Winter is a special time of the year, when people celebrate family and togetherness. Each region in Croatia has certain dishes eaten during the whole winter, some of which symbolise warm family homes during the holidays. Tourists who come to Croatia are strongly recommended to try them because these dishes actually symbolise the tradition of the country they are visiting. In addition to sarma and suckling pig, restaurants throughout Croatia have included many different traditional dishes in their offers.
Winter months have always been reserved for fish and fish specialties. Thus, the cod fish, or the fish of the northern seas, has swum all the way to Croatian cuisine, following maritime routes. In the culinary tradition of the Adriatic, the cod fish is usually prepared on Christmas Eve as brudet or soup, and as a spread or pâté. When dried cod fish is prepared, it is previously soaked for several days in salted water. Genuine Dalmatians will tell you that Christmas Eve without the cod fish is unimaginable. It is loved in Kvarner as well. If you are on Rab Island, in the centre of its largest town, bearing the same name as the island, Ana Restaurant nurtures a long family story while retaining all the features of an old coastal konoba. There you will taste the superb cod fish they are famous for.
- We have the cod fish prepared in the “sailor’s way”, as brudet, pâté ... People are very fond of it, and we prepare it in an old-fashion way. People value this a lot – we were told at the restaurant.
Turkey with mlinci
There is nothing more enjoyable than a delicious duck and turkey with mlinci (dried flatbread). This dish is most liked in the continental part of Croatia. Turkey is almost always accompanied by unavoidable mlinci, but it is also often served with delicious baked potatoes. If you are in Zagreb and want to have a good, real turkey, we certainly recommend Šestinski Lagvić restaurant. It is a restaurant with a long tradition, situated below Sljeme and surrounded with greenery. The commanding position of the terrace offers a beautiful view of Zagreb.
The very entry into the restaurant will wake up the gourmand in you, who will wonder “what did our ancestors eat?”! – Now is the time for turkeys and ducks and we always have them on the menu. This is our traditional dish, liked by all generations. Our guests know everything here is homemade – we were told at Šestinski Lagvić.
Everybody agrees that there exists a special love between Croats and lamb! Rare are family or holiday celebrations where lamb is not served. It is unavoidable for Christmas and Easter, and gladly seen on Sunday lunch... Fans will say that this meat is among the best and most delicious types of meat. If you are visiting Croatia and planning to visit Plitvice Lakes, be sure to stop to try lamb at Lička kuća restaurant. The middle of the restaurant features an open fireplace, where they roast lamb on a spit and prepare the specialties of Lika under the bell.
- Our guests love lamb. In our menu we offer “Lička kuća plate”, which includes spit-roasted lamb. At our place, you can always enjoy true specialties from Lika – we were told at Lička kuća.
While people in Dalmatia eat cod fish on Christmas Eve, people in Slavonia eat fish paprikash (fish stew). Culinary experts agree that the secret of a good fish paprikash lies in fresh and high-quality fish, while the pepper must be local, Slavonian. It is also important to find just the right proportion of fish, onions, tomatoes, minced peppers, salt, wine, and choose the right “power” of the fire.
Family restaurant Baranjska kuća is located in the ethno-village of Karanac, in the heart of Baranja, under the wine-growing Banovo brdo.
At the restaurant, you can taste old and almost forgotten recipes: snails in nettle sauce and fried acacia flowers, bean stew in a clay pot. – Fish paprikash is always on our menu. It takes about 45 minutes to prepare and guests can order it in advance so that the dish is waiting for them as soon as they come to the restaurant. In addition, guests can choose a mild, hot or very hot paprikash, and they can also add hotness to the dish later – we were told at Baranjska kuća.
Slavonian cured meat delicacies and Dalmatian prosciutto
Slavonian sausage called kulen is the king of the eastern part of the country, while a special place in Slavonian cuisine belongs to kulenova seka (kulen’s sister), buncek (pork knuckle), dried ribs, pork cracklings, spicy sausages, headcheese, homemade divenice (black pudding with corn flower) and bacon. And they are all unavoidable starters in restaurants. Kod Ruže restaurant in Osijek is known for local specialties, and cold cuts occupy an important place in their offer.
- We have pig cracklings, headcheese, kulen and kulenova seka. We serve all this as a part of the starters, separately, or we fill the steaks with such delicacies. Kulen, for example, goes well with homemade cheese and mushrooms – they told us.
In Dalmatia, prosciutto is the king of all cured meats. Salty taste of homemade prosciutto, properly dried by bora, can rival world-class delicacies. This premium specialty is one of the most original Croatian products. It is produced by drying a pork leg on smoke and bora. Bistro Pjat in Zadar always has it on its menu.
- It is our main starter and the guests adore it. Everything we offer is made of homemade ingredients supplied from family farms. We also have sausages from Kordun – we were told at Bistro Pjat.