About the Food of Croatia

Croatia is a rambling collection of mountains and forests with bursts of plains which hide secrets of scrumptious food, wonderful olive oil and tasty, age-old wine.

But what about bad wine? Well, if you happen upon such a dismal thing as a bottle of bad wine on their turf, the Croatians (and other nearby countries) know what to do. The remedy includes coca cola or fanta. You’ll just have to wait a week to find out what Mr Picky and I think about that! (Officially, you’ll have to wait another 20 years to get Ava’s take on the whole thing. If you leave it up to me? You ‘ll have to wait another 98.9 years.)

Thanks to a meandering and lengthy coastline, eastern Croatia boasts an abundance of seafood, including oysters, shrimp, and other fresh fish.  Eating fish must be like breathing – the houses on the shore literally seem to float on the water. Incredible. For those who like the old standbys our grandmother’s loved, salt cod – literally fish dried and stored in a bed of salt – is also used in many regional recipes.

From my research it would seem that no Croatian meal is complete without ham, bacon, or both. It is used with cabbage and potatoes in any number of permutations. As the food is typically Balkan, many dishes are similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina, so be sure to look at our Bosnian Global Table if you like food from this region.

Bosnian pancakes are thin, like crepes, and they’ll eat them sweet – perhaps with fig jam, or savory – stuffed and baked with cottage cheese and sour cream. Although a little different, here is my go-to crepe recipe (their version often includes some bubbly water to give it lift).

Baked goods include plums, apples, cherries, cheeses, and nuts – especially walnuts. The famous holiday roll, Povatica, is rather like our cinnabuns but shaped into a loaf and heavy on the walnuts. Delish!

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Comments

  1. I wonder if there’s a difference between coastal and inland cuisine. There should be. In ancient Roman times, the coast was settled, civilized seaports but the interior was wooded, places where the Romans didn’t want to go because they’d be attacked by tribesmen hidden in the forest. So the coast got the influence of seafarers, ancient Greece and Rome, whereas the interior had later influence: Hungary and Turkey.

  2. Coincidentally, i was in Zagreb (inland Croatia) last week for the first time for a conference. I was only there for two days and was mostly relegated to menus selected by other people, but I would say that I noticed much less seafood. The seafood items that were available tended to be saucy, fried, or prepared in other ways that hid freshness. So my general feeling is that the inland cuisine is different than that of the coast, but I am by no means an expert.

    I definitely suggest trying ajvar, a paste made of roasted red peppers, eggplant. garlic and chile. Yum!

  3. Hi Sasha,
    Thank you for this post and others with Croatian recipes. I’m Croatian and find them lovely to read, as well as your entire blog which i’m finding very inspiring. In a reference to Brian’s comment, the Balkan taste is just a crumble on the plate, if i may use the appropriate cuisine lingo metaphora :-) The inland cuisine of Croatia is indeed different to that of the coastal region: it’s heavily influenced by the continental Europe’s cuisine, so lots of Hungarian, Austrian and German foods like sauerkraut based dishes, meat based dishes, the famous fish paprikash, knödeln, strudels and chocolate layer cakes are all present in the northern regions. There is a significant influence coming from Italy as well, especially on the northern coas (Istria): primarily fish and pizzas as well as all kinds of pasta dishes, bean soups, wines and bruschette with olive oil and prosciutto, to name but a few… and not to forget the irresistible tiramisu!
    Also, your photographs are amazing!!

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