Posts Tagged ‘Croatia’
01.10.2013. The typical American consumer would probably fail to point out Eastern European countries like Georgia, Hungary, Croatia, or Slovenia if they were given a map of Europe. However, in terms of wine production, this region is actually a major…
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.
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.
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?
It may rank high as Europe’s vacation hotspot but Croatia hasn’t succumbed to mass tourism. The motto of Croatia’s tourist board, “Mediterranean As It Once Was” may not apply to the most popular coastal destinations but there are plenty of authentic experiences to be had off the radar.
Wine Portfolio would like to welcome Anja Mutic to our team of writers. As we prepare for a shoot in Croatia Anja will help our community get up to speed on the country. Anja Mutic is a Croatia-born New York-based travel writer. Follow her at
www.everthenomad.com/blog/ for lots of great insight and stay tuned at the end of this article for more ways to learn about Croatia. We’ll bring you more info on Croatian wines in the weeks ahead and as always we’ll have regular updates on our Facebook and Twitter sites while we’re on location. And now over to Anja to introduce you to the country she loves.
In some of the trendier spots you may entirely forget the horrid civil war that ravaged Croatia in the 1990s. The country has bounced back admirably, which only speaks to its people’s remarkable resilience. This country in transition, poised between Mitteleuropa and Mediterranean, is as diverse as its landscapes, both budget and experience-wise. Head to some of the better-known Adriatic destinations and you’ll have to negotiate hefty price tags during the high summer season. But skip the coast and go inland and you’ll find great value in the locales of continental Croatia.
On the Croatian side of the Adriatic boot, find glitz and glamour aplenty in hotspots like Dubrovnik and Hvar, where celeb spotting, designer cocktails and fancy yachts became the order of the day. If the star appeal and the buzz of these don’t seduce you, find some peace and quiet in Croatia’s many coastal hideaways – from remote lighthouses that you can rent for a week, gorgeously weathered fishing villages, secluded beaches and half-deserted islands (Croatia has over 1000!).
After you’ve explored the coastline, don’t miss the unsung beauties of continental Croatia. Enjoy pristine farmland in one of the rural hotels or ‘agro-tourisms’, roam rugged wilderness, raft or canoe the wild rivers, hike lake-sprinkled national parks and bike through picture-perfect villages. Do explore Zagreb, the country’s pocket-size capital with its buzzing cafe life, a new contemporary art museum, ancient hilltop quarters and a rich repertoire of festivals and events.
Pair all of the above with Croatia’s delicious food – and plenty of it! Climbing up in Europe’s culinary rungs, Croatia showcases a full spectrum of gastronomic assets. These include prime-quality ingredients, locally sourced from its land and sea and cooked up in creative ways by celebrity chefs as well as mom-and-pop-style taverns. The wine regions of Croatia are as booming as the country itself, and its olive oils (particularly those produced in Istria) are receiving top accolades. Dobar tek and živjeli! (Enjoy your food and cheers!)
To help plan your own Croatia trip check out Anja’s
brand-new edition of Lonely Planet Croatia.: