All posts from: Morana Zibar (248)
Original herbal liqueur made from dried carob, dried figs, wormwood, sage, orange zest, mustard seeds and some other secret ingredients macerated in red wine, produced only in and around the town of Samobor near Zagreb. Excellent aperitif, bitter and sweet at the same time.
Paprikash (spicy paprika stew) made in a kettle with several kinds of fresh water fish, most often carp, catfish, pike or starlet. Typical for Slavonia and Baranja, where they regularly organize fiš paprika cooking competitions. Served with homemade noodles.
Sweet round fritters flavoured with rum and sometimes raisins, enjoyed all over Dalmatia, especially for winter holidays.
Traditional Istrian pasta, most often eaten with truffles or meat stews. Photo by: Duško Marušić/PIXSELL
Simple grill grate, but also a way of preparing fish, and even a whole lifestyle and ideology in Dalmatia. Nothing beats freshly caught fish grilled on gradele with no extra preparations or ingredients, later only seasoned with olive oil, garlic and parsley.
Graševina is the most common of all grape varieties planted in Croatia. This white is widely found in Central Croatia, Slavonia and Baranja, where it’s at its best, although its origins are tracked to Central Europe. Some call it Welschriesling, but it’s more accurate to use the Croatian name Graševina, as it’s almost like an…
Fish stew prepared with several kinds of white fish, potatoes, white wine, garlic and spices. Some variations also include grapes! The most famous gregada comes from the island of Hvar.
A white wine variety indigenous to the island of Korčula. You’ll easily recognize it since its berries are of very different size, like in the picture belowUntil recently, Grk was wild and untamed, very specific, not for sophisticated palates, and local people usually produced the wine in small quantities for their own use (or misuse). Now…
Mead, alcoholic drink made from fermenting honey and water, produced in Northern Croatia. Its more generic name is medovina.
Ancient dried fig cake, typical for the island of Vis (viški hib), but spread all over the Croatian south. Prepared with dried figs, almonds, a bit of homemade brandy and maybe some herbs. It can last for months, preserved in laurel and rosemary, to keep the unwanted insects away and give it a nice aroma.
Brought to Croatia from South Tyrol in 1710, Iločki Traminac is a local variation of the Gewurztraminer, that found an ideal climate thus producing a harmonious blend of acidity and alcohols adored by the wine drinkers around the globe. Sweet smelling, golden yellow in colour, it can be dry or sweet. It was served at the…
“Imotska torta” Traditional cake for special occasions, coming from Imotski. The filling is made from almonds, lemon zest and Maraschino cherry liqueur, giving it a special touch.
“Istarska supa” Drink-meal made from tepid Teran wine, toasted, slightly burned bread, olive oil, sugar and black pepper. Find it in local Istrian konobas (taverns). Great appetizer and mood booster!
Hearty Istrian thick soup ideal for cold weather, made from beans, sauerkraut and potatoes, with obligatory meat like smoked bacon, sasusages or/and dry ribs.
“Juha” – wherever you might be in Croatia, whatever the time of the year, you can always get soup. Actually, not can, but must. Soup is supposed to warm up your stomach for all the heavy food that comes after, as well be miraculously healthy for the person eating. The most common variety is the…
Croatia is blessed to have two first-class locations where oysters are grown: Lim Channel in Istria and Ston in southern Dalmatia. For some people, those coming from Ston are among the best in the world. March and April are the best season to enjoy this delicacy. Eat them raw, only with a slice of lemon…
Pig slaughter turned into ritual, especially in Slavonia, when family and friends gather for a real food feast. Men do the dirty work, women prepare the food. It involves consuming plenty of šljivovica (plum brandy) and freshly prepared pig by-products
“Komiška (viška) pogača” Savoury pie (dough is similar as in foccacia) from the island of Vis, stuffed with onion and anchovies. That’s the version from the town of Vis. If it’s from Komiža, there’s also tomatoes inside.
