Every region or even each town or village, has its own specialities and Croats are justly proud of the diversity and variety of their cuisine, particularly Split local specialities.
The Gecko has highlighted a few things to try when you are in Croatia – just a few, there’s lots more to have a go ….
Oysters from Ston
As you would expect, seafood plays a prominent part in Croatian gastronomy. The town of Ston competes for the reputation of having the best oysters on the coast and normally wins!!! Just a short trip from Split through some incredible countryside we’ll take you to Ston so you can eat them right out the sea to your heart’s content – not to be missed ..
Gecko- Ston and Mali Ston tour
Pag Cheese (Paski Sir)
This unique cheese has a growing international reputation among international gourmets and restauranteurs. Produced from the milk of the island’s tiny sheep, it’s infused with the natural tastes of the sea-salt and herbs which cover the grass on which they pasture. It can be purchased in most delicatessens in Split and the better restaurants. Perfect with a glass of Posip – see below.
Autumn in Istria is ‘truffle season’, not strictly Dalmatia but hey … particularly in the forests around the medieval hill-top town of Motovun, as truffle local experts scour the area for this highly-prized delicacy. There are white and black varieties, both of which are excellent served grated on top of pasta or in an omelette. The white truffle, slightly more expensive, is the stronger in taste of the two varieties. Drive through Istria and you’ll see roadside stall after stall offering them at very decent prices.
Octopus Salad with ‘Blitva’ salad
This is a popular choice throughout Dalmatia, ideally served with the local Swiss chard and potato salad known as Blitva. If you’d like to make it home- fresh octopus is widely available at Split fish market and Blitva can be bought at Split Green market.
Originally a Bosnian/Turkish speciality, these ubiquitous savoury pastries are found in all Croatian bakeries. Great as a snack or eaten with Greek yoghurt, you can find cheese, spinach or meat-filled versions. Probably not for those on diets, the Gecko has a particular affinity to the meat burek for breakfast and whilst Split has some great burek vendors, the place to enjoy this most is in Bosnia – unbeatable …
Cevapci / Cevapcici
These spicy rolls of grilled minced meat are popular throughout the Balkans, and are generally served with onions, salad, chips and a generous helping of the pepper relish, called Ajvar all wrapped in a pitta bread. Again, Bosnia takes the prize for these in our humble opinion but some Split vendors run close.
The best wine-producing regions of Croatia are (arguably) Istria, Korcula island and the Peljesac peninsula. Hvar has some great estates too. Some popular white wines include the Istrian Malvazija and Posip from Korcula. Of the many red wines, the Peljesac-produced Dingac has a great reputation, and you should also try Plavac from the same region. Other names to look out for are Marastina (white, from Hvar island), Vugava (white, from Vis island) which has been known to wine lovers since the time of the Ancient Greeks, and Teran (red, from Istria). The Gecko tour to Stan/ Mali Ston takes you to Stina winery where you wander the estate, sample the local wines and learn how it’s made…
Read our brief outline of Croatian wine blog Croatian wines – an outline