While sailing the crystal waters off the coast of Croatia, you will discover that the cuisine is astonishingly diverse. This is because Croatia has a rich heritage which draws culinary influences from a variety of cultures.
Your sailing holiday in Croatia will take you along the Dalmatian coast, so many of the dishes you try will fall under the umbrella of Dalmatian cuisine, typically characterized by pasta, rice, and fresh seafood. But you will also find some unexpected influences sprinkled in from Dalmatia’s time as an Austrian province in the 19th century. This means you will encounter crepes and strudels alongside more traditionally Mediterranean fare.
What should you try while you are on your sailing trip? Here are some popular dishes.
1. Crni rizot
Crni rizot translates to “black risotto.” It is so popular throughout Croatia as to be nearly ubiquitous. This dish with its characteristic coloring derives its black hue from squid ink, which is preserved through the cooking process. Along with squid, this rice dish includes clams, mussels, and assorted shellfish. It is hard to find a dish which typifies Croatian cuisine more than crni rizot, so this is a must-try!
2. Skampi na buzaru
This is a simple, elegant, and delicious way to enjoy fresh-caught crustaceans from the Dalmatian coast. Skampi na buzaru is simply shrimp scampi prepared in white wine sauce with parsley, breadcrumbs, garlic, and sometimes tomato paste. You will discover that Adriatic shrimp have a slightly sweet flavor. Sometimes they are served alongside salty pamplina fish for contrast.
This traditional Dalmatian meal is slow-baked over hot embers, and consists of a combination of vegetables and meat or in some places octopus (you can often choose any meat you want) with olive oil and herbs. It is often served as a special meal for guests in Croatian homes. At restaurants it is popular as well, but it takes some time to prepare, so it is best to call ahead to order it.
This savory pie with Swiss chard filling is such an important part of the cultural heritage of Dalmatia that there is even an annual Soparnik festival in Dugi Rat. The recipe is very simple, including only a few ingredients: two layers of dough, chard, parsley, and onions. You may also find sweet variations which include caramel, nuts, or dried fruits.
This cake is instantly recognizable from its swirl of dark and light colors. Made with poppy seeds, it is a definitive Croatian dessert. Sometimes it is served with walnuts inside, and may also be on the menu simply as “walnut strudel.”
Probably the most well-known sweet in Croatia, fritule are small doughnuts made out of flour and raisins and rolled in powdered sugar. Citrus zest and rum are used to flavor them, and then they are deep fried. If you visit over Christmas time, you will discover that these are a holiday tradition.
So now you know some of the most popular and iconic dishes to order while you are traveling along the Dalmatian coastline of Croatia, both in the sweet and savory categories. Be sure to ask your charter captain for restaurant recommendations on your cruise!
We recommend you take our advice and try our