More a way of preparing meat than a defined dish, found in continental Croatia. Usually prepared in the open, for hours, in a special kind of a standing cauldron, often found at fairs and various festivities. Basically, it’s a not too spicy meat stew slowly cooked in wine, with the addition of onions, tomato and…
“Kozlić s bižima” This is a classic old-school Dalmatian lunchtime dish, quite rare to find these days, almost extinct from modern restaurants. If you find it in a traditional tavern, consider yourself lucky. It’s goat kid meat cooked in a delicious sauce with peas (biži), sometimes also with fava beans and potatoes.
Traditional crispy fritters similar in shape to tangled flat noodles. Originally an Istrian speciality, but wide-spread in Dalmatia too.
Very simple and traditional dish that takes a lot of people in and around Zagreb back to childhood days. Basically, it’s rhombus-shaped pasta flakes sauteed with chopped fresh cabbage leaves.
“Krvavica” OFFAL WARNING! Blood sausage, made in continental Croatia by cooking pork blood with a filler. Apart from various pig parts, most often the filler consists of buckwheat, barley or corn flour. They’re eaten in winter, usually with sauerkraut and “restani krumpir” – boiled potatoes sautéed on onion.
Proud and joy of Slavonian cuisine, and the first Croatian food with protected designation of origin. It’s a spicy dry cured sausage made from pork, red paprika and garlic. There’s no real Slavonian family without its original recipe or a reliable supplier. Somewhere it’s spelled kulin, but it’s the same thing.
Traditional Istrian pasta from the town of Labin. Very similar to ravioli, but filled with a semi-sweet mixture of at least two cheese varieties (from cow and sheep milk), raisins, lemon zest, rum and spices, and usually served with a savoury sauce like žgvacet. Very versatile dish, with a lot of possible variations so it…
“Makovnjača” Poppy seed roll, popular in Northern and Eastern Croatia. Not easy to make it moist enough, and have the right ratio between pastry and the filling! Photo: makovnjača & orehnjača, they usually come together.
Malvasia Istriana, or simply Malvazija, is the most common and popular indigenous grape variety in Istria. Although it’s part of the wider Mediterranean family, it’s unique on its own. This medium-bodied refreshing white wine is usually enjoyed young, when it’s floral and fruity aromas are bursting, but some serious winemakers are also using oak and…
Very sweet and caloric but irresistible dessert made with almonds and honey, no cooking or baking needed.
In Dalmatia (manistra) it usually means a soup with vegetables and some kind of small pasta. In Istria there’s a famous traditional dish called “maneštra od bobići” – thick soup made from dried meat, corn kernels (bobići) and beans. There are different variations, which you can check out every spring at Maneštra Festival in Gračišće.
Istria’s favourite thick and filling soup, perfect for any time, but especially for cold weather. It’s made with beans, young sweet corn kernels (“bobići”), potato and dried meat.
A clear liqueur produced by distillation from a special kind of sour cherry called maraška, typically grown around Zadar. It was first created in Zadar’s Dominican monastery, and a few centuries later it was enjoyed among European royalty. Crates of Maraschino were even found on the Titanic!
This Međimurje speciality was created as a clever way of preserving meat. High-quality salted and then baked or boiled pieces of pork are put in a wooden container called “tiblica” and preserved in lard.
One of the richest cakes around, in fact – a whole meal! A multi-layered pie consisting of cottage cheese, poppy seeds, apples, raisins, walnuts, cream, rum, lemon zest… In Slovenija it’s protected and called Prekmurska gibanica, in Međimurje it’s the same thing, only with a different layer arrangement.
A bunch of various aromatic and edible wild herbs picked in Dalmatia, but defying any fixed definition what exactly goes in it. It can be eaten as a salad, stew, boiled as a side dish, mixed with mashed potatoes, or even be used to make an interesting pesto sauce. Also called mišanca.
