Croatian Travel Guide
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Gourmet > Food > Dalmatian

In the coastal regions of Croatia the cuisine has a rather Mediterranean flavour, as you would expect, with lots of olive oil used in the preparation. However, Croatian cuisine does have its own distinct identity, especially in regards to the cooking of fish. The tradition of grilling and roasting fish and delicacies of the sea has been carried down from generation to generation, where the taste of the fish depends on the grilling technique and the type of wood chosen. There is the tantalising Dalmatian olive oil method of cooking, gradelavanje, which gives the fish a particular and fantastic taste.
An exquisite hors-d'oeuvre are sea-shells (oysters, mussels, date-shells) as well as scampi, grilled or "na buzaru" (cooked and flavoured with a lot of aromatic spices and wine). From fish meals the fish stew (several kinds of fish sauteéd in a tomato sauce with garlic and spices) is very savoury, and in the continental region the peppered fish stew with fresh-water fish is favoured. Dalmatian prosciutto is very hard and distinctly red and should be eaten in a traditional tavern with cheese and olives. Pilchards are the most frequent blue fish, eaten grilled or salted in oil. Pasta, most often eaten with tomato sauce or in soups, is seasoned with wild herbs and spices. Also highly valued are cooked lamb, lamb soup, Dubrovnik green manistra (thick vegetable soup), pasticada, or a veal sauce, with gnocchi, and beans with pasta. In the Dalmatian hinterland known as Zagora, dishes such as kastradina, or dried mutton soup with vegetables, and arambasici or japraci, minced meat rolled in vine leaves or chard, reveal that the region once bordered Ottoman Turkey. Eels and frogs in brodetto are very popular in the Neretva River valley, while people living along the Cetina River enjoy simple dishes made from frogs.
Connoisseurs of cheese must try Paski sir. Made on the island of Pag, this sharp, sheep's milk cheese is a delicacy throughout Croatia. It's often served as an appetiser, thinly sliced with olives on the side.


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