Regional differences in Croatian cuisine are quite evident and in the north of Croatia Austro-Hungarian culinary influences are strongest. One finds meats cooked in bread crumbs, goulashes served with stuffed cabbage, and a dish called sarma, a winter delight of a rare excellence. In the region around Zagreb, strukli, thin sheets of cheese cooked in water is a speciality. In Slavonia, the speciality is kobasice, or pork sausages. Along with the many types of delicious sausages on offer, there is the famous kulen, a special kind of salami.
The cuisine of Zagreb has developed from the heritage of several regional continental styles of cooking and is linked with central European cuisine, particularly Viennese and Hungarian. It is characterized by seasonal vegetable soups (beans, beans and cabbage, turnip with cabbage, barley groats), goulash and paprikash (beef stew with wine or beef, game–style) with pasta, roast and cooked meat (particularly beef with tomato or horse–radish sauce), freshwater or saltwater fish, excellent bread and rolls. Zagreb has a long tradition of coffee houses. Highly praised is the Zagorje turkey with mlinci, or browned dough. Specialities with beans and potato are common.
From meat specialties we point out the following: the steak à la Zagreb (veal stuffed with ham and cheese, then fried in breadcrumbs), the cutlet à la Zagorje (with sausages, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes), cufte (the veal Easter egg in piquant tomato sauce with mushrooms).
The Slavonia and Baranja cuisines are very similar, with a lot of seasonings (sweet and hot red pepper and garlic) being used, particularly in the northern and eastern parts. Their specialities include simple dishes with an abundance of ingredients–goulash, meat stew and fish paprikash (freshwater fish from the rivers Danube, Drava, Sava and Mura), and cold cuts–smoked ham, cured bacon, sausages and kulen (a paprika–flavoured sausage), served with cottage or dried cheese, onions and pickled vegetables.
Scarce in both the amount of food and means of preparation, yet very healthy, are the cuisines of Lika and Gorski Kotar, which represent a transition between continental and Mediterranean cuisine. Local specialities are lamb (cooked or roasted on the spit), potato halves, sauerkraut and various types of cow ’s milk, sheep ’s milk and mixed cheeses, particularly in Lika (basa and škripavac ). The mountain rivers provide good fish (trout from the Gacka River) and the forests abound in game (Gorski Kotar dormouse). Lika slivovitz or plum brandy is also typical.