And so it’s here!
The last post that I’ll be writing about Croatia.
But what a most important post!
It goes without saying that my stay in Croatia was a delight. It was my first time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you missed:
- How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
- 10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!
- Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!
- 21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!
Honestly speaking, most people have never previously heard of Croatia.
Before Game of Thrones!
I’m a great fan of the show and can’t wait to see Series Seven (7).
And Eight (8)!
I know. I’m a freakish nerd!
Isn’t Croatia somewhere in Eastern Europe?
It can’t be both surely?
Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.
And this is reflected in it’s food!
So let’s get started:
WHAT IS CROATIAN FOOD?
Croatian food is defined by it’s regions, towns and villages, and has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!
The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food.
I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Croatia was no exception!
The differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the Croatian mainland, and those in coastal regions.
Mainland cuisine is characterized by earlier Slavic and neighboring cultures such as Hungarian and Turkish, with the use of pork fat such as lard, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic, while the coastal regions are influenced by ancient Greek, Roman, and modern-day Mediterranean cuisine, with the use of olive oil, and herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, bay leaf, and citrus rind.
Rustic traditional food is derived from the former Yugoslavian nations and use the same basic ingredients such as grains, dairy, meat, fish, and vegetables, with similar cooking styles such as stewing, grilling, roasting and baking.
We spent a lot of the time in coastal regions.
Most ingredients used in Croatian food would be:
- olive oil
Croatia has an abundance of fresh, local, seasonal foodstuff such as olives and honey, joined in recent years by a plethora of health and ecology-conscious food stores selling organic vegetables, pure fruit juices, gluten-free bread and all manner of boutique deli grocery items!
In fact, there’s absolutely no need to visit a supermarket at all!
Take a look below:
CROATIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!
I could write pages and pages of what Croatian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!
We stayed in various apartments which I found courtesy of booking.com. All were pretty huge, centrally located, and cost between €45.00 – €60.00 per nights. As a result, we didn’t really go out for breakfast, but rather for brunch!
You can opt for:
- Cevapcici – a type of grilled lamb sausage dish traditionally found in many Balkan countries and actually, the national dish of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia! It’s usually served on a plate or in flatbread, with raw chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, feta cheese, ground red pepper and salt. The service was slow but the food was quite delicious. Bought at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC – Cost: 39kn or €5.25
- Soparnika (chard filled pastry)
- Zrnovo macaroni
- OMG! Truffles in Štrukli!
Štrukli is a popular traditional Croatian dish composed of dough and filled with cheese, various types of filling and then cooked or baked. We found ours at a popular place where you can have a wide variety of štrukli, ranging from traditional cheese to blueberry. We had ours with truffles and sat in the very pretty summer garden. Great service. Fantastic food! Bought at La Štruk restaurant in Zagreb. Cost: 35kn or €4.70
- Scrambled eggs with prsut, mushrooms and cheese
- Smoked-salmon platter
- We had brunch at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman both had a meal of Egg Benedict which consisted of poached eggs laid on top of crunchy whole wheat toasted bread, creamy avocado, rocket, tomato and olive oil. Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 30kn or €4.00
- I had the Croatian-style “English breakfast” of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Croatian sausage, grilled tomato, and spicy baked beans! Again, bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 59kn or €8.00
- We went back again for lunch and both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman had burgers. Here’s the “Club Sandwich” which actually consisted of a beef burger, a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, served with a portion of chips in a red polka dot mug and a fancy tureen of ketchup! Once again bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 65kn or €8.80
- Porridge with an array of snazzy toppings
We were invited to a complimentary press Easter brunch, along with journalists from Italy! Our brunch was at a restaurant which was opposite the Gate of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
- The restaurant serves only Croatian food as a matter of policy, and includes both seafood and meat dishes. We had a three (3) course brunch meal and a separate dessert was made for me ‘cos of my allergies! Our ham and egg foam pâté with horseradish cream was most delicious, and something I had never had before! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
- Cololino (Croatian pap)
- Pork sandwiches made from Istrian and Dalmatian Pršut – dry-cured ham, tucked into thick slabs of fresh crusty bread from Vis! Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 21.20kn or €2.85
- Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – can be found everywhere in Croatia. Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 15 kn or €2.00
A Croatian sandwich made from a bread roll with thick slices of mozzarella and thinly cut Miljevci prosciutto. Bought at the cafe next door to our lovely apartment in Zagreb. Cost: 12kn or €1.70!
For dinner, we always strive to patronise interesting traditional-inspired restaurants. For this, we don’t scrimp, but use the opportunity to sample all that is good in Croatian cuisine.
We wanted to eat in Gornji Grad – the Old Town – The restaurant that we had our eye on was situated between the church of St. Mark, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, and not far off from the Museum of Broken Relationships!
However, without a reservation, or a large number of heads, it proved extremely difficult to get a nice seat, or any seat at all! Of course, if you’re happy to be tucked in the outside patio, far from the action, or where you couldn’t see a thing then…
Er. Nope! I didn’t come all this way to be hidden away.
We decided to come again the next day, and this time we succeeded!
