What do they eat in Croatia? Croatian cuisine revealed

What do they eat in Croatia? Croatian cuisine revealed

Are you curious about the flavors and dishes that define Croatian cuisine? Look no further! In this article, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through Croatia, exploring the diverse and delicious foods that make up the country’s culinary traditions. From the coastal regions influenced by the Mediterranean, to the hearty dishes of the continental areas, Croatia offers a rich tapestry of flavors that will surely tantalize your taste buds. Join us as we dive into the world of Croatian cuisine and uncover the secrets behind their most beloved dishes.

Traditional Croatian Dishes


Peka is a traditional Croatian dish that is loved by locals and visitors alike. This slow-cooked delicacy is prepared by placing a mixture of meat and vegetables in a metal or ceramic dish, which is then covered with a metal bell-shaped lid. The dish is then placed in a fireplace or buried in hot coals, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a truly unique taste. The meat used in peka can vary, but it is most commonly made with lamb, veal, or chicken. The vegetables typically include potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The slow cooking process ensures that the meat becomes tender and juicy, while the vegetables absorb all the delicious flavors. Peka is often enjoyed during special occasions and family gatherings, as it requires time and patience to prepare.


Ćevapi is a popular street food in Croatia that is a must-try for meat lovers. These small, finger-sized sausages are made from a mixture of ground beef, lamb, and pork, seasoned with various herbs and spices such as garlic, paprika, and salt. The mixture is shaped into small cylindrical portions and then grilled to perfection. Ćevapi are usually served in a warm, fluffy flatbread called somun, along with diced onions and a side of kajmak, a creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is simply mouthwatering. You can find Ćevapi in almost every Croatian city, from street food stalls to local restaurants. It is a quick and delicious option for a satisfying meal on the go.


Sarma is a beloved Croatian dish that is often enjoyed during the winter months. It is a type of cabbage roll that is filled with a mixture of ground meat, typically a combination of pork and beef, mixed with rice, onions, and various herbs and spices. The cabbage leaves are carefully wrapped around the filling, creating small, compact rolls. These rolls are then simmered in a flavorful tomato-based sauce until the cabbage becomes tender and the flavors meld together. Sarma is usually served hot and is often accompanied by a dollop of sour cream. It is a comforting dish that warms both the body and the soul during cold winter days. Sarma is often prepared in large quantities and shared with family and friends, making it a true symbol of Croatian hospitality.

Seafood Delicacies

Croatia, with its stunning Adriatic coastline, offers a rich variety of seafood delicacies that are a true delight for food enthusiasts. The country’s cuisine is deeply influenced by the Mediterranean flavors, resulting in a harmonious fusion of ingredients and techniques. Here are some must-try seafood dishes that will take your taste buds on a culinary adventure:

Black Risotto

One of the most iconic dishes in Croatian cuisine is the tantalizing Black Risotto, also known as Crni Rižot. This unique delicacy is a rice-based dish that owes its striking black color to the ink of cuttlefish or squid. The rich flavors of the seafood blend perfectly with the rice, creating a savory and aromatic experience. The dish is often prepared with a touch of olive oil, garlic, onions, and white wine, which further enhance its taste. Black Risotto is a true representation of the coastal gastronomy and is considered a delicacy that should not be missed when visiting Croatia.

Dalmatian Brodet

Hailing from the Dalmatia region, Dalmatian Brodet is a seafood stew that showcases the abundance of the Adriatic Sea. This flavorsome dish is traditionally prepared with a selection of different fish, such as grouper, monkfish, mullet, or scorpionfish. The fish is simmered in a rich tomato-based broth, infused with aromatic herbs, garlic, and white wine. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a hearty and satisfying seafood stew. Dalmatian Brodet is often accompanied by a side of polenta or crusty bread, making it a wholesome and fulfilling meal.

Octopus Salad

For a refreshing and light seafood option, the Octopus Salad is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. This vibrant dish combines tender octopus, boiled until perfectly cooked, with a medley of fresh vegetables. The salad typically includes tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and bell peppers, all dressed with a zesty blend of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. The combination of flavors and textures creates a harmonious balance, making Octopus Salad a delightful appetizer or a refreshing main course during hot summer days.

In conclusion, the seafood delicacies of Croatia offer a tantalizing glimpse into the country’s rich culinary heritage. Whether you indulge in the unique flavors of Black Risotto, savor the hearty Dalmatian Brodet, or enjoy the refreshing Octopus Salad, you will undoubtedly be enchanted by the diverse and delicious seafood dishes that Croatia has to offer.

Cheeses and Dairy Products

Paški Sir

One of the most famous cheeses in Croatia is Paški Sir. It is a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk and originates from the island of Pag. The unique taste of this cheese comes from the specific conditions on the island, where sheep graze on aromatic herbs and salt is carried by the strong Bura wind. This gives Paški Sir a distinct flavor that is loved by locals and visitors alike. It is often enjoyed with a glass of local wine or as a part of traditional Croatian dishes.


Another popular cheese in Croatian cuisine is Škripavac. This cheese is a soft, fresh cheese with a slightly elastic texture. It is made from cow’s milk and has a mild, creamy taste. Škripavac gets its name from the Croatian word "škripati," which means to squeak. When you take a bite of this cheese, it squeaks against your teeth, which adds to the overall experience. Škripavac is commonly used as a spread on bread or as an ingredient in various dishes, such as salads or pasta.

Mladi Sir

Mladi Sir, also known as young cheese, is a fresh cheese that is very popular in Croatia. It is made from cow’s milk and has a mild, creamy flavor. Mladi Sir is usually enjoyed in its simplest form, either sliced or crumbled over salads and dishes. It is also often used as a filling in pastries or as a topping on traditional Croatian desserts. Due to its fresh and delicate taste, Mladi Sir is a versatile cheese that can complement a wide range of dishes in Croatian cuisine.

Croatian cuisine offers a rich variety of cheeses and dairy products that are cherished by locals and celebrated by food enthusiasts worldwide. From the distinct flavors of Paški Sir to the squeaky texture of Škripavac and the mild creaminess of Mladi Sir, these cheeses are an essential part of Croatian gastronomy. Whether enjoyed on their own, paired with local wines, or incorporated into traditional dishes, Croatian cheeses and dairy products showcase the country’s culinary heritage and unique flavors.


In conclusion, Croatian cuisine is a delightful blend of Mediterranean and Eastern European flavors, offering a wide variety of dishes that are sure to satisfy any palate. From the succulent seafood delicacies of the Adriatic coast to the hearty meats and stews of the continental regions, Croatia truly has something for everyone. The rich cultural history and influences from neighboring countries have shaped the unique culinary traditions found in this beautiful country. Whether you’re a fan of seafood, meat, or vegetarian dishes, a visit to Croatia will undoubtedly be a treat for your taste buds. So, if you ever find yourself wondering what to eat in Croatia, be prepared to embark on a gastronomic adventure like no other.

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