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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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A richly varied regional cuisine

On July 1, 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the EU. The words which spring immediately to many people’s minds are raznjici and cevapcici, but it would be doing Croatian cuisine an injustice to stop there. The country has far more to offer with a richly varied cuisine and a great many regional and local specialities.

 

Eating out in northern Croatia

In the north of the country, the regions Istria and Kvarner have a lot to offer the adventurous gourmet. Close to the sea but also with extensive forests, these regions offer a sunny Mediterranean cuisine with some real highlights. In spring, for instance, there’s wild asparagus and in autumn freshly picked truffles from Istria, where both black and white truffles are to be found.

 

Fish and seafood star on the menu

The Croatian mainland has a coastline 1777 kilometres long. And then there are still 1246 islands. It’s no wonder that fish and seafood feature prominently on the menu in most parts of the country. Calamari and tuna and real scampi have a firm place on Croatian menus. Scampi is a real delicacy because true scampi live only in the waters of the Adriatic. Lobsters and langoustines land absolutely fresh on your plate. Mussels and oysters also come directly from Croatian waters, with the mussels from the Bay of Ston, in southern Croatia, enjoying a special reputation. One popular Croatian dish is brodetto, a stew made with different types of fish, olive oil, onions and tomatoes.

Two unmissable specialities

Prsut, a ham that is air-cured for two years, is served and sold all over Croatia. Prsut is traditionally carved by hand into thin slices. Then there is paski sir, a sheep’s milk cheese from the island of Pag. The sheep feed on wild herbs and grasses, which, because of the island location, contain more salt than otherwise. This gives the paski sir its unique, herby flavour.

The high quality olive oils of Croatia are little known outside the country, but Istria especially has a long tradition – going back at least to the Romans – of olive growing and olive oil production. This goes far to explain why olive oil seems to be obligatory in Croatian cooking.

Discover some seriously good wines

Croatia has some pleasant surprises for wine lovers. Istria grows the red Teran and the white Malvazija grapes. Further south, on the island of Krk, they make Zlahtina Zlatna Vrbnicka, a delicious light white wine. And not to be missed is Plavac mali Majstor Barrique, one of the country’s top red wines.

From a culinary point of view Croatia has a vast amount to offer visitors. And then there are the wonderful countryside, the clear deep blue sea and the beautiful old cities. All in all, it’s a great place to be.


Source: FreeCooks