It’s a tavern-like place that is influenced by a mixture of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Mediterranean cuisine. Sadly, the service wasn’t the best and neither was the food. Both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman enjoyed their dinner, but I didn’t!
- The above dish of Dalmatian uštipak – fried doughnut balls – served with kajmak – Croatian clotted cream cheese was served On the House, ‘cos of the less-than-stellar service! Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 0.00kn or €0.00
- The meal above was a dish of grilled eel with a nice side dish of roast potatoes. Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 130kn or €18.00
- Wild asparagus
- Dried pork loin and sausage with pickled cabbage
I’ve become quite European in nature so that I’m quite picky. In Zagreb, this could lead to not finding a place to eat!
- Luckily, we found a nice little outfit which was small, and had a trendy bar and bistro menu. I’m not a fan of burgers so I had a chicken club sandwich consisting of chicken, bacon, grilled ham, onions and tomatoes, with a “cup” of roast potatoes! Bought at Otto & Frank, in Zagreb. Cost: 42kn or €5.60
- Wild boar
- Chicken in a wood-fired oven
- Vitalac – skewered lamb offal
- Eels and frogs
- Lamb tripe
- Artichokes with fava beans
- I had a “trayful” of seafood samples or Frigadura at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! My meal consisted of prawns, shrimps, mussels and sardines, served with a portion of french fries and a fancy tureen of whitefish sauce! Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 95kn or €12.80
I adore seafood so we went to a little sailing harbour in Split and found a lovely place. It was packed with Croatian locals, Italians, and lots of families with their teenage children! I was already impressed as teenagers can be so picky, but discerning!
- We all had pasta seafood dishes. My Tagliatelle came with mussels, shrimps, prawns and bits of lobster in a tomato sauce. Delish! Bought at the sailing restaurant Konoba – Barkarola in Split. Cost: 75kn or €11.00
- Butarga – salted, cured fish roe
- Spiny lobster
On our second night in Croatia, we went to a restaurant that is located in one of the oldest streets in the city’s old centre. In a basement that is over 300 years old! Unfortunately, the lighting was too “soft” to take good photos so I only have a picture of dessert!
- This Istrian custard or flawn, was presented with berries and cream. The Tall Young Gentleman liked it very much. Bought at Lanterna na Dolcu in Zagreb. Cost: 25kn or €3.40
- I hate chocolate cake, but if you like it, help yourself in Dubrovnik. Eww!! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
Who doesn’t love ice-cream? I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate! I read about a trendy ice-cream parlour in the Time Out Zagreb magazine, so off we went.
- The ice-cream parlour didn’t let us down. Bought at Millennium in Zagreb. Cost: 9kn per ice-cream scoop or €1.25!!!
- Sweet pastries
DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:
The food culture in Croatia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.
You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great. In fact, I found that in many places, the cost of a taxi-ride was even cheaper than three (3) glasses of wine and a cup of coffee!
So why shouldn’t you indulge?
Croatia has a variety of freshly – squeezed juice. Be careful when you order “lemonade” as The Tall Young Gentleman was surprised to receive freshly squeezed lemon, when actually what he wanted was Schweppes!
- Here’s a refreshing jar of ginger-ale. Cost: 25kn or €3.40
Have a beverage at the many bars, restaurants and cafés that can be found on the very long street packed shoulder-to-shoulder!
NOTE! In the daytime, stroll around and take your pick, but by nightfall know that if you’re in Zagreb and you’re as picky as I am, you’ll probably not get to eat!
The establishments have different names but tend to belong to the same group. There might also be a very long wait for service. Make sure you keep the waiter in view so that he can keep the drinks coming. It’s expected that with each order, you pay on the spot, then order again.
- The glass of cold coca-cola above, was bought at Caffe Bar History Village, in Zagreb. Cost: 18kn or €2.50!
You can also have:
- Lovran chestnuts. Yuck!
- Pag cheese
- Home-grown Karlovačko beer
- Staro Češko – from the Czech minority living in Croatia
- Riječko pivo
- Velebitsko pivo
- Pivo Toceno
- Osječko: from the Osijek – the oldest brewery in Croatia!
Croatian wine has a history dating back to the Ancient Greek settlers, and many traditional grape varieties still survive. However, at first glance, many restaurants would offer me Italian or French wine instead! Insist on the local variety, which I found perfectly up to par.
- The glass of red wine bought above at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC was cheaper than a (15kn or €2.00) glass of Schweppes!!! Cost: 9kn or €1.25!!!
- Teran wine
- Zlahtina from Vrbnik wine
- Maraschino liqueur
- Babic wine
- Marastina wine
- The Semberg Rosé wine above was bought at restaurant Bepa! Cost: 45kn or €6.50
- Debit wine
- Plavac Mali wine
- Dobricic wine
- Vugava wine
- Bogdanusa wine
- Prosek wine
- Posip wine
- dubrovnic malvasia wine
- Grk wine
I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?
That’s it for now.
See you next week!
CROATIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!
This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the wonderful traditional food that we sampled, are my very own!
In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!
From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.
From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be awesome!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re crazy!
Save the Date!
May & June are going to be thrilling!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!