Croatia’s cuisine varies from region to region reflecting the geography, history and culture of each region. The area north and south of the Adriatic are characterized by large differences in flavors and preparations of various Mediterranean dishes. The traditions of grilled fish and other seafood delicacies have been handed down from generation to generation. In the north part of Croatia the Austro Hungarian culinary influences are very visible. Of course, the wine must not be forgotten; Croatian wine is also appreciated for its flavor of the warm south.
In addition to the standard European cuisine, Croatia is also known for its appetizers. Αmong the most well known cold appetizers are the Dalmatian or Istrian ham, cheese of Pag or Lika, pecorino, Slavonia ball, the renowned cream cheese. The pasta dishes vary according to the region you are in. In Dalmatia, Primorye, on the islands and in Istria the first courses are fish and seafood or meat including lamb and the so-called Pasticada.
The grape growing and wine production are part of a centuries old tradition of Croatian beekeepers both in the continental part of Croatia along the coast and Dalmatia. Among the Croatian wines more popular are those along the Adriatic coast and islands. Red wines such as teran, merlot, kabernet, the Opolo, the plavac, Dingac and postup are all great while among the Malvasia white wine, Postup, Pinot, the kujundjusa the zlahtina, Muscat are some of the more well known ones. In the continental part we can not forget the rizling, the Grasevina, the burgundac, and the Traminac.
Delicacies for Special Occasions
Many ceremonies in traditional Croatian specialties are directly related to the food of the place which may be based on a religious tradition or linked to each individual special occasion in life (baptisms, weddings, birthdays, etc). Some occasions are of public nature like the days of Dionysius and S. Martin's who are celebrated in private wine shops and restaurants, while others are family occasions (marriages, baptisms, Easter, etc). Each occasion and vintage is characterized by a unique cuisine specialty. The sauce of pork with potatoes is eaten at fairs or during pilgrimages, the cod is prepared for Christmas Eve and Good Friday, the pork for New Year and the typical krofne are directly related to the festivities of the Carnival. The ham with eggs combined with the vegetables is served at Easter. The Slavonia ball is prepared during the harvesting period, the goose in the days of S. Martin, while the turkey and other poultry are served with Sarme for Christmas. At weddings there will be various dishes and sweet biscuits such as the breskvice (peaches) and bear claws. Many people prefer on every occasion specialties made from skewered lamb or pork, grilled fish, calamari prepared in different ways or different types of meat on the spit: kebabs, meat mixture and grilled cevapcici. Don't forget the ham and cooked cheese, cottage cheese, the mozzarella, the traditional fish soup brodet and the veal.
To sum up, when in Croatia eat as the Croatians eat. Their cuisine is one of the richest in Europe.