Original and quite strong mustard found only in Samobor near Zagreb. The recipe came with Napoleon. It’s a perfect companion to steamed meat or local garlic sausages (češnjovka).
Istrian cuisine trademark – pork thick neck rubbed with salt, pepper and laurel leaves, and then dried. Find it served as cold meat, grilled or sautéed and paired with sauerkraut.
Traditional sweet biscuit made with honey, spices and a bit of pepper (hence the name “paprenjak” – pepper cookie).
Originally Hungarian, ground paprika came to eastern parts of Croatia during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and soon became the key ingredient in many local dishes. Supposedly the best ground paprika comes from Horgoš, a village on the border of Serbia and Hungary.
Probably the most famous Croatian cheese, coming from the island of Pag, where the sheep happily graze in nature, close to the sea. Hard sheep’s milk cheese with a recognizable slightly spicy aroma.
Stewed beef in thick sweet sauce made from root vegetables, wine, prunes or dried figs and spices, served with homemade gnocchi. One of the most famous dishes in Dalmatia.
One of the most brilliant inventions for preparing food, dating back to ancient times. Peka is the traditional baking bell (made of clay or metal) used when cooking in the open fire and covered with hot coals. It is very versatile: bread, lamb, kid, veal, octopus, chicken, vegetables, big fish like sea …
Perkelt je jelo slično gulašu porijeklom iz Mađarske. Stanovnici Baranje, koji dijele mnoge tradicije s Mađarskom, osobito kulinarske, receptu su dodali soma iz moćnog Dunava. Perkelt od soma poprilično je pikantan i jede se s domaćim rezancima i sirom. Perkelt is a goulash-like dish originating from Hungary. People from Baranja, who share a lot of…
Jednostavan kolač (slatki kruh) koji se tradicionalno peče za Uskrs. Recept ovisi o regiji gdje se pravi. Nekoć se nosio u crkvu na blagoslov i davao gostima kako bi im se poželjela sreća. Simple cake (sweet bread) traditionally baked for Easter. The recipe depends on the region where it is made. In the past it…
Plavac mali is the most famous and iconic Croatian red grape variety. It’s found in southern Dalmatia, and the prime locations are Dingač and Postup on Pelješac Peninsula. Plavac Mali stands for strong, high-extract, flavourful wines with plenty of alcohol and tannins, jammy aromas of black beberries, ripe cherries, pepper, spices, even the sea. Recent…
Traditional Istrian type of pasta, thin and long, made by rolling the dough between the palms.
“Pole” Potato halves baked in the oven. Served in Lika as a side dish, or a whole meal together with some essential condiments. Of course, the original Lika potatoes have to be used.
A white wine variety indigenous to and mainly grown on the island of Korčula. Well known producers include Krajančić, PZ Čara, Smokvica, Kunjas, Korta Katarina. Golden, with both fruity and flower aromas this powerful wine with authentic character is not to be misse. Nowadays, it can be found in more subtle versions.
Type of pasta traditionally made in Istria from flour and eggs, rhombus-shaped. On Christmas Eve they are seasoned with salted anchovies and a spoon of breadcrumbs that are quickly fried on olive oil. Then, they are served with bakalar na bijelo (on the picture).
OFFAL WARNING! Pressed sausage made of pork innards, skin and head in lard. Photo by: eNOgAStrObRUtaL.com
Traditional pie from Zadar hinterland, made with cottage cheese, cream and corn flour, and served as dessert.
“Prošek” Sweet dessert wine produced in Dalmatia. The most famous and prestigious one is Prošek Hektorovich by winemaker Andro Tomić from Hvar. Photo by Antonia Mrgudić, Mrgudić winery, Pelješac.
“Punjene paprike” Bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and rice. Favourite summer lunch dish.
Another name for polenta (or ‘palenta’), this boiled, coarsely ground cornmeal is eaten as a side dish, or on its own with yoghurt or soured milk. Delicious if boiled in homemade broth.
