The Adriatic coast is renowned for its variety of seafood dishes including freshly caught line and net fish and shellfish. The Dubrovnik area is famed for its fish from the River Neretva. Further along in Split, the best types of Adriatic fish from dory to red mullet once enjoyed by the Roman emperor Diocletian are still enjoyed today.
Owing to its geographical location, Croatian gastronomy is steeped in Mediterranean tradition. Hard sheep-milk cheese and oysters from Ston are outstanding while Istria in Croatia’s north is famed for its highly valued truffles including the white truffle – Tuber magnatum.
The Kvarner region, specifically the islands of Cres, Krk and Rab, are famed for succulent, sweet-tasting lamb. Small goods such as cured cheeses and meats are popular in Croatia. The most highly acclaimed cheese in Croatia is paski sir, a sheep’s milk cheese from the island of Pag, whilst the salami-like kulen from Slavonia in Croatia’s northeast is the king of cured sausage. Luganige, a sausage served in Split, is also good. The hard and soft cheeses of the Kvarner islands are also very popular.
Beyond seasoned meats, fresh fish and other fruits de mer, delectable olives, capers and freshly baked breads, fruit and vegetables are also big. Inland, Zagreb grows the best strawberries, small fruits such as plums and exotic mushrooms, whilst fig and almond trees persevere in the south. Istria is famed for its spring asparagus. If you have a sweet tooth, try Rozata (crème caramel) a traditional desert of Dubrovnik.
Croatian wine and beers are of a high quality. Beer drinkers should try Zagreb’s Ozujsko pivo, Karlovacko pivo or Tuborg, brewed under license in Croatia. In Dalmatia, some red wines such as Faros or Dingac are exquisite. You should also try Croatia’s favourite brandy sljivovica, made from plums, or travarica, an herbal brandy. Coffee (espresso) is also a popular beverage, if crying out for a java jolt.
Safe eating while travelling in Croatia
Travellers to Croatia will rarely have any issues with food. Street food is not a big part of culture here so visitors need not worry about food being left out in the sun for too long. Tap water is also not an issue in Croatia so ice in drinks and food that has been washed should not cause any problems. As with anywhere in the world, if a restaurant looks run-down or your food (especially meat and fish) looks under-cooked then it is best to avoid it.