Croatian Specialties
  Posted January 24th, 2017 by Zdenko  in Travel | 17 comments

Croatian food

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Food tasting in Croatia
On my resent trip to Croatia, I decided to take pictures of the Croatian food specialties as they were being served to us. I will try to describe them to the best of my knowledge…

Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as “the cuisine of regions”. Its modern roots date back to Proto-Slavic and ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Proto-Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today – Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish – while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine – Italian and French.

100_2613Every holiday has its typical dish. Pork and potato stew is eaten on pilgrimages and at fairs; cod is prepared for Christmas Eve and Good Friday; pork is eaten on New Year s Day; doughnuts are an inseparable part of carnival festivities, and in the south they prepare a similar fried sweet dish known as hrostule. Ham and boiled eggs with green vegetables are served at Easter, while desserts comprise traditional cakes (e.g. pinca). Kulen (hot-pepper flavoured sausage) at harvest time, goose for St. Martin s Day, turkey and other fowl, as well as sarma (meat-stuffed cabbage leaves), are served on Christmas Day. At weddings, a variety of dishes with dozens of cakes and biscuits are served, including breskvice, shortbread bear paws, gingerbread biscuits, fritule – plain fritters, etc.

The favourite meals of very many people on all occasions include spit-roasted lamb and suckling pig, grilled fish, calamari cooked in various ways, barbecue dishes – raznjici, cevapcici and mixed grill – prosciutto and sheep’s cheese, or smoked ham and cottage cheese with sour cream, fish stew, venison.

dsc_1428The cuisine of Istria and the Kvarner regions represents a special Croatian style of cooking, a blend of inland and coastal. These regions are rich in excellent fish and seafood, most notable among them being found in the northern Adriatic: scampi (prawns), calamari and shellfish from the Limski Kanal (Fiord). After an excellent prosciutto, and cheese and olives, many traditional wine cellars offer fish soup, fish stew, boiled prawns, black and white frutti di mare risotto, as well as other dishes typical of the central part of the Istrian peninsula – traditional wine soup, ragout (jota) similar to Italian minestrone (manistra, menestra, menestra), and also pasta and risotto dishes cooked with the famous truffles of the region – a self-sown precious mushroom species, unearthed by specially trained dogs and pigs; these fungi have the reputation of containing aphrodisiac properties.

The excellent Istrian wines include Malmsey of Buje, Cabernet of Porec, Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as Terrano of Buzet, Zlahtina of Vrbnik, and sparkling wines – Bakarska Vodica, etc. Fine restaurants abound in Istria, especially on the Opatija, Crikvenica, Rovinj and Porec littorals, both in the interior and on the islands. 

p1040370Here we are cooking fish paprikash… (fish and potato stew).

100_5325Mixed meat BBQ…


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ćevapčići (formal diminutive) or Ćevapi (pronounced [ʨɛ'va:pi]) in some parts, is a dish of grilled minced meat , found in the countries of the Western Balkans: Srbija, Croatia, and others. They may be served on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinja or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, and so on.

cevapcici_in_somunĆevapi with onions in a somun, from Baščaršija


Serbian ćevapčići from Leskovac are made of beef (usually of three mixed types of cuts) and served on a plate with a lepinja. The only proper traditional way of grilling ćevapčići is to use glowing coals beneath a grill. Both expressions ćevapčići and ćevapi are common in Serbia. In Belgrade, from where ćevapčići spread all over the world, this is the only traditional expression. In other parts of Serbia ćevapčići are often made of both pork and beef. Although ćevapčići is a formal diminutive, ćevapčići from Leskovac are longer (10-12 cm) then Bosnian ćevapi (5-8 cm). The Leskovac-recipe was the one that became popular in Belgrade during the 19th century and then spread all over Yugoslavia (except Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Europe and United States.[1] Also famous are ćevapčići from Kosovo.

Bosnian ćevapi from the Baščaršija district of Sarajevo and Banja Luka are probably the most famous ćevapi in the Balkans. Travnik and Tuzla are known for their ćevapi made of beef stewed with spices. This dish is very popular in some parts of former Yugoslavia as well. The stew is poured on lepinja or somun flatbread and few chunks of meat left there. Banja Luka is known for ćevapi which are multiple rolls (usually four) joined together. Bosnian ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef meat, hand mixed and formed with a funnel. Formed ćevapi are grilled. Some people consider that the best ćevapi are found in “Baščaršija”, Sarajevo.

Croatian ćevapčići are made of both pork and beef. A serving usually consists of 5-10 pieces, served with white bread, minced red pepper, salt and onions.


raznjiciRaznjici (a type of shish kebob; pieces of veal/pork grilled).

“Cevabdzinica” is one common type of Croatian (originally from Bosnia) restaurant. A Cevabdzinica serves the Bosnian version of hamburger – pljeskavica and cevapcici (or cevapi). They are usually given in a special warmed bread (lepinja) and with onion. Featured along with the cevapi or cevapcici (a type of spiced grilled meat, little unwrapped sausages) are other grilled meats as well, like sudzukice (sausages), teleci raznjici (veal kabob), djulbastija (veal cutlet), teleci bubrizi (veal kidney), pileci raznjici (chicken kabob) and teleca jetra (liver). Grilled sweet red peppers are a good accompaniment. Also served are bureks (a layered filled pastry).

 raznjici2Raznjici (a type of shish kebob) with onion rings…

p1040160Home made appetizers: smoked bacon, home made ham (perschutto), cheese, spicy sausage kullen.

p1040216Home made ham (perschutto) and cheese plate..

img_0885Appetizer: Gnocchi in sauce.

100_5893Ocean fish of the grille…

img_1260Ocean fish of the grille…

100_6001Pig roast… (Double whammy!)

p1040367Pig roast (de-boned!)

p1030856Home made pizza!

100_6008Main course: meat, salad & fries… served all at the same time.

p1040294Owen baked ocean fish, eggplant and potatoes.

p1040235Poppy seed and Walnut rolls, and cherry pie.

p1040362Fresh from the tree, home grown peaches.

p1030795Fresh cherries… pick as much as you can eat!


Croatia has many Chesnut trees.



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17 comments to “Croatian Specialties”

  1. Comment by Sylvia:

    “klopa” zgleda famozno…….gladna sam

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  6. Comment by aleks:

    hvala za svemu

  7. Comment by Dubravka Martincic:

    All the food looks great, very authentic! Fish-paprikas is never with potatoes though. Is that a different version, or…?

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  12. Comment by Greg (Grzegorz):

    Hi Zdenko!
    Your website is … simply delicious!
    I’m trying to write about Croatian cooking for Polish edition of Wikipedia. I have got original recipes about Istrian specialities, but only a few about traditional dishes from Gorski Kotar.
    Do You know any old local recipes to help me? I can understand and read Croatian language.
    Greg from Poland

  13. Comment by Zdenko Kahlina:

    Sorry Greg, I don’t have any additional recepies… try searching on Google with the key words: sarma;kobasice…

  14. Comment by Delucia:

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  16. Comment by Julina from Barcelona:

    Wow, this look incredible. Thanks for sharing those nice pictures about Croatian specialties. Julina ;)

  17. Comment by Cristina Choung:

    So very, very cool! I am very happy I came across your blog! Great blog about food and Croatian specialties. I learned a lot about your culture! Thanks!

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