Low on the radar, Croatia, is a beautiful secret that’s begging to be discovered by the intrepid traveller and foodie. Influenced heavily by Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish culture, it won’t be wrong to say that Croatian dishes have their own distinct interpretation and taste. And with Croatia now qualifying for the FIFA 2018 semi-finals, this gives us (paging all football fans) all the more reason to dive deeper into the rich Croatian food culture. Here’s a list of some of the must-try dishes:
The hero of this black risotto is usually cuttlefish or squid, and then come the other ingredients—olive oil, garlic, red wine and squid ink. This ink is added at the end of the cooking process and gives this dish an intense seafood flavour and the black colour. Popular all along Croatia’s coastline, this risotto is a hit amongst the peasant communities of Dalmatia. Don’t be surprised if you’re left with black teeth after enjoying this deeply satisfying and filling meal, thanks to its rich ingredients.
Better known as shepherd’s stew, this traditional meat stew is a specialty from the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia. Usually prepared in a cauldron on an open fire, different types of meats and veggies get into this spicy stew. Be prepared to have your mind blown, courtesy of paprika, Croatia’s favourite spice. The annual ‘Cobanac festival’” where people compete to make the best pot of cobanac is proof that the Croatians take their food seriously.
Pair your Croatian cuisine with a Croatian national drink tipple, Sljivovica, a plum brandy. Known to have a sweet aftertaste, one glass is enough to give you a kick, so you might want to go easy on your drink. It tastes best when served in a warm cocktail, however, can be consumed on its own too.
This pastry is quite popular in the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Zagreb regions in the north of the country. Ingredients for the pastry-like dish varies from recipe to recipe but typically cheese, butter, eggs, and corn flour mixed with wheat flour find their way into most of the recipes. Fair warning, this baked goodie has marked a place of importance for itself in the country’s list of intangible cultural heritage, maintained by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, and if this doesn’t make for a good enough reason for you to be giving this a try, we don’t know what else can!
The Croatian version of everyone’s favourite dessert--yes, we’re talking about doughnuts—is is called fritule and like any other deep-fried treats, this won’t make it to the list of healthy foods. But, who cares? These little bites of heaven taste great especially when paired with a hot cuppa coffee (called kava) or make for a yum dessert after a hearty meal, thanks to the citrus rind, eggs, dried fruits and rakija rum. While these little sugary treats are a common sight during Christmas, they can be found year-round in popular tourist destinations of Croatia.
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