It goes without saying, it’s best to savor them while exploring the wonderful destinations in Croatia. Travelling across this melting pot of cultures will give you a taste of Croatia's highly diverse and well-preserved culinary traditions.
Whether you’re going on a gastronomic adventure this side of the Adriatic or are merely curious about the culinary specialties of the Croats, there are several tasty dishes and delicious desserts that will nourish your journey.
SENSATIONAL SAVORY SPECIALTIES
Locals from the mainland areas have culinary traditions that are rooted in Slavic, Hungarian and Turkish cooking. Their distinctive dishes are predominantly spiced with paprika, black pepper, and garlic.
Meanwhile, the coastal regions of Istria, Kvarner, and Dalmatia lean towards Mediterranean, Greek, and Roman culinary styles, with dishes commonly seasoned with rosemary, cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, nutmeg, and olive oil.
This dish isn’t regularly served in many restaurants, and that’s precisely why you should seek it out, be it the octopus, lamb, or veal variety. It is prepared by putting potatoes, vegetables, and seafood or meat in a shallow dish and covering it with a large dome lid (ispod peka roughly means “under the bell'”). In a wood-burning oven or fireplace, hot coals seal and cover the lid to smoke and slow-cook the peka. Everything simmers in herbs, spices, and white wine, resulting in a tender, succulent, and piping hot dish.
Stuffed peppers aren’t unique to Croatians but it’s one of the most popular dishes in the country. It's a favorite during the summer, with every region having its own version. It is commonly made using minced meat, spices, rice, tomato sauce, and served with mashed potatoes.
Sarma (stuffed sauerkraut)
If you’re headed to Croatia during winter, you’re probably more concerned about packing your thermal wear. Don’t worry, the country enjoys one of the warmest winters in Europe. Winter also happens to be the season for sarma or stuffed sauerkraut, which is essentially like stuffed peppers but with sauerkraut (sour cabbage) as wrapping.
Crni rizot (black risotto)
Squid ink and cuttlefish give this rich, creamy risotto its flavor and color. This delightful seafood rice dish, a staple in the Dalmatian region and served in many Croatian restaurants, is best served with grated parmesan cheese, a side of salad, and washed down with a glass of white wine.
This hearty fish stew is best served with polenta or a side of fresh, crusty bread. It can be made with onions, a variety of spices, a tomato-based broth, and topped off with chili peppers and laurel leaves for a brisker flavor. Commonly served in coastal Croatia, this classic comfort food proves that simple and healthy food can also burst with incredible flavors.
Originating from the Dalmatian coast, Croatia's take on beef stew is best enjoyed with gnocchi or pasta. It is a spice-infused recipe comprised of the tastiest ingredients — nutmeg, onions, smoky roasted bacon, parsley, and prunes.
Fuzi is a traditional pasta dish generously sprinkled with truffles, which grow in abundance in the Istrian region. Enjoy this feast in a bowl with mushrooms, beef stew, and/or chicken with a glass of red wine.
Croatian sweets are characterized by light, perfectly puffy crusts and powder sugar-dusted pastries. Whether you’re dining out or enjoying a fine meal on a yacht, make room for the following desserts.
If you have an appetite for bite-sized, lightly crusted doughnuts, you’ll never go wrong with fritule (or Croatian fritters). They’re available year-round but especially during the holiday season. These delightful fritters can be made with raisins, grated apples, and coated with thick chocolate or infused with citrus zest for an interesting twist.
One bite of these deep-fried strips of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and you’ll want more. Krostule are traditional pastries commonly served in the Dalmatian and Istrian regions.
Beyond your usual dessert spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, black pepper gives these cookies that extra kick. Unlike many Croatian desserts and dishes, these spiced-up biscuits are something the Croats can call their own. It’s been around since the Renaissance.
If creamy flan served with delectable burnt caramel sauce is your kind of dessert, you’d be delighted with rozata. It's a traditional, caramelly custard pudding made with rose liqueur.
These light and fluffy walnut rolls are among the most popular cakes in the country. Also called potica or povitica, orahnjača are a staple at special occasions, holidays, and Easter. Two of the most common varieties are the bread-heavy and buttery types: the former is packed with filling while the other has precious little of it. For some families, it’s not just a delicious dessert, but also a symbol of warmth, which characterizes Croatian cuisine.
With such a varied mix of cuisine, every meal is a feast, and you’ll surely be partaking of some of these on your Croatian trip. Our Croatia, Slovenia & the Adriatic Coast tour is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of incredible Croatian foods. Request more information from one of our community’s experts!