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The best local recipes in Croatia

Croatia's recipe repertoire is as diverse as its landscape and holiday destinations. This is the place to sample the unusual and delicious, as well as some more familiar recipes. The Turks, Italians, Hungarians and Romans have all made their mark on Croatia's cuisine, and if you're exploring the country you'll be able to spot these influences and more modern international ones.


Istrian style

Just across from Italy, over the Adriatic Sea, the Istrian coastline of Croatia is dotted with excellent restaurants serving a range of local recipes. For a local ingredient that really defines this area, look for truffles – these extraordinarily luxurious fungi grow in abundance in Istria.

For a combination of Italian and local cuisine, look no further than fuzi with tartufi, or pasta shapes with a creamy truffle sauce. The homemade pasta is served with a warm, creamy sauce and finished by grating truffles and parmesan cheese over the dish.

Truffles grow so prolifically in this region that you may end up finding shaved truffles on top of many of your dishes. Both Pula and Porec have countless restaurants serving this local delicacy.

Peppers and paprika

Fiery dishes are popular in Croatia, and throughout this country you'll encounter many variations of this particular theme. Punjene paprike, as they're called in Croatian, are peppers stuffed with a combination of meat, rice and spices, and served with a rich tomato sauce.Orca restaurant in Rovinj is recommended by food writers as it's said to serve some of the best stuffed peppers around.

A family favourite

Just about every Croatian family has its own special recipe handed down over the generations for the fishy delight that is a Croatian brodet stew. It might remind you of the French bouillabaisse, but the spices used in a Croatian fish stew are quite different, as are some of the ingredients.

Onions, tomato paste, bay leaves and garlic are essential but, rather daringly, the meat comes in the form of either white fish and frogs or eels and frogs. This Istrian speciality can be found throughout Croatia's western seaboard, though it does vary from restaurant to restaurant.

Dubrovnik dining

Set in the province of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik's dishes include those prepared from locally sourced produce and a fantastic range of seafood. If you're offered pasticada, grab it with both hands. This one pot marvel of slow cooked, marinated beef is delicious.

This meat is usually marinated overnight in garlic, vinegar, onions, rosemary and a bottle of red wine, then browned in olive oil. The reserved marinade is reduced with tomato paste then added to the beef, some carrots, prunes, garlic and clove, and cooked slowly for around three hours for maximum flavour.

Let there be sweetness

If you've got a sweet tooth, then medenjaci, or honey spiced cookies, are wonderfully tasty snacks. They're simply made to a traditional biscuit recipe with the addition of honey in the preparation process.

Another pudding to look out for is sour cherry strudel – strudlu s visnjama. This dish tips its hat to Croatia's central European heritage and is a wonderful confection of strudel pastry filled with sour cherries, lemon zest and walnuts and then icing sugar is sprinkled over the top.

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