Croatian cuisine is very diverse, and therefore many people divide it into “cuisines of the regions of Croatia”. Differences in the products used and methods of cooking are most noticeable between the food of the central regions of the country and the cuisine of the coast. The cuisine of the central regions is characterized by Old Slavonic cooking traditions. The influence of such well-known cuisines of the world as Hungarian and Turkish is noticeable. The cuisine of the coasts has absorbed the traditions of Greek, Roman, Illyrian, as well as Mediterranean cuisines – Italian and French.
The cuisine of the central regions of Croatia is characterized by a large number of simple, but very appetizing dishes. These are Samobor steak, slices of Samobor donuts with whipped sugar cream, salami, potatoes stewed with sweet fragrant wine, mustard prepared according to a two-hundred-year-old recipe.
According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, Coastal cuisine is rich in seafood. Of the hundred species of rich Adriatic fauna, one can count a large number of delicious fish, crayfish, oysters and cephalopods. Many discerning experts consider the Adriatic white fish and crayfish to be the best in world gastronomy, which is why this particular sea has become a favorite place for the most demanding gourmets. Grilled fresh sea fish, boiled or marinated, in abundance, as well as various shellfish, shrimp, lobsters and shells boiled, stewed or in rijotto.
Rich vineyards and the desire of local residents to please themselves and dear guests gave high-quality and valuable wines. On the coast, the most famous are red wines, in Istra – teran, merlot, cabernet, to the south – opolo, plavats, dingach and postup. Of the white wines, the most popular are malvasia, zhlahtina, poship, etc.
Of the meat delicacies, it is worth trying prosciutto, which certainly has no equal. It is a pork ham smoked and dried with bora (Adriatic northeast wind from Drnis), served with dry, mostly sheep, cheese from the island of Pag or Dubrovnik and salted olives or black olives, capers and onions.
The cuisine of mountain regions reflects the conditions in which people live here. Forest highlands and pastures, short summers, long winters greatly reduce the variety of products used by locals in traditional cuisine, which is characterized by the simplicity of cooking on an open fire (grill). But mountain dishes also include foods mostly used in continental food: cornmeal, boiled beans, boiled potatoes or halves of jacket-fried potatoes, pickled cabbage, cow’s and sheep’s milk, excellent cheeses, fresh and smoked lamb, roast lamb and pork., as well as venison.
The mountainous regions are also rich in mushrooms and wild herbs. You should try local strong brandy infused with herbs, wild fruits and honey.
The cuisine of Istria and Kvarner is a special Croatian culinary style, a fusion of the traditions of the central regions and coastal cuisine. These areas are rich in excellent sea delicacies and various fish that are caught in the Northern Adriatic: skampi (shrimp), squid and shells from the Lim Canal (fjord). Istrian cuisine offers excellent prosciutto (thinly sliced smoked cured meat), cheese, olives, boiled prawns, black and white rizhotto (rice dish), as well as other dishes typical of the Istrian peninsula: traditional wine soup, pea stew, spaghetti and risotto prepared with famous Istrian truffles found and dug out of the ground by specially trained dogs and pigs. Young homemade draft (toceno) wine can be ordered in almost any restaurant, and you can buy from the local population. There are a lot of good restaurants, restaurants and wine cellars in Istria, especially in Opatija, Cirkvenica, Rovinj, Poreč and on the islands.
Dalmatian cuisine is famous for its naturalness, ecological purity and the absence of nitrates. Fast hot cooking (mostly boiled or fried) and a wide variety of fish, olive oil, vegetables and wild herbs gathered near the sea are why this cuisine is considered very healthy. Lightly boiled vegetables, often a mixture of wild and cultivated, seasoned with olive oil and wine vinegar, are served as a salad or as a side dish with meat. Typical Dalmatian desserts win hearts with their simplicity. The most used ingredients are Mediterranean fruits, dried figs and raisins, almonds and honey.
Dalmatian wines, as well as olive oil and salted olives, have been popular all over the world since ancient times.
The sea in Croatia is so clean and transparent that figs are soaked in it – or, in Croatian, figs. Then the figs are dried in the shade, rolled in flour and shifted with lavrushka – to repel the flies. “Smokva” means “sweet”, but sea salt gives the dried fruit a special taste. There is no better appetizer for a bottle of yellowish brandy brought from the glacier and covered with a thick layer of snow crust.
Croatian rakia deserves special attention. It should not be confused with Turkish raki, Georgian chacha or Italian grappa. The only thing that these drinks have in common is that they are made from grapes. Croatian brandy is “baked” according to its own technology: the clusters are placed in a large cauldron, put on fire and various herbs are added to the brew in turn, the number of which reaches 15. Moonshine, or “hard bake”, gradually flows into the vessel, gaining the required 40 degrees of strength. Then the brandy is bottled, and a sprig of grass is placed in each – not to insist on the contents, but to make it immediately clear: the bottle is not just brandy, but a real Croatian “travaritsa”.
Croats eat grass much more readily than other Europeans. For example, blive is a sorrel-type plant. Potatoes are put in a pan together with young blutva leaves, and when all this is cooked, they are seasoned with olive oil and garlic. And the potatoes fried on the grill are shifted with parsley and grated rosemary. This amazingly tasty and healthy dish is served with sheep cheese and is most often prepared in the Croatian region of Dalmatia.
On the islands, the kitchen has its own originality. So on the islands of Hvar, Korcula, Brac you can taste vitalets (a dish of mutton tripe stuffed in mutton intestine and fried on a spit), vis (sardines fried on a spit, a flatbread with sardines, a relative of modern pizza).