with its nature. Its very clean sea provides Croatian dinner tables with mussels, oysters, shrimps, cancers, and different kinds of fish.
The fruits of fields and forests also make their contribution to the national cuisine – snails, fruit, olive oil, asparagus, mushrooms, vegetables, spices. The meat dishes are tasty and varied, and Croatian wines, which are no worse than French or Italian wines, go well with them.
When you are in Croatia, apart from restaurants, you can have a meal in a traditional Croatian tavern — konoba, where there’ll always be a fireplace, and the dishes are made only from home products.
There is at least one pizza place in every town, and you can have a good meal there, and it will be much cheaper than in a restaurant. The pizza is cooked using Italian recipes, in a stove, from thin dough; you must try pizza with seafood, which is cooked amazingly well in maritime towns. Here you can also order pasta dishes.
Relish of Croatian cuisine
Stewed cabbage – sarma – came to Croatia from Turkey, and vegetable soup – manistra – resembles the Italian minestrone quite a lot.
Make sure to try Paga sheep cheese – paski sir, Dalmatian ham – Dalmatinski prsut – and spicy sausages with paprika – kulen. As a special treat, you can have octopus salad – salata od hobotnice.
Soparnik – traditional dish Croatian cuisine
Soparnik is a spinach pie – traditional food specialties from Dalmatia.
Soparnik is a very simple dish, with ingredients that were available in every household.
Soparnik consists of flour, spinach, onions, olive oil and garlic.
Once it was the shanty food, and today has become a brand and indispensable to all major ceremonies.
Main courses of Croatian cuisine
On the coast, fish and seafood are favourites. Meat and fish are usually grilled in Dalmatia (na zaru).
Kebabs – raznijici – in Croatia are very good and cheap, just like small sausages – cevapcici. There are some mixed dishes grilled, too. You can often see whole piglets or lambs slowly roasted over a fire. You can have pizza anywhere.
Freshy caught fish is usually grilled, and in restaurants it is sold by weight (from 200 to 400 kunas per kg). The waiter usually informs you what they have available, or shows the kinds of fish they have on a tray.
Scorpion fish – skrpina, halibut – list and St.Peter – sampjer – are considered the tastiest and the best-quality fish.
Na leso fish is fish boiled in wated with olive oil, wine vinegar, onions, bay leaf, grained pepper and salt added to it. This dish is served with boiled potatoes and green cabbage.
Brodet is cooked with several kinds of fish, cut into pieces and fried with onions. Then, the fish is boiled in clay pots over a slow fire, with garlic, parsley, bay leaf and tomatoes until the meat separates from the bone. Such fish is served with cornflour.
Na buzaru mussels are coked in pots sprinkled with parsley, garlic and dry bread crumbs salt and pepper, then wine and olive oil are added. They are cooked over a slow fire, releasing juice until the shells open. They are served in their own juice with bread and polenta.
A great number of different kinds of fish and other sea creatures live in the Adriatic sea, the names of which could fill an entire encyclopedia. In any coastal restaurant you will be offered a wide variety of skillfully cooked dishes of seafood.
Of the available fish dishes you can try grilled squids – lignje na zaru, spaghetti with seafood – spagetti s plodovi mora, ink fish risotto – crni rizot. In specialized restaurants they serve dishes of lobsters, oysters, mussels, and crabs.
Desserts of Croatian cuisine
For dessert, most restaurants offer ice-cream – sladoled. One of the most popular desserts is strudel with honey and nuts filling. This is peculiar mixture of the Austrian apple strudel and the Turkish baklava. There are also cakes – torta and pancakes – palacinke – served. Pancakes are served with jam – sa marmeladom, chocolate – s cokoladom or walnuts s oresima.
Drinks of Croatian cuisine
In Croatia, lager is more popular. Of light kinds Karlovacko and Ozujsko are considered to be the best, of dark beers Tomislav and Osijecko Crno are in favour. The portions in local establishments are divided into the small one — “malo pivo” and the big one — “veliko pivo”.
