Croatian cuisine is characterized by its wide variety of ingredients and its similarity with Mediterranean cuisine. Due to its geographical location, products such as oil, vegetables, pasta or fish are the basis of many of its dishes from coastal regions that have acquired certain influences from some of its neighboring countries such as Italy, Greece or Turkey. The cuisine found in the interior of the country has a long agricultural tradition and is different because it is rich in agricultural and livestock products. With a great diversity of meats, many of its dishes have nuances from other countries in Central Europe. Among them sausages and cheeses are particularly popular.
Brodet is one of the most typical dishes of Croatia. The name means fish, and it is a casserole that usually includes conger, monkfish and grouper seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, tomato, vinegar, beer and a little flour to thicken the sauce. It is usually cooked over a low heat and served in a casserole dish. In some restaurants, it is accompanied with rice, although it can also be found served with polenta and in more upmarket establishments it is common to see clams included in the dish.
This popular stew originates from the Croatian region of Slavonia, a predominantly agricultural territory, so the recipe was created by the shepherds and farmers of the area and in the different restaurants of the country, you can find variations. Cobanac consists of a cauldron of up to seven different meats which are stewed with peppers, onions, tomatoes and potatoes and seasoned with paprika. It is served hot and is one of the most widely consumed dishes in the interior of the country during the colder winter months.
One of the most common rice dishes in Croatia, which can be found on the menus of many restaurants on the coast, is calamari risotto. Tinted black with squid ink, this tasty dish includes chopped onion, garlic and grated cheese. The rations are usually plentiful, so in some establishments, they option of sharing it between two diners.
Most of the entrees that are served in Croatia contain meat. One of them is the popular Dalmatian ham, which is sweet and smoky. Although it is a traditional delicacy that can be found throughout the country, it is not the only ham that Croatia produces. Istria ham is cured and seasoned with salt, garlic, pepper and rosemary, and is another of the delights of Croatia that has a Denomination of Origin.
The name of this dish, Dalmatinska, refers to the area of Dalmatia where it originated. It is one of the delicacies of the country, a popular stew consumed mostly in the interior of Croatia which is composed of veal meat marinated with vinegar and lemon, which is then spread with oil and cooked with vegetables, onions, plums and paprika to give it a slightly spicy flavour. It is usually served with gnocchi or fresh pasta. It is a very rich dish that is usually consumed at important events and weddings.
Typical of the Christmas season, these sweet doughnuts are made with flour and raisins and sprinkled with icing sugar and moistened in Brandy. In some places, they can be flavoured with citrus. It is a very common dessert during the winter and has certain similarities with both Spanish doughnuts and Italian zeppole. Due to their small size, several of them usually come in the same dish.
Kulen is one of the most traditional sausages in Croatia. It is a dried pork sausage which is served in slices and is seasoned with spices such as paprika, which gives it a spicy taste. There is a type of Kulen typical of the historical region of Slavonia, in the east of Croatia, which is protected with the Denomination of Origin trademark. This dish, which is usually served as a starter, can be enjoyed in all restaurants in the country.
Mlicini, a thin flatbread, is a common staple in Croatian cuisine. Depending on the region the recipe may also include egg or milk. It is usually served with poultry such as turkey, goose or duck. The bread is often covered in a meat sauce and eaten as an accompaniment.
Palačinke is a typical sweet in many countries of Central Europe and is very similar to French crepes. They are thin pancakes filled with chocolate cream, apricot jam, strawberry or different nuts and rolled and sprinkled with icing sugar. It is often decorated with syrup. It is usually served as a dessert, although as in other European countries, they also have savoury version stuffed with vegetables or meat that can be ordered as a starter or main dish.
Served traditionally in the north of Croatia, in the regions of Zagreb, this dish is composed of a thin pastry dough rolled with fresh cheese and covered in a typical Balkan sauce made with sour milk, cheese and egg before it is baked. It is usually served hot as an appetizer or filled with sweet ingredients and eaten as a dessert.