Aromas and tastes of Dalmatia are testified by a number of aromatic and medicinal plants that grow in coastal areas bathed with the record number of sunny days in a year. It is the same in Istria where you are able to enjoy and delight at aromatic herbs that will fascinate you with their divine odour. If you are already in Croatia, it would be pity not to enjoy the aromas, as well as tastes of aromatic herbs in food.
The role of spices and herbs in the kitchen is common – improve and add to the taste of dish and give character to it. Our numerous restaurants know well that it is the spices that give the special taste to dishes. Rosemary, sage, bay leaf, mint are unavoidable in the kitchen.
One is the Ana Restaurant, which has nestled on the magnificent Rab Island, in the very heart of its largest settlement with the same name. It is hidden from views and owing to that, it oozes pleasant homelike and romantic atmosphere. Aromatic herbs are unavoidable in its kitchen.
- We never prepare food without our herbs. They are everywhere around us and give special taste and aroma to dishes. Chicken medallions in sage sauce, potatoes with rosemary, fish fillet with rosemary are but some of our dishes. Guests, especially those who have never tasted these herbs, really like them – they say at the Ana.
Ana. Photo: Nel Pavletić/PIXSELL
True Dalmatian spices are the trademark of the Skradin’s Zlatne Školjke Restaurant as well. This fish restarant that complements its seafood menu with lamb cutlets, pašticada and beefsteaks is located in the very heart of the town, in one of those beautiful narrow stone streets of Skradin.
- There can’t be our tastes and aromas without our spices. Brodet is not brodet withou bay leaf, and without it, pašticada will not have the same taste. We use all our spices – they say at the Zlatne Školjke.
Zlatne školjke. Photo: Duško Jaramaz/PIXSELL
The heart of Nin houses one of the oldest tavern in town, Stara Kužina.
- Everything is homemade with us and our guests know it very well – they say. Each of these herbal species in the area of Dalmatia and Istria adapts easily to the weather conditions and the requirements for their cultivation are not extremely high.
Stara kužina. Photo: Duško Jaramaz/PIXSELL
Walking along the seashore, the natural habitat of rosemary, you will enjoy its recognisable odour. You will recognise it by the specific aroma if you rub it between your fingers. It is perfect with fish specialties.
Sage is a typical herb of the Mediterranean flora. It can grow up to 60 cm. Lower parts of the stem are woody, and young branches are green and have stems with the square cross section. It is paired perfectly with different meat and fish dishes, and can be fried, fried in breadcrumbs and used for various types of tea.
Bay leaf is prevalent everywhere in Istria and Dalmatia and is frequently an unavoidable spice in meat specialties and dark sauces. It also goes well with dishes of vegetables, meat, roasted meat and even desserts. No wonder that it was bay leaf people used to make wreaths of because this plant is the symbol of victory and eternity.
When you return from the holiday in Croatia, essential lavender oil, lavender honey or a bouquet of dried buds will remind you of the holiday as a certain souvenir. Lavander loves Dalmatia and Istria. It is used in cookery, medicine and the cosmetic industry.
You will recognise immortelle or curry plant by its specific yellow colour that is not surprising because it specifically loves the sun. The plant grows along rocky areas and by the sea. It has beautiful yellow flowers of strong odour. Oil that is used for skin regeneration is most often made of this plant.