Culinary Delights of The Croatian Coast.. These dishes not to be missed..!!!
Eat your way through our top 10 list of Croatian culinary delights. Sample delicate seafood dishes, hearty ham and rich pastries on a picturesque coast.
The diverse regions and foreign influences over the centuries have left their mark on Croatian cuisine. Our local food writer Kristin Vuković has put together her favourite dishes from the breadth of mouth-watering dishes on offer.
Known locally as crni rižot, this is made with cuttlefish or squid, olive oil, garlic, red wine and squid ink, which gives an intense seafood flavour and black colour. Popular all along Croatia’s coastline, this dish will turn your mouth and teeth black – but it’s worth it.
The white-grey, long-horned Istrian oxen are a gourmet delicacy. Boškarin is served at top restaurants and konobas (taverns) in a variety of ways, including as carpaccio; in savoury sauce with pasta or gnocchi; as salami or steak; and boškarin tail soup.
Also called brudet, this fisherman’s stew hails from from Italy’s Marche region. Traditionally, fishermen cooked it over an open fire using the catch of the day. They would add ample vinegar to the pot to preserve the stew for a couple of days. Like Italians, coastal Croatians use a tomato base in this dish.
This simple dish of mussels in a wine broth with garlic and breadcrumbs is popular all along the Croatian coast. Buzara means ‘stew’, and the preparation is similar to the way the French make moules marinière.
Commonly found on the Adriatic coast, these donut-like fried pastries vary from region to region – egg yolks, raisins, grated lemon or orange rinds, and even rakija or rum can go into the mixture. Traditionally served during the holidays, these are popular and highly addictive, so you can usually find them year round.
Fuži and pljukanci
Fuži is quill-shaped homemade pasta made by cutting 5 x 5cm squares and wrapping each piece around the handle of a wooden spoon. It is often served with a truffle cream sauce or mild red sauces including beef, boškarin, chicken, rooster or wild game. Istrians also love chewy, hand-rolled pljukanci – this is pasta that resembles the shape of green beans – and njoki (gnocchi).
A good meal frequently begins with a platter of pršut i sir (ham and cheese). Istrian pršut is made of skinned pork leg, which is dry-salted with sea salt and seasoned with natural spices such as pepper and garlic, and sometimes bay leaves and rosemary. Unlike southern coastal Croatia, where Dalmatians smoke their ham, Istrians air-cure their meat with the strong northern wind of the Bura. Istrian ham is aged for at least 12 months, and up to 18 months depending on weather conditions. The resulting product has a special aroma and moderately salty taste, which pairs well with cheeses from the region.
Malvazija and Teran
Istria’s signature wine varieties are Malvazija and Teran. Malvazija, an easy-drinking white wine with good minerality and apricot and apple notes, pairs well with seafood dishes. Teran, a robust red, goes well with meat dishes including boškarin and pršut.
Popular throughout Croatia, this tender meat & vegetable dish is also called ispod čripnje (under the bell) – literally food that is cooked under a terracotta or iron lid over burning embers. Peka can include octopus, lamb, veal or chicken, and is often accompanied by potatoes.
Istria’s Motovun forests contain some of the highest concentrations of truffles in the world. Croatian tartufi are not as well known as Italian, but some say they have a stronger aroma. They’re certainly less expensive than their Italian counterparts – a multi-course meal with a generous amount of truffles costs half what it would in Italy.