As Croatia (Balkan Peninsula) was for centuries an intersection point of different cultures in gastronomy you can still feel the influence of that culinary heritage that comes from all over the world.
In contrast to light Mediterranean cuisine in the south of Croatia, which has been most influenced by the Italian cuisine, traditional cuisine of continental Croatia was influenced by the Hungarian and central European cuisine from the west, as well as Turkish and Arabian cuisine from the east.
Continental Croatian cuisine
Unlike the coastal and Dalmatian cuisine, in the continental Croatia are more noticeable influences of seasons and more complex preparation.
Even today meat dominates the plates in the shape of roasts, steaks and meat products, which are made according to old, unchanged recipes.
Lighter part of the meal consisting of fresh salads which are made of white or red cabbage, mixed tomatoes, peppers and onions and different kinds of lettuce (iceberg, butter lettuce, radicchio), all seasoned with salt, vinegar and oil. The peculiarity of the bean salad or potato is the pumpkin seed oil. Winter food is made from vegetables and fruit, most often those of cucumbers, cabbage, peppers stuffed with cabbage, mixed vegetables, beetroot, ajvar, marmalades and jams (plums, apricots, peaches, strawberries).
The tradition of making cakes is very long. Walnut rolls, poppy seed rolls, strudel with fruit fillings, donuts and gingerbread are just some of the suggestions for a nice end to your meal.
Coastal and island Croatian cuisine
Cuisine of Croatian coast and islands is typical Mediterranean, and is based on natural sea and coastal sources – fish and seafood, grapes and wine, olives and olive oil, sheep and goats, figs, wild herbs and aromatic spices.
Fish (bream, sea bass, grouper, mackerel) are prepared in every way imaginable: boiled, soup, stew, risotto, baked in the oven, marinated and salted…
Not much spices are put into these dishes. This applies not only to olive oil and fresh or dried herbs and wild herbs that grow plentifully along the coast. Laurel is a must with fish, like rosemary, basil, sage, while parsley and garlic. Green and black olives, pickled shallots and capers can be a part of every meal.
People say that fish has to swim three times: in the sea, in oil and in wine. Therefore glass of wine with every meal is recommended.