Foreign Influences on Croatian Food


Situated on the crossroads between Central Europe and the Mediterranean, the small nation of Croatia was a melting pot of cultures for a lot of centuries and, on this article, we’re exploring the varied international influences on Croatian meals.

Illyrian tribes, Greeks, Romans, and later Venetians left a major impression on the gastronomy of coastal Croatia. On the opposite hand, the Ottomans, Austrians, and Hungarians primarily influenced continental Croatia. It appears that Croatians soaked up one of the best from all of them and now supply a variety of probably the most wonderful dishes with distinctive flavors. Let us allow you to uncover what Croatia has to supply whereas recognizing all of the fascinating international influences on Croatian meals.

Foreign Influences on Croatian Food

East Croatia

In jap Croatia, a much less touristy space, you can see probably the most mouthwatering savory dishes. For many centuries, this space was underneath Ottoman, Hungarian, or Austrian rule. Sometimes rooted for quite a lot of generations, every empire not solely introduced a need to beat the territory but in addition unfold its personal tradition and heritage. And so it was. Locals constantly adopted international influences on Croatian meals. They embraced one thing as soon as unusual and made it their very own, creating a selected tradition and gastronomy.

Sarma – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: A Dish Originating in Turkey

The Ottoman Empire began its enlargement in Europe within the 14th century. Soon, many nations fell underneath its rule, together with giant components of Croatia. We see the Ottoman affect in sarma: minced meat and rice wrapped in bitter cabbage leaves. The phrase comes from the Turkish phrase sarmak, which interprets to wrapped. You can discover very comparable dishes in lots of nations that had been as soon as a part of the Empire and, after all, in Turkish delicacies itself.

This is a close-up of a baking dish filled with sarma in tomato sauce.
Sarma is conventional Croatian meals at its finest

Paprika-Based Dishes & Strudels: The Influence of Hungary & Austria on The Food of Eastern Croatia

Thanks to neighboring Hungary, one single ingredient connects many Croatian dishes: pink floor paprika. Nowadays, it’s the predominant condiment within the east. Locals make numerous dry-cured meat merchandise seasoned with floor paprika. Thanks to the lengthy custom of pig farming, hearty meat dishes have been ready right here for many years.

The better of all is kulen, a premium spicy pork sausage. Local folks additionally take nice satisfaction of their čobanac, a spicy beef, pork, and venison stew, slowly cooked in a big metallic pot on an open hearth and served as a predominant course. Those dwelling near rivers or lakes make fiš paprikaš, a wealthy and spicy fish stew in tomato sauce, much like čobanac. But to be fully trustworthy, each fiš paprikaš and čobanac have roots in goulash, the well-known Hungarian stew.

This image shows a large metal pot filled to the brim with čobanac.
A staple dish of Croatian delicacies is čobanac

The impression of Austria is seen in numerous pies and strudels with both recent cheese, apple, or cherry filling. The recipes for these now old school desserts have been devotedly handed down from era to era. Thanks to the Austrian affect, some conventional recipes embrace chocolate as effectively.

Central Croatia

The folks of Central Croatia developed a really distinct culinary scene by mastering the talents adopted by Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, and even the French. Naturally, additionally they gave every dish a selected native contact. Thanks to the wealthy gastronomy scene, this space is increasingly more acknowledged as a small foodie paradise. While the east of Croatia is thought for meat, central Croatia is principally recognized for poultry, milk, and cheese.

Roasted Turkey & Mlinci: Italy Meets Central Croatia

Roasted turkey, one of many space’s typical dishes, was initially delivered to Croatia from Italy. It is regionally ready in a really particular approach, with mlinci, a kind of combine between pasta and flatbread. To perceive what mlinci is, you’ll simply have to return and take a look at it.

This is a close-up of mlinci.
Mlinci is a conventional Croatian dish

Štrukli: The Croatian Take on Austrian Strudel

Another gastronomy gem from the realm is štrukli, a kind of pastry full of cottage cheese. This conventional dish resembles Austrian strudel. However, štrukli is an instance of an area twist at its finest. It takes a variety of talent to make the particular dough for štrukli, whereas the easy filling, made from simply cheese, cream, salt, and eggs, tastes heavenly.

La Štruk in Zagreb is a restaurant that specializes solely in making this superior dish. Make positive to attempt some štrukli there once you’re round. If you’re going to Zagreb quickly, right here’s our listing of town’s finest native eating places.

This is a close-up of strukli. A fine example of foreign influences on Croatian food, strukli resembles Austrian strudel.
When in Croatia, you need to attempt strukli, particularly within the winter months

Kremšnita: A Scrumptious Dessert Inspired By The Austro-Hungarian Empire

In the small city of Samobor, near Zagreb, you may take pleasure in samoborska kremšnita. Rooted in Vienna and Budapest confectioneries, samoborska kremšnita is a cake made from custard cream filling sandwiched between two skinny flaky crusts. Many nations that used to belong to the Austro-Hungarian Empire have some model of this dessert. The residents of Samobor are pleased with their model of the cake.

