One of the great joys of visiting a country for the first time is the food. Then maybe the coffee, wine, or native beverages. But food comes first. I don’t necessarily have a favorite, since I grew up on a variety of both American, Japanese, and Armenian food. But if I had to pick a few favorites, I would choose Peru, Romania, Japan (of course), Hong Kong, and Hungary.
Croatia has a riches of seafood along the coast, and a tradition of meat dishes further inland. I enjoy both, so I want to try a little of everything! Here are a few that I want to try.
Black risotto A squid risotto using squid ink to make the black color. Add some seafood like mussels, clams, and other shellfish. They say both your teeth and your stools turn black after eating this.
Pasticada with gnocchi Perhaps the most popular Dalmatian food, baby beef is marinated in red wine for several days, braised, and served with gnocchi.
Peka (see separate email)
Buzara A method of cooking seafood, mainly crustaceans and shellfish, using white wine, garlic, parsley, and bread crumbs. Simple, yet delicious. Various fish and crustaceans are stewed with tomato sauce, onions, vinegar and spices. Usually served with polenta.
Skradinski risotto Perhaps the holy grail of risotto in Croatia, it is cooked for hours, and must be constantly stirred. The result is the creamiest veal risotto on the planet. It may contain chicken, baby beef, chicken or beef, onions, salt, oil, hard cheese, and rice.
Istarski fuzi Fuzi is a quill shaped homemade pasta, typical of Istria. It is cut into diamond shape, and rolled around a chopstick to form a hollow tube. It is usually served with stews, like mushroom, truffles,
Brudet A fish stew, quite common along the coast, with onions, tomato sauce, drop of vinegar and spices. Covered in water it cooks on low fire until the fish is done. Laurel and chili pepper are added to the stew to your taste. Brudet is usually served with polenta.
Manestra The most common dish on menus in Croatia, a slowly cooked bean soup with cured meats, pancetta, garlic, and parsley. Often served with corn or sauerkraut.
Vitalac Wins the weird food award, these are skewers of baby goat or lamb entrails (lungs, liver, spleen) wrapped in caul fat and spit roasted. Served with warm bread. Not for me!
Soparnik A savory pie filled with Swiss chard. It is a very competitive dish among Croatian families along the Dalmatian coast.
Sarma Stuffed peppers, actually stuffed sauerkraut. Similar to the stuffed peppers of summer, this is a winter dish.
Zagreb schnitzel Similar to Vienna schnitzel or Cordon bleu, deep fried, found in Zagreb.
Dormouse Another weird food, looks like a rat, grilled, stewed, or friend. I will pass!
Olive oil Croatia is said to have the best olive oil in the world. I hear the same for their se salt.
Pita or burek Almost a national dish, simple and savory phillo dough filled minced meat, potato, cheese, spinach, pumpkin, or apple.
Croatian prosciutto Similar to its Italian or Spanish versions, the best is found in Istria.
Pag cheese From the famous Croatian pag, no from sheep on the island of Pag.
Oysters Mostly from the town of Ston, I plan to get my fill. Also, great octopus dishes abound.
Enough already, let’s move on to dessert.
Rozata Looks like creme caramel.
Krostule Long, thin strips of dough, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Fritule Ball shaped dough made of flour, raisins, schnapps, and lemon zest, then deep fried.
Apple strudel I think you know what it is.
Poppyseed or walnut roll
Krempite Puff pastry filled with custard cream
I will let you know, via email or FB regarding my culinary adventures here. In the meantime, just pour yourself a glass of Grgich Hills Chardonnay from the master.