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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Croatian Food Porn Review - A Non-Croatian Viewpoint






This one was already written out for me, and so there's not much for me to add. An unbiased and interesting Croatian food review from a Non-Croatian background person who spent some time there recently. One of those who never even knew where Croatia was actually, I came across plenty of people over the years who thought likewise I'll tell you. (This is not a restaurant review, just basically snapshots and personal thoughts, during one of those dreadful and typically dry and boring summer European tours by the looks of it, they probably all came back with a disease and couldn't wait to leave I'll bet, and then throw some Pizza-Pops in the microwave while filling up the plastic pool)

These are some more typical modern type offerings with the Croatian twist, and nothing really too fancy or complicated, sort of like Croatian food-lite. actually. I will add though, that Croatia isn't a big country, but it is especially known for it's regional gastronomy, as well as topography. So coastal areas will obviously eat more fish, shrimp, (škampi na buzaru and brudet is very popular, you can be arrested in the summer for not ordering it at least once in a restaurant, be warned) crab, mussels, oysters and just basically various seafood, also more olives, rice and pasta, and different locally produced cheeses. (because there's not many lobsters, oysters or shrimp in the rivers in more northern and eastern parts, referred to as continental Croatia)

There instead you will eat more stews, cušpajz, various roasted meats (pečenka), gulaš, sausages, (lots of different kinds of sausages to choose from) hams, different kinds of cold cuts type meats, various smoked meats, definitely more cabbage and potatoes, pasta and rice and various other cheeses etc, but fish also just different kinds of river fish. Each region is also known for their local baked and pastry creations. Croatians have a long, at least a 1500 year history of maritime cuisine since first arriving to ancient Dalmatia, so naturally some of the dishes will be similar to Italian dishes, catching the same fish and seafood from the same Adriatic sea, same locally grown ingredients. Also, because we were a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for centuries, there were gastronomical influences there as well, back and forth also. Hungarian salamis, Croatian salamis, Italian salamis etc. Plenty of paprika, pork, lamb and beef used in the northern Slavonia region dishes. Probably not many people know that we've been eating shrimp and oysters for that long a time. It was actually a Croatian sailor and cook that invented surf and turf/steak and lobster, and even a garlic and herbed butter dipping sauce in the year 835. (Not really, I just made that up, but the chances are that we probably did)

The only other thing I can add regarding the blog post, is that there are places to get hamburgers in Croatia, actual buns and patties, there's even the well known McDonald's and Burger King among others. However, some places prefer to serve their own versions, each locality likes to personalize food in their presentation. Also, the pizzas in Split, I tried a few different places there near the Riva promenade and Marmontova street, the pizza slices are good and pretty cheap, and filling, but just a bit different than what you find at your local pizza slice shop around here, just like the McDonalds, different but in a good way. (A lot of people probably don't know that pizza was actually poor peoples food originally, yep it's true. At first basically just some flattened dough with olive oil and then any leftover scraps of stuff laying around so it doesn't go to waste, and then just simply thrown in the stone oven. Just so as to use up all the remaining scraps of meats or vegetables laying around. Isn't that ironic? Now you can pay hefty prices for a decent pizza) If you have some Croatian recipes or sites or food related information you want to have added here, or curious about Croatian foods, leave a comment or email me. Some of my previous Croatian food posts below have much more information.



Related previous posts: croatian-seafood-recipe-brudet

croatian-stuffed-peppers-punjene-paprike

recipe-for-croatian-cevapi-and-cheese-strukle

cooking-croatian-style-ana-ugarkovic

croatian-cooking-class-in-seattle

kremsnita-and-krafne

croatia-hailed-as-major-force-in-wine

eat-serbian-food-dum-dum

dubrovnik-restarurant-malaysia

anthony-bourdain-in-croatia

masterchef-croatia






WIAW: The Croatia Food Porn Edition




Source: sarashoup.com


Before visiting Croatia, I was one of those people who couldn’t even point the country out on a map. I knew it was near where that movie Hostel took place, but that’s about it. And I don’t know about you, but that wasn’t really a huge selling point for me.

The most common question I get asked when I tell people about my trip to Europe is “How did you pick Croatia!?" Well, I was fortunate enough to hit a lot of the major Europe “hot spots” on my trip back in 2011, so I knew I wanted to visit somewhere new. I had previously traveled with Contiki and loved it – so I decided to start there to begin looking for my next big adventure. After looking on their website, the Croatian Island price tempted me, the reviews convinced me, and after looking at the photos – I was sold.

When I arrived, the last thing I expected was for the Croatian Islands to be filled with Italian influences. I was pleasantly surprised and in awe of my breath taking surroundings. The winding alleys of Korcula brought me back to the streets of Venice, there were wine tastings on every island and don’t even get me started on the food. The food in Croatia was hands down better than anything I ate during my entire trip to Italy.

While island hopping, I ate more Italian (or should I say, Croatian?) food than I have in a long time. I was expecting to come back home 10 pounds heavier, but shockingly I lost weight when I was abroad. I guess the “eat tons of carbs and drink all night” diet really works.

Being Wednesday, I thought I’d share all of my delicious eats from my trip to Croatia. Thanks again to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting this each and every week!



Let’s get started!





Cheese pizza with sliced bacon and ham – hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Or maybe that was the hangover munchies talking, but whatever it’s erroneous.




Three cheese pizza with a butter based crust – my first meal in Split!




Spaghetti with bolognese sauce and grilled vegetables – I spent the afternoon lunching alone after an amazing day walking the city walls in Dubrovnik. It was peaceful and perfect (not to mention absolutely delicious).




Four cheese gnocchi – so thick and cheesy, I could only finish half!




Bread with homemade olive oil – a little snack after a savory wine tasting in Trstenik.




Grilled chicken topped with bacon and papas frittes accompanied with a glass of white wine – A dinner spent with new friends overlooking the Dubrovnik city walls.




Olives, cheese, and prosciutto as appetizers to our wine tasting in Hvar.




Prosciutto, olives, tuna salad, and smoked gouda cheese mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions – Our final dinner in Makarska and one of the best appetizers I’ve ever tasted.




Now, don’t let this fool you. I had a ton of great food in Croatia, but I also ate some of the worst food I’ve ever had. For example, when you order a “hamburger with cheese” from a menu, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?





You mean you weren’t thinking of a questionable burger patty filled with even more questionable cheese topped with a questionable cocktail sauce? Oh – just me I guess. It was definitely one of the more interesting meals we had and you can’t tell from the photo, but the burger patty was actually the size of my head. The waitress looked shocked when we asked for slices of bread to make a burger – apparently that’s a no no.

All in all, the food throughout the trip was delicious. I wish I could go back and keep restaurant hopping while I island hop, but I guess Olive Garden will have to do to fill my Italian food fix





I decided to throw in another Davidsbeenhere video as well, since the photos above are from the coastal parts of Croatia, and more like Croatian food-lite. This guy has traveled to many parts of Croatia for his program and made plenty of interesting videos you can see at www.youtube.com/davidsbeenhere. (He also gets mistaken for Randy "Macho Man" Savage alot for some reason) Below is another example from the city of Split that you don't have to spend lots of money at fancy restaurants for good tasting and freshly made dishes. (I've personally never tried the rice with squid ink, I'll have to give it a try next I'm there) A lot of those tucked away and hardly heard of places actually have the best prices and many times larger portions also.






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