Walnut - inspiration for sweet and salty creations

One of the most popular nuts of the Croatian gastronomy is the walnut. While its prices have become nebulously high in stores over time, historically, here in our country and in a wider region, there used to be no house that did not have a walnut tree in its immediate vicinity, if not in its courtyard. Everybody could pick its delicious fruits, which then were passed on to the main culinary masters of the house – granny and mum.

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So, our most famous walnut creations include traditional orahnjača cake, with or without raisins, the so called “bear paws” with lard, the walnut horn cookies with crispy crust and dough that melts on the tongue, the pastries and cakes with creams of finely ground walnuts, along with our neighbours’ delights widely accepted in our menus, such as the old, good baklava, hurmašica and tufahija.

Thus, the aromatic walnut delights used to fill the homes across our country since this very adaptable plant can easily grow in both coastal areas and inland. Hundreds of years of “socialising” with the walnut have brought forth recipes for thrilling sweet and salty dishes, with games with its flavours not ending yet. Nowadays, besides in its classical outfit, we can taste walnuts as part of magnificent salads and pasta.


The Oriental Maškovića Han, a hotel and restaurant in Pakoštane dating back to distant 1664, gave us some advice on how to perfectly fit walnuts into salad. In its Fatma Salad, they combine orange, walnuts and rucola for a sheer vegan delight, with the Mutrat Salad with cherry potatoes, rucola, lettuce, chicory, Juliene carrot, walnuts and feta cheese not lagging behind whatsoever.

The Knez Restaurant goes a step further and uses walnuts to enrich sauce with prosciutto and tubers for homemade gnocchi, whereas at the Klas Restaurant in Koprivnica, walnuts are the main actors of warm starters, which diners constantly demand and order over and over again, roused by their irresistible creamy-walnut experience:

“We make green nettle noodles with sauce of walnuts and cooking cream. It’s very nice, walnuts are fried on butter, in a process in which they release their fine grease while absorbing the butter grease, and when the cooking cream is poured over it is a very enjoyable dish. It can be a side dish with grilled turkey or chicken fillets, or a stand-alone dish,” the staff at the Klas says.

And, as the cherry on the cake, we should mention the phenomenal Maškovića Han’s balkava made of tried homemade, fresh and organic “halal” (a term that mean “allowed” in Arabian and is used for food and drink allowed to the members of the Islamic religion) ingredients.


“Amongst Oriental desserts, we offer our walnut baklava made of homemade drawn dough, butter, and sugar and lemon syrup,” the Maškovića Han says. Although originally it was made of, the walnut baklava is common in our areas, and each fruit is cleaned manually by the diligent restaurant staff.

Walnuts have a great role in the cuisine of the wider region and their popularity and general acceptance are not for wonder when we look at this product close up. Because of their numerous healing properties, walnuts have also been used in the popular medicine, so it could be said that with every bite, we take in something that will caress our body. They are also recommended to be consumed alone between meals, or as healthy snacks that keep immunity and health.

Therefore, this winter, be sure to get onto this product that everybody likes, and in doing so, find inspiration for “playing” with walnuts and irresistible Christmas cakes in our most creative restaurants across the country.