Croatia is a small country situated in the southern parts of Europe. It only has 54,594 square kilometers but its culture and history are enriched with delicious flavors, beautiful aromas, and interesting nuances. Croatian cuisine presents a mix of cultural influences. It combines Turkish, Austro-Hungarian, ancient, Illyrian, and Mediterraneans roots into one amazingly rich traditional cuisine. Croatia has it all – from delicious stews and soups, autochthonous pasta, and pies with protected geographical indication, to the incredible recipes for seafood, meat, and sweets. In order to present you with some of those recipes, I’m bringing you 10 must-try delicious croatian dishes! I carefully chose the dishes from different regions and islands so you can try some of them in whichever region you go to! From east to the west, from north to the south – these dishes are a must-try!
When it comes to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, risotto is probably one of the most famous dishes there. It can be made with various ingredients and seasonings, but the most delicious ones are made with seafood, especially prawns or shrimps. This dish is creamy and delicious, and it beautifully combines rice and the flavors of the sea depths. The white risotto is a specialty served in almost every restaurant on the Croatian coast so be sure to try it!
You are a pie lover? In that case, you can’t miss soparnik! Soparnik, also known as Poljica’ssoparnik, zeljanik, uljenak, and blitvenjak, is a traditional dish from Poljica, a small region near the Omiš hinterland. It presents a homemade dough with a filling made of chard, onion, and parsley. All the ingredients and their flavors amazingly harmonize into the mix of delicious aromas and beautiful nuances. Today, soparnik has a protected geographical indication at the level of the European Union.
Have you ever wondered what dishes are prepared on the isolated islands? Well, if you are enchanted by the beauties of the island of Vis, then you’re in for a treat! There, cuisine may be simple but oh, it is so rich in flavors! Komiškapogača is a pie (another one, yes, who can resist them!) with a filling made of tomato juice, salted anchovies, onion, olives, olive oil, oregano, and fresh parsley. This dish hides typical Mediterranean flavors and aromas, and you can try them only on the western side of the island of Vis where the small town Komiža is located!
When we talk about Croatian pasta, Istria is a must-visit region. There, you can try various types of autochtonous pasta and pasta fuži is the most famous of them all! Fuži are small spindle-shaped pasta that is usually served with a classic tomato sauce and rosemary. But besides that, fuži can be served with seafood, meat, and truffles too! In whichever combination you try this pasta, you’re going to enjoy it – just imagine homemade pasta enriched with amazing flavors. Need I say more?
Since we mention seafood so often, it is time to talk about specifics! In the southern parts of Croatia, fresh oysters are a true delicacy. And by fresh, I mean fresh – some taverns will take out oysters from the sea right in front of you, put a few drops of lemon on them, and voilà! But some restaurants serve oysters with a touch of olive oil and garlic too. By some stories, oysters are aphrodisiac since they offer truly magical nuances. Well, it is best to just try them, right?
Seafood can be made and served in various different ways. Have you ever tried fish soup/stew? On the Croatian coast, this dish is simply called brodetto. It is made with mussels, grouper, shrimps, and all kinds of shells and fish. The soup is delicious, and it combines different ingredients of the sea depths in the most beautiful way. The used ingredients depend on the recipe since every household and restaurant go by its own specific cooking method, but all those recipes have one thing in common – deliciousness!
Boškarin is cattle and it is a symbol of Istria. When preparing it, the people of Istria follow a traditional and original recipe that is carried on from one generation to the other. Thanks to its quite unique flavors, boškarin presents a true gastronomy delicacy. It is usually served with some type of Istrian pasta, such as gnocchi or fuži, as well as with a variety of fresh vegetables. However, boškarin presents really quality meat so you can find it only in the top exclusive restaurants!
We’ve already mentioned fish stew so we must talk about meat soup too! Čobanac is a delicacy of continental Croatia and it presents a stew with a lot of onions, cube-cut meat, pepperoni, tomatoes, wine, pepper, and more. These are the basic ingredients that are a must for this dish but of course, from one region to the other, there are slight alternations, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them! Wherever you try čobanac, just know that you’re tasting a true traditional delicacy!
When it comes to Croatian sweets, this cake is a must-try must-enjoy! It is made on the island of Brač and by the old and traditional recipe. Cake hrapačuša (also known as hropoćuša and hrapoćuša) is a really delicious protected intangible cultural asset of Croatia! It is simple to make it and it needs just a couple of ingredients such as eggs and walnuts, as well as those classic ingredients like sugar and flour. In the end, the cake resembles a specific stone from that island and that’s how this outstanding dessert got its name!
I like to call this dessert the queen of all the sweets! Rožata is a traditional Dalmatian pudding with caramel dressing, and it beautifully combines all the aromas – vanilla, lemon, liqueur, and caramel. The recipe for rožata dates from 1300 so you’ll be trying and tasting a true traditional dessert which is perfect for the upcoming hot summer days! Just imagine how beautiful vanilla harmonizes with caramel and creates unforgettable ecstasy of flavors, aromas, and nuances. Your taste buds are seduced, aren’t they?
Have you already found your favorites? I’m sure you have!
Croatian cuisine is known for its richness and diversity and due to that, it is a great gastronomy destination. Every mentioned dish is special and unique, as well as enriched with its own amazing flavors and aromas. Of course, there are a lot of the dishes which haven’t made to this list, but you’ll surely discover them while wandering through the streets, exploring the coast, and enjoying the isolated islands.
In whichever direction you choose to go and explore, make sure to enjoy it with all your senses!
Oh, and if you’re looking for more Croatian recipes, here is the list with 76 traditional dishes!