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Traditional dishes of Croatia and the island of Pag

Croatia's position on the European map gives it the opportunity to procure fresh and healthy ingredients for the preparation of top-quality dishes. Croatia is known for its diverse cuisine, starting with the meat delicacies of continental and coastal Croatia, Istrian and Dalmatian risottos and famous Adriatic seafood.
However, it is quite difficult to define the original autochthonous dish, because history tells us about the intertwining of the lives of different peoples, and that through coexistence with them, we have adopted some of their ideas, recipes and foods. Due to the influence of neighboring cultures, primarily Turkish and Hungarian, our continental cuisine has included spices such as garlic, paprika and pepper in its repertoire. Coastal cuisine mostly uses olive oil and spices such as rosemary, bay leaf, oregano and sage, and all this is mainly thanks to Greek and Roman, or Mediterranean cuisine. Also, we cannot say that Croatian cuisine is homogenous, given the geographical diversity of the country, which has influenced the different eating habits of the inhabitants of certain areas.
Traditional dishes from the island of Pag, which we will describe in more detail a little later, certainly form part of coastal cuisine.

Traditional Croatian dishes

Although small, Croatian cuisine, like the country itself, is incredibly diverse, and gastronomy is one of the key pillars of the domestic tourist offer. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit Croatia every year because of the excellent food. We will describe some of the most famous dishes from all Croatian regions.


One of the most legendary Croatian dishes is prepared in the area of Dalmatia and is an indispensable and favorite dish for all celebrations, starting from weddings, baptisms, and the biggest holidays such as Easter or Christmas. The meal requires long and meticulous preparation. The meat, usually beef thigh, is pierced and stuffed with garlic, cloves, carrots and bacon and marinated overnight in wine vinegar. It is then stewed with onions, parsley, prunes, wine and sweet prosecco for several hours. The meat is cut into thicker slices and additionally cooked in the resulting sauce until it becomes very thick. Pašticada is usually served with gnocchi or homemade pasta.

Skradin risotto

One of the most famous Croatian and Dalmatian dishes is the famous Skradin risotto. It is a dish that takes a long time to prepare, between 8 and 10 hours, and is traditionally prepared by men from Skradin, a small town near Šibenik. It is made in huge pots, with a large amount of veal, onions, stock and rice. For the preparation of Skradin risotto, quality, homemade ingredients are important, but also good will and persistence, considering that you have to spend almost ten hours at the stove! One of the key components of this dish is the soup or broth, which is prepared for up to 20 hours, which means that the preparation of this dish extends over two days.

Fuži pasta with truffles

Another dish on the list of Croatian gastronomic heritage, which Istria is proud of. Truffles are an elite type of mushroom that needs no special introduction, and fresh truffles can be found in central Istria, where they grow in large quantities in forests. The combination of the taste of truffles and homemade Istrian fuži gives every person great pleasure.

Zagorski štrukli

Zagorski štrukli is a popular traditional Croatian dish that is served in households throughout Hrvatsko Zagorje and the Zagreb region in the north of the country, and consists of dough and various types of fillings that can be boiled or baked. It is closely related to štrukli, a traditional Slovenian dish. They are most often prepared as stuffed with cheese, but they can also be filled with apples, blueberries and other sweet flavors. Štrukli are included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of Croatia.

Slavonian shepherd's stew

We cannot make a list of Croatian dishes without including at least one dish from Slavonia, that mythical Croatian region. We highlight Slavonian shepherd's stew, which is most often prepared from three types of meat. In addition to pork and beef, game meat is most often added, but lamb can also be added. It is considered a dish from the Slavonian pastures, and was prepared by shepherds as a filling and nutritious meat meal that would be slowly simmered over a fire for several hours. One of the main characteristics of this dish is its spiciness, for which, in addition to ground red pepper, dried hot peppers are added.

Cuisine of the island of Pag

We have finally reached the central part of the article, the famous cuisine of Pag. The island of Pag, located in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, abounds in superb seafood specialties like other Croatian islands. However, it is best known for the widely known Pag cheese and Pag lamb, which can be attributed to the tradition of animal husbandry on the island that stretches back centuries. In addition, it is the largest producer of salt in Croatia, so the saltworks also produce salt that is used as a seasoning for almost every dish in Croatia. We will list and describe in more detail some of Pag's autochthonous dishes.

Pag cheese

Along with Pag lace, cheese is the most famous brand of the island of Pag. It is made exclusively from the milk of the autochthonous Pag sheep. The strong wind from the Velebit mountain from time to time salt the local vegetation, and then the Pag sheep, eating salted herbs and medicinal herbs, produces milk with a specific taste and smell. Pag cheese that is older than five months has a characteristic taste and smell, a mild grainy structure that melts in the mouth. Today, Pag cheese can be bought in households that produce cheese, or in one of the island's cheese dairies that have combined tradition and technology into one. One of them is the Gligora Cheese Factory, which is located just two kilometers from Terra Park Camp Spiritos. Gligora cheese from Pag has been awarded at various world competitions and is considered one of the best.

Pag lamb

Although surrounded by the sea, the island of Pag is most proud of its lamb, a meat specialty. Throughout Croatia, everyone is proud of their way of preparing this favorite dish and the quality of the meat, but anyone who has tried lamb from the island of Pag knows that it is very special. The taste of Pag lamb is really specific and delicious, and the reason for this is the aromatic herbs on which there are drops of sea salt, which are eventually grazed by Pag sheep. A traditional island specialty is grilled lamb with polenta or potatoes. However, a special method of preparation is under the bell. Although it takes the longest, waiting for food is well worth it in that case.

Seafood of the island Pag

Although lamb is the most common dish on the island of Pag, seafood and fish dishes are equally delicious. Fish is prepared in all kinds of ways on the island – boiled, under the oven, fried, grilled, marinated, and further on we will find out some of the traditional fish dishes that you should try during your vacation in Pag:

- salted sardines and anchovies
- saur of manula, locardi, arbuna, sardine, tuna (marinated fish)
- fish soup
- Brudet from Novalja
- octopus with potatoes under the bell
- various risotto with seafood

You can try all these dishes, groceries and delicacies in numerous island restaurants, cheese shops and households. With a drop of good Gegić, a local wine, the dish will slide down your throat even better, and the pleasure of your stay. on the island will be complete.
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