This is a close-up of kremšnita from Samobor.
Kremšnita from Samobor in all its fluffiness

Samoborska Muštarda: A Sauce Brought To Croatia By The French

Samobor can be residence to samoborska muštarda, a reasonably spicy sauce made from mustard, grapes, and spices. The sauce was initially imported by the French and the residents of Samobor adjusted the recipe to their tastes.

Coastal Croatia

Croatia’s lengthy shoreline spreads from the Istrian peninsula within the north to Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast within the south. There have been large international influences on Croatian meals on this a part of the nation. Greek, Roman, and Venetian affect is clear in native gastronomy, primarily in all types of fish and seafood delicacies. Speaking of recent seafood dishes in Croatia, right here’s an summary of a number of the finest amongst them.

The Fish Dishes of Coastal Croatia & Their Ties With Ancient Greece

The city of Vis, or Issa in Ancient Greek, was the primary settlement on the island of Vis. It was based by the Greeks within the 4th century BC. The Greeks unfold their culinary traditions on the island and past. Greek dishes had been easy, but nutritious, containing olive oil, herbs, greens, grains, and fish.

Viška pogača is one of the best instance of how Greek culinary custom has been handed down to the current day. It’s a easy however filling fish pie, often served for lunch. Similar fish dishes can, after all, be present in Greece, but in addition in Sicily, as there have been many Greek colonies there, too.

Another widespread dish of Greek origin is gregada, a nutritious fish stew widespread on the island of Hvar and in Middle Dalmatia. Many consider that Greek settlers introduced this humble fishermen’s dish to the island of Hvar as early because the 4th century BC. Those weren’t occasions to be choosy. Therefore, this recipe that dates again to historical occasions mixed no matter fish fishermen caught of their nets, which wanted to be ready shortly so as to not go to waste.

Pršut – Croatian Prosciutto

While for Greeks the ocean was the primary supply of meals, historical Romans had been peasants and lived off the land. They grew fruit and greens, cereals and legumes, and naturally, olives, figs, grapes, and dates. But most of all, the Romans cherished their pork.

The story of cured meat begins with Romans. They had been the primary to comprehend that, by salting and drying pork legs, they might make a delicacy. Cured meat was additionally sensible for storing, which was particularly vital for Roman troopers. With the enlargement of the Empire, cured meat arrived in Istria and Dalmatia. Today, we’re proud to say that a number of the finest prosciuttos on the planet are made in Istria and Dalmatia. You can learn extra about Istrian ham and Croatian pršut (pronounced pr-chute) basically right here.

This image shows a platter filled with prsut, octopus, and cheese.
Local prosciutto – or pršut – and top-quality seafood should not arduous to search out in Croatia

Soparnik: A Savory Pie First Made By Illyrian Tribes

Just a couple of miles inland from Split, you’ll encounter Illyrian heritage. Soparnik is a savory pie full of Swiss chard, onions, and parsley, and completed with garlic and olive oil. Croatians inherited their expertise of creating soparnik from the Illyrian tribes that used to dwell within the space. Today soparnik is an actual deal with and a extremely valued dish. It’s an intangible cultural heritage of Croatia and an inevitable a part of vital celebrations.

This is a close-up of three pieces of soparnic.
Soparnik is ideal for a lightweight lunch

Brodet, Kroštule, Fritule: The Venetian Influence on The Food of Coastal Croatia

The finest instance of Venetian affect is brodet (brodetto in Italian), a fish and seafood broth. Since some coastal cities of Croatia had been underneath the rule of the Venetian Republic between the fifteenth and 18th centuries, the customs and native delicacies of Venice unfold to the realm. The artwork of creating brodet is most actually one thing we’re grateful for. 

Traditional sweets on the coast are all fairly easy, primarily coming right down to home made fritters, corresponding to kroštule and fritule. Both easy and scrumptious and, you’re guessing proper, imported from Venice. 

This is a close-up of a bowl filled with fritule - round dough balls covered in sugar and cinnamon.
Fritule – easy but scrumptious

Croatian Pasta

If you suppose home made pasta is out there solely in Italy, you haven’t been to Istria. Pasta-making expertise have been handed down from era to era amongst locals. They make conventional fuži and pljukanci pasta and are additionally masters in making all types of pasta sauces, most notably from black truffles. However, it’s most definitely that Istrians realized tips on how to make pasta from their Italian neighbors.

This is a close-up of a dish of traditional fuži pasta with pork chunks.
For typical Croatian meals with an Italian affect, attempt conventional fuži pasta with pork meat

Taste Croatia With Us

Many folks have needed to take pleasure in the advantages of Croatia’s various pure surroundings all through the centuries and we will’t blame them. The tumultuous historical past of Croatia usually formed its delicacies and we ought to present credit score the place credit score is due with regards to the evolution of Croatian meals tradition.

Hence this text in regards to the international influences on Croatian meals, which should have you longing for some genuine Croatian meals by now. If so, why not be a part of us on a culinary journey throughout Croatia and its distinctive delicacies that your style buds will cherish eternally?


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