Most people travelling to Croatia find themselves with the question: What exactly is Croatian cuisine? A challenging question to answer, given that it stretches across three climatic regions; Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean.
Croatia’s central location within Europe means its cuisine encompasses a unique blend of the best of a range of diverse European regions. Mediterranean food makes up the cuisine of the Dalmatian coast, with largely distinct Italian influences. Further inland, toward continental Croatia, Austro-Hungarian style dishes heavily influence the local cuisine. Across the mountainous Alpine region, the cuisine is a blend between Mediterranean and continental, with strong truffle and olive oil flavours.
What brings the three regions together is the emphasis on family and friends coming together and enjoying a delicious meal. To help you decide on what to eat while in Croatia, here’s our list of the Top 5 Croatian dishes you have to try.
Essentially a squid (and/or cuttlefish) risotto, getting its rich black colour from squid ink, this dish is something you’ll find on just about every restaurant’s menu along the coast. Along with squid, this risotto contains other seafood, particularly mussels, clams and other shellfish. Whilst you may find that your lips and teeth turn black, it’ll definitely be worth it be worth it.
A traditional Istrian pasta; Fuži preparation involves pasta dough being cut in a diamond-shape, then rolled around a chopstick (often pencil) to form a quill-shaped hollow tube. Fuži can be served with various stews: mushroom, truffle, chicken, or beef stew. The most common and in our opinion the most delicious is the truffle one, and there is truly no better place in the world to indulge in truffles than Istria.
Soparnik resembles a flat vegetarian pie, baked in a komin (a type of fireplace). A fire is created in the komin and when ready, the fire and embers are pushed aside allowing the soparnik to be cooked directly on the hot stone where the fire once was. The filling of Soparnik consists of Swiss chard, parsley and garlic. You’ll find the best Soparnik in Dalmatia. And every July for the last ten years the town of Dugi Rat has hosted a Soparnik festival.
Also called brodetto, this fisherman’s stew hails from Italy’s Marche region. Usually served with polenta, brudet is one of the most common dishes you can find in coastal Croatia. 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. Ideally, brudet is made from three different types of fish and has a tomato base.
Perhaps the most popular of all Croatian foods; Fritule are ball shaped deep fried dough sweets made from egg yolks, flour, raisins, orange or lemon zest and a dash of rum on occasion. This desert is typically served at Christmastime, however they’re so popular you can definitely find them all year round.
Croatia’s food exceeds the expectations of tourists from all over the world. We’re sure that wherever you are in Croatia, you’ll fall in love with their fresh seafood, hearty stews and delectable desserts.