Croatian cuisine reflects the influence of various cultures, yet it has distinctive, regional qualities. Along the Dalmatian coast, cuisine tends to be Mediterranean. The largest meal of the day, eaten either at noon or in the evening, often begins with an appetizer of prsuto, a Dalmatian double-smoked ham. The main course is usually a seafood dish, such as fish grilled with olive oil and herbs; pasta topped with seafood; or brodet, a fish stew. Pizza and spaghetti are also popular. Rice dishes such as risotto commonly accompany main courses. Typically, meals are served with a full-bodied wine.

Northern and eastern Croatian fare tends to be heartier, showing the influences of Hungary, Austria and Turkey. Meals consist mainly of meat and potatoes, and are accompanied by light wine. Dinners often begin with soup or pickled cabbage rolls. A second course may be gulas (or goulash), a vegetable and meat stew that is a staple in Hungary. The main meat dish, which may be pork, lamb or duck, is often roasted on a spit in the traditional manner. Another favourite dish is veal steaks stuffed with ham and cheese and grilled with breadcrumbs. Regional specialties include visovacka begavica, lamb cooked in sheep's milk; mlinci, a flat, sour dumpling served with turkey; and wild truffles with pasta. Because of the prevalence of forests and the common practice of hunting, Croatians also enjoy cooking fresh game.

Snack foods readily available everywhere include Turkish-style dishes such as kebab and burek, a pastry stuffed with cheese or meat. Croatians usually drink wine with their main meal, but the country also produces many popular varieties of brandy and beer; strong coffee and herbal teas are common non-alcoholic drinks. For dessert, Croatian pastries are light, and include sweet bread with walnuts or poppy seeds, known as orehnjaca and makovnjaca. Palacinke are crepes with jam and chocolate.


300 g flour
salt to taste
tepid water
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
250 g cottage cheese
180 ml sour cream
30 g butter
40g bread crumbs


Combine flour, salt, and a little tepid water to make a dough. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the yolks, cottage cheese and sour cream. Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, about three or four millimetres thick. Spread the cheese mixture over the dough evenly, then roll the dough into a roll five to seven centimetres wide. Press the ends to seal. Divide the roll into smaller pieces, each 8-10 centimetres long, sealing the ends of each piece. Cook the strukli in a pot of boiling, salted water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, stirring for a few minutes or until browned. Garnish the strukli with the bread crumbs and serve hot.

  Did you know?
The island of Pag produces paski-sir, a hard, distinctively flavoured sheep's milk cheese. The unique flavour comes from the method of rubbing the cheese with olive oil and ash before leaving it to mature; in addition, the sheep eat a diet that includes many wild herbs such as sage.