Cuisine of the Regions

May 19, 2011 11:02 am - Posted by Jody in Eat, Travel

As I pack up to embark on my next journey, I can’t help but drool over all that I’ve discovered about Croatia’s gastronomical selection.

Croatia is described to have the “cuisine of the regions. “  With each region having its own distinct culinary traditions, its heterogeneous food selection is most notably divided between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions.  The mainland cuisine is heavily influence by the earlier Slavic, and more modern Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish flavors.  The coastal region bears tastes similar to those of the Greek, Roman, Illyrian and more Mediterranean cultures. Italian and French cuisine are also heavily represented in Croatia.

Coastal Cuisine

The region of Istria is particularly famous for its harvesting of truffles.  Truffles are a rare and precious mushroom species unearthed by pigs and specially trained dogs.   Rest assured that I will be eating a lot of pasta a risotto dishes seasoned with this fungi! Lamb is a most highly valued meat, and most traditionally boiled or cooked on an open fire.

The Dalmatian coast serves up some of the best and freshest seafood, straight from the Adriatic Sea.  The island of Pag is famous for Pag cheese, made from sheep’s milk. Having a sharp flavor and often served with olives, I will be sure to enjoy it along side a glass of local wine.

Continental Cuisine

The cuisine of the northwest specializes in simple traditional cuisine. Several specialties of this area include: buckwheat porridge, turkey with mlinci (pasta taters), strudels, and pumpkin cake with poppy seeds.  In addition to this, the curating of meats is quite popular, with winter salami, blood sausages, and garlic sausages being commonly eaten.  Boiled smoked pork leg with potato or bean salad with onion is a very traditional dish.  Sweets definitely don’t go unnoticed in Croatia.  Traditionally, deserts are pastry dishes.  The palacinke, or Croatian pancakes are stuffed with walnuts or chocolate and served with ice cream, and are a national favorite.


While Croatia has over 300 geographically developed wine regions, it is divided into two main ones: Continental (Kontinetalna), and Coastal (Primiorska),  which includes the country’s surrounding islands.  Continental Croatia, which is the inland wine region, hosts a climate with hot summers and cold winters. Production in this area is concentrated in white wine varieties. Producing white wines, which are characteristically rich and fruity, share a similar style with the neighboring countries: Hungary, Slovania, and Austria.  This continental climate supports the Grasevina vine, producing crisp, light refreshing and aromatic wines.  Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc are also very popularly produced varietals in this region.  While less commonly produced as compared to white wine, the Frankovka is the most popular red wine grape.

The Coastal wine region runs along the Adriatic coast line.  Hillside slopes and islands of this region are home to a multitude of small winegrowing estates.  This region has a more Mediterranean climate with long, hot, dry summers, and mild, short, wet winters, being particularly well suited for grape harvesting and winemaking.  The northern part of the coast, Istria, produces mainly bold dry Bordeaux reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while the southern edge of the cost, Dalmatia, homes a wide range of wines and regard the preservation of terroir to be of the utmost importance.

Does anyone have their own personal fav food or wnes that I must try while we’re in Croatia?

3 Responses to “Cuisine of the Regions”

  1. mia says:

    Bread! it’s just divine! the first thing I do when I land in Cro is to go to a bakery and get a “pletenica”, kind of a bread roll. Its so good you can eat it on the go without anything else.

  2. Judith Burns says:

    Not sure who’s furnished you with your wine facts?! There are 3 main wine producing regions – Slavonia, Dalmatia and Istria. Istria produces more white wine than red, predominantly the indigenous and gorgeous malvazija, but also chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and even viognier. Off-dry muškat too. For reds, there are two indigenous – teran and refošk – as well as a host of international grape varieties too. Sounds like you may not be visiting Istria though to travel that far and not try some of the best wines in Croatia would be very sad!! Please email us if you would like any more details, and have a fantastic trip!

  3. Ozren Kanceljak says:

    Judith is so right. Istria has so little to do with Dalmaatia in terms of wine but also food. Do not miss it – there are fresh malvasias (perfect for summer) but also excellent ambitious wine makers like Meneghetti or Roxanich. Food is fantastic – unique combination of various climaate and historical factors. Not an Toscany not Dalmatia, neither Austria – Istria stands for itself. If going to Dalmatia you shoudl really have good guide, not to get wrong meals or wine. But islands like Hvar, Vis or Kurčula are wirth travelling. Do not miss beautiful wineyards of Pelješac – where some of the best Croatian red wines can be found. Contact Judith or Cliff from Wines of Croatia fo give you good hints.