Croatia produces a great amount of red and white wines, most of which never get to stores of other countries. Croatian wines do not stand apart for particular delicacy of their bouquet; wines are not aged for many years here. Croatian wine has a rich, intense taste, with an obvious fruit of flower note. This is what is called “good wine” here.
Of dry and semidry wines Zlatan Plavac, Peljesac, Babic are good. A bottle of wine at a restaurant or in a supermarket costs from about 20 to 70 kunas.
As aperitif, you can have a shot of one of the local strong liqueurs:
Slivovica — a plum liqueur
Viljamovka — a pear liqueur
Travarica — a herbal liqueur
Medovina — a honey liqueur
Orahovaca — a walnut liqueur
Pelinkovac — a juniper liqueur
Vinjak — a local cognac
Maraskino — a cherry liqueur
Biska — an aperitif with mistletoe flavour
Olive oil, fish and wine are the way to health!
The traditional Mediterranean cuisine is distinguished by an abundance of fish and seafood dishes, vegetables and fruit, olive oil and red wine, and is believed to be the most healthy. It is it that specialists recommend to people who wish to have a healthy lifestyle, and it is this cuisine that is chosen by those who care about their health.
According to scientific research, people of the Mediterranean region are characterised by good health and longevity.
Despite a fast pace of life that most of the people of our planet have, and the ever-presence of fast food, most of the people of the countries of the Mediterranean prefer the traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Diet specialists recommend eating as much “white” meat as possible (fowl, mainly), eating sea fish several times a week, and as much raw and boiled vegetables with olive oil as possible. Different spices and herbs are advised to be used instead of salt. Consuming moderate amounts of fresh cottage cheese, fermented milk products, dried fruit and nuts is very healthy.
Vegetables and fruit take one of the main place in the Mediterranean cuisine. They are rich in vegetable fibers and prevent cholesterol absorption, improve digestion and help the organism remove harmful substances and waste.
Olive oil is used in practically all dishes of the Mediterranean cuisine. It contains all the vitamins and microelements necessary for the human organism.
Olive oil contains unique unsaturated fatty acids, which, in contrast to animal fats, are very healthy for the organism by reducing the level of glycemia (a by-factor of obesity), preventing cardiovascular diseases. Apart from that, they have a beneficial effect on the digestive system, and help in rejuvenating the organism. Olive oil contains a unique vitamin complex, which includes vitamins A, D, E.
Pure olive oil made from high quality olives through cold pressing and filtering is considered to be the best. 100% of such oil is digested, it has a beneficial effect on the organism, lowers the arterial pressure, reduces the number of oil cells and play an important part in suppressing free radicals, which contribute to cell aging and the development of different diseases.
Fish is a low-calorie product rich in amino acids, calcium, phosphorus and iodine. Omega-3 acids contained in small clupeiformes assist in normalising the arterial pressure, cholesterol and triglyerides. This kind of fish is very healthy for those suffering from diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, arthritis and asthma. Regular consumption of fish helps stop inflammatory conditions and is good for immune system reinforcement. In the Mediterranean cuisine sardines, mackerel, tuna and anchovy are widely used. A number of tasty and healthy dishes is made from them.
The cuisine of the Mediterranean cannot be imagined without red wine. Diet specialists and doctors believe wine consumption in moderate amounts to be very healthy, and recommend drinking from one to two glasses daily.
Scientists classified red wine as a healthy product after they conducted research on the incidence of cardiovascular diseases among the population of France and the USA.
The results of the research showed that the French have cardiovascular problems more seldom than the Americans even though both nations prefer zoogenic fatty foods. What is the reason for that? It turned out that red wine was the reason — and it was an essential attribute of the dinner table of the French. A more in-depth research confirmed the positive effect of red wine on the human organism, which made itself evident in protecting blood vessel walls, preventing them from clotting, and reducing the level of cholesterol.
So, if you want to have a healthy heart and healthy vessels, drink red wine!
In 2015 Croatian mineral water received an award for the best mineral water in Europe
Croatian natural mineral water – Jamnica – won a gold medal for the best carbonated water in Europe at Mineral Water Challenge 2015.
An international competition held in Portugal in late November 2015, coming first in competition with 175 registered products from 11 countries.