One of the most rewarding aspects of traveling to Croatia is trying out the locally produced delicacies; the simple delights that take one’s taste buds on a tour of Croatian culture and tradition. This guide will highlight some of the most important delights locally produced in Croatia, those that simply must be tasted while traveling around the country.
Croatian delicacies offer an extravagant palate of flavour that simply cannot be experienced anywhere else, ranging from dried meats, to delicately prepared cheeses, to rare truffles. While Croatia offers many locally prepared traditional food, some simply stand out more than others. This guide will highlight the most important and the most enticing delicacies that you will come across while visiting the Republic of Croatia.
Istrian truffles spread over some local cheese. Flickr/alchen_x.
Some of the world’s most sought-after truffles can be found in the Croatian region of Istria. One of the greatest culinary experiences that can be had in the country is the Istrian Fuzi pasta with a truffle-based sauce. Additionally, the truffles themselves can be purchased and used in your own personal home recipes. During the correct season, Istrian truffles are one of my favorite ingredients.
The making of cvarci. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Cvarci is a variation of pork rinds, a common delicacy that is enjoyed across continental Croatia. While they may seem simple, and even rudimentary, these rustic delights are anything but. These crispy little treats can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or even a filling meal. They will give you a nice energy boost, regardless of whether you eat them with or without bread.
Spicy Kulen sausage. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Kulen is a sausage made by mixing of fine Slavonian pork, hot red paprika, and garlic to add spice. This spicy and tender delicacy is native to the Slavonia region, and is typically served as an appetizer along with bread and cheese. Kulen is one of the premium dried meats of Croatia, being internationally recognized with designations of origin and winning many awards. While the spice might not be for everyone, Kulen is an absolute must try when visiting Croatia, especially the region of Slavonia.
Prsut with salad. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
There is a debate in Croatia that is as old as time, the debate between which is better – Kulen or Prsut. Prsut and Kulen are Croatia’s two premier dried meat delicacies. Made by drying and smoking the hindlimbs of a pig, a painstakingly long process, the meat has a smoky, salty, and even sweet flavor. Prsut has in fact been described as the perfect umami, encompassing tastes from all the different flavor palettes. Prsut is typically served like Kulen (in many cases both meats are served together) as an appetizer with cheese and bread.
Rounds of Pag cheese. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The quintessential Croatian cheese, Pag, or Pag Island Cheese is the most well known and renowned artisan cheese to come out of Croatia. The cheese is made on a very special island in Croatia, Pag, which is rumored to have more sheep than people.
While this is certainly a hyperbole, there is a large amount of sheep on the island which produce the milk that this fine cheese is made from. Pag cheese has a hard texture and a well rounded and distinct flavor. While the cheese is native to the island Pag, a ferry ticket isn’t necessary to enjoy it as Pag Cheese can be enjoyed throughout all of Croatia.
Enjoying a glass of wine during your stay in Croatia is a delight. Unsplash/JP Valery.
Croatia has many historical wine regions. With many diverse types and flavors, it is easy to get lost and fall in love with the Croatian wine industry. Virtually every single region of Croatia has a domestic wine. Saying which types are the best would be difficult, but I can tell you which are the most popular ones.
The two go-to wines in Croatia are the white Grasevina (produced in Slavonia), and the red Plavac Mali (produced in Dalmatia). However, there are countless of other types that are just as fine, and in recent years, the sparkling wine industry has been growing. One of the most entertaining and unique travel experiences that can be had in Croatia is wine tasting at any of the country’s many wineries.
A bowl of salad and some olive oil. Usplash/Mike Kenneally.
Croatia is very well known for its production of olive oil. A point of pride for Croatians is that the oldest olives in world history date back to the island of Pag. The historical abundance of oils in Croatia, and the penchant of Croats to take virtually every vegetable and process it into something else, has created one of the worlds most prominent olive oil industries.
Croatian olive oil has a unique taste, that is more natural, and slightly bitter, compared to other nations counterparts. The best olive oil to be had in Croatia can be tried on the Dalmatian coast. It is used not only as an ingredient but also as an appetizer in many restaurants.
The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Croatia by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.