“Rabska torta” Traditional cake indigenous to Rab, dating back to 1177 and the Pope’s visit to the island. It’s handmade and looks like a work of art. Although the ingredients are simple, lemon zest, almonds and Maraschino liqueur give it a unique and delicious taste.
Basically, brandy. Strong alcoholic drink (around 40%) made with almost anything, national drink in many countries in Southeast Europe. The most popular flavours of this spirit are plum and pear in continental Croatia, made from fermented and distilled fruit, and ‘lozovača’ along the coast, made from distilled grapes, with addition of various herbs. Lozovača is…
“Raštika” Wild collard greens quite popular in Dalmatia, used boiled and mixed with potatoes, in stews with dried meat or to make minced meat rolls.
Red grape variety found both in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. In Croatian part of Istria it’s a bit overshadowed by Teran wine. It’s a rich, dark wine, with aromas of red berries, high extract, smoother and with slightly lower acidity compared to Teran.
Croatian version of the Mediterranean dessert called crème caramel. The inevitable item on the menus of Dalmatian restaurants, especially famous around Dubrovnik.
A very simple but delicious savory pie found only in the village Rude near Samobor. Once the snack for local miners, now it is on the list of Croatian non-material cultural heritage. It is filled with fresh cottage cheese and sometimes walnuts or spinach can be added.
Slavonian version of croissant where butter is substituted with pork lard (known as ‘salo’ in Croatia) and traditionally filled with home-made apricot or plum preserves. They might sound gross, but the pastry you get after baking is crispy on the outside, while the insides melt in your mouth. Traditionally made in the winter, right after…
A special way of preparing carp fish in Slavonia. The fish is first cut to get two connected halves, seasoned and placed in a fork-like construction made of tree branches. Then it is placed near the open fire and slowly grilled.
Spread made from cottage cheese and sour cream, upgraded with spring onions, salt and a bit of vinegar.
Savur aka savor aka saor. Traditional way of preparing and preserving fish, usually sardines and anchovies, that is very popular in regions where ancient Venetian republic ruled but very similar recipe can be found even in distant Japan. They are very briefly fried and marinated in olive oil, a fair amount of caramelized onions, garlic,…
“Sir i vrhnje” Cottage cheese mixed with sour cream. An old and modest dish from Zagreb surroundings, now one of the icons of North-Western Croatian cuisine.
Cheese (traditionally sheep, but nowadays also cow and goat) matured and preserved in lambskin, found in Dalmatian hinterland and Lika.
“Sirnica” Simple cake (sweet bread) traditionally baked for Easter. The recipe depends on the region where it is made. In the past it was brought to church to be blessed and given to guests to wish them well. Also known as pinca
Traditional cake from Skradin, served only in special occasions, made with honey, almonds, chocolate and walnuts.
“Skradinski rižoto” Special kind of risotto with veal made only in the town of Skradin. The recipe is very rare, almost secret. It’s made with veal and cooked slowly for more than 8 hours.
White grape variety native to the continental Croatian region of Moslavina. The wine is light yellow. It’s light, crisp and doesn’t have high alcohols. At first you can smell subtle floral notes, and the taste features aromas of apples, pears, citrus fruits. It is best consumed young and was quite underrated until new generations of Moslavina…
“Slani inćuni” Salted anchovies are not Croatian invention, but as a Mediterranean country with beautiful sea and centuries-old fishing tradition, we sure know how to make them delicious. Perfect Dalmatian starter or a light snack with a glass of wine.
“Šljivovica” Plum brandy, quite arguably the most famous alcoholic drink in Slavonia and the whole Balkans. Quite strong, but if it’s made the right way, from the best homegrown plums, it’s a true treat. You probably can’t enter a Slavonian household without being offered a shot of šljivovica, no matter what time it is.
