Croatian cuisine

Aaaaaah, the aromas, the taste, the food.. MMMMMM..

Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous and is therefore known as the cuisine of regions (every region has its own distinct culinary traditions). We can however distinguish two types of Croatian cuisine, continental and Mediterranean. Continental cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish. The coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine, Italian and French.

Croatian cuisine can, roughly summarized, be divided into some few regions which all have their specific cooking traditions, characteristic for the area and not necessarily well-known in other parts of Croatia. Meanwhile, however, most dishes can be found all across the country. This is also why the varied cuisine of Croatia is called "cuisine of the regions".

    Slavonia - spicy cuisine with many Hungarian influences, many meat and game dishes
    Hrvatsko Zagorje and Međimurje - famous sweets and dumplings
    Middle Croatia or Croatian heartland - home-made cheese, heavy roast dishes
    Istria - light food with many herbs, truffle dishes and Italian influences
    Dalmatia - Mediterranean cuisine with many Italian influences, paradise for lovers of fresh fish

Beside the standard European cuisine present in all restaurants and hotels, specialties from the grill ("sa roštilja" or "sa ražnja") and the roasting-spit (lamb, pork, poultry) are very popular. In Dalmatia and Istria you will hear of peka or cirepnja (traditional method of cooking meat and vegetable dishes in a metal dome buried in glowing embers).

    Janjetina - roast lamb garnished with Mediterranean herbs
    Odojak - roast pork
    Ražnjići - skewers
    Ćevapčići - grilled little sausage-like meat served with onions in a pita bread ("lepinja")

From meat specialties I would like to point out the following:

    Zagrebački odrezak (the steak á la Zagreb) - veal steaks stuffed with ham and cheese and grilled with breadcrumbs
    Kotlovina - kettle with knuckle of pork and other meat and sausages (Samobor)
    Purica sa mlincima - turkey with mlinci (flat, sour dumplings) (Zagorje)
    Pašticada - beef stuffed with lard and roasted in wine and spices (Dalmatia)

As a kid I didn't really enjoy the stews and similar except my all time favorite Sarma, but now I love them:

    Sarma - minced meat (usually beef, pork, veal) rice, onions, and various spices mixed together and then rolled into sour cabbage leaves 
    Gulaš - goulash
    Grah - beans
    Riblji paprikaš (fiš-paprikaš) - spicy fish stew from Slavonia
    Slavonski čobanac - type of lamb stew (Shepherd's Stew)
    Sataraš - minced and roasted vegetables
    Đuveđ - stewed vegetable dish
    Punjena paprika - paprika/peppers filled with minced meat

Lovers of fresh fish would enjoy coastal cuisine:

    Lignje (squid, calamari) - grilled ("na žaru"), fried, stuffed ("punjene"), in risottos
    Salata od hobotnice - octopus salad
    Crni rižoto - black risotto with seafood
    Bakalar - sort of fish, Dalmatian speciality served at Christmas time

Cheese, sausages and dried meat ("suho meso") are often part of a Croatian menu, served as appetizers:

    Paški sir - famous sheep's milk cheese and goat's cheese from island of Pag
    Kulen - spicy pork sausage from Slavonia
    Kobasica - spicy, air-dried sausage
    Istrian and Dalmatian pršut - double-smoked ham (similar to Italian prosciutto)
    Suđuk from inland Dalmatia - dried special sausages

Those of you with a sweet tooth would enjoy the following list of Croatian sweets and deserts:

    Savijača/Štrudla - strudel with apple or curd cheese fillings
    Samoborska kremšnita - famous local dessert prepared with the pastry crust and cream and sugar spread
    Palačinke - pancakes with sweet filling (jam, cheese)
    Zagorski štrukli - sweet pastry from northern Croatia
    Orehnjača - sweet bread with walnuts (walnut roll)

After enjoying all of the food mentioned above you will need something to clinch your thirst. Following is the list of tasty, wold known, also my favorite Croatian bevarages:

    Croatian wines - Graševina, Malvazija, Dingać, Babić etc.
    Beer - Karlovačko, Ožujsko
    Rakija - (Schnapps aka home brew) travarica, šljivovica, loza, kruškovac
    Pelinkovac/Pelin - a bitter liqueur based on wormwood, resembling Jägermeister
    Mineral water - Jamnica-Jana, Lipički studenac
    Cedevita - an excellent instant multi-vitamin orange drink

Few other things that I just have to mention are:

    Ajvar - relish made principally from red bell peppers and tomatoes
    Vegeta - a mixture of spices and various vegetables (AWESOME)
    Kraš napolitanke  - crispy wafers filled with mouth-watering chocolate creme
    Bajadera - the top and bottom are a thin layer of milk chocolate and the middle layer is a creamy hazelnut filling

The above list is all I could think of regarding Croatian cuisine at the moment.
I hope you do get a chance to discover and enjoy Croatian delicious cuisine and wines.


For Croatian speaking readers, a few links with recepies GASTRONAUT, COOLINARKA

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