Simple dessert prepared with dried figs, almonds, a bit of homemade brandy and maybe some herbs. It can last for months, preserved in laurel and rosemary, to keep the unwanted insects away and give it a nice aroma.
“Šnenokle” “Egg dumplings”, simple dessert made with milk and eggs, optionally with some vanilla, originating from Austria. Known as “paradižot” in Dalmatia.
A very unique and rare snack dating back to the Middle Ages, originating in Dalmatian region of Poljica. It’s made of two layers of thin crusty dough, similar like in focaccia, filled with Swiss chard, onions, garlic and olive oil, sprinkled with chopped almonds. Traditionally it is baked on wood plates over open fire.
“Divlje šparoge” Wild asparagus. Massively foraged along the coast in the spring. Very popular in Istria, where there are usually prepared with eggs as a kind of omelette (“fritaja”), in risotto or with pasta.
Štrudla is Croatian for strudel, classic Central European dessert, our culinary heritage from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Immensely popular in continental Croatia, one of the most common desserts in traditional restaurants. Usually it’s made of cheese, apples or sour cherries, sometimes apricots in summer, but you can also find some interesting local varieties,…
The most famous indigenous specialty of Zagreb and its surroundings. It’s a light and puffy strudel prepared in a specific way and filled with cottage cheese and cream. It can be boiled, baked in the oven topped with extra cream, or served in a soup.
OFFAl WARNING! Pressed sausage made of lard, pork innards, skin and head. It tastes better than it sounds! Also known as ŠVARGLA. Foto: eNOgAStrObRUtaL.com
Imagine fresh pasta dish similar to ravioli but bigger, filled with homemade jams or various savoury mixtures based on meat and vegetables. Slavonian tačkrle are very versatile and handy. Also called taškice.
This highly esteemed underground mushroom is a true delicacy. Istrian truffles, the more elusive and expensive whites and somewhat more common blacks, are among the best ones in the world. They are abundant in Motovun Forest, and the little place called Livade is the Istrian truffle capital.
Gewurztraminer, aromatic white wine variety, giving a whole range of wines from dry to sweet. It’s not indigenous to Croatia, but Traminac from Ilok is considered as one of the best in Europe, and it is widely known and appreciated. The fact that it was served at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II tells enough….
Rakija s travama, također rašireni narodni lijek. Svaki majstor travarice koji drži do sebe ima vlastiti recept. Herbal brandy, also a wide-spread folk remedy. Every self-respectful travarica master has a special recipe.
Local cheese delicacy from north-western Croatia. Fresh cottage cheese is mixed with cream, salt and red paprika, then shaped into a small cone and dried and smoked. Also known as prgica.
OFFAL WARNING! A rare and ancient dish from the island of Brač. Lamb’s innards are put on a spit, wrapped in caul and grilled.
Pâté made from bacon and spices. Spread it on bread or use for cooking hearty soups and stews.
Type of meat goulash prepared in Istria and Kvarner, with a lot of onions and wine. The tastiest one is considered to be the one prepared from free range rooster. It differs from goulash because the meat chunks are simmered until golden and only then the onion are added.
Jujube, ćićindra, čičimak, call it whatever you like, it’s still gonna be a small fruit tree used for making jams or rakija. It tastes like something between an apple and a date, but not quite. You’ll mostly find it in Dalmatia (around Skradin and Dubrovnik) in September, but it can be found in Ist…
Simple cake made of corn flour, eggs, cottage cheese and cream, typical for Zagorje and Međimurje.
Rakija (rah-kee-yah) is the catch-all term for any kind of spirit distilled from fruit (and not just fruit) in Croatia, and it translates to ‘brandy’. Just as there’s apple brandy, plum brandy, berry brandy and so on, varieties distilled from different source materials take more specific names.
Stretching somewhere between the southern slopes of Medvednica and Sava River, Prigorje is a small rural region, naturally leaning to Zagreb. In terms of wine, it has always been underrated.