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When visiting new places, we usually remember them by people we met, the architecture we saw or fun we had. Each one of us will remember something different and even take a photo or record a video from a different angle. However, one thing is certain, we all remember the food we ate and the drinks we had. And if you are visiting the coastal part of Croatia, then a table with freshly prepared fish and amazing sea views is guaranteed. So, let me present you a unique gastronomic guide to coastal Croatia.
We are starting from Istria, the northernmost coastal county in Croatia. Istria is known for its mix of cultures and various influences. This can be seen in architecture, language, and food. Istria is a paradise on earth with its beautiful views, coastal towns, biking tours, and the best wine. Actually, the wine is especially important for Istrian culture. Malvazija is the white wine I would like to recommend to everyone who visits Istria, and especially in the typical Istrian town of Buje/Buie, where I tried the best Malvazija wine. And with white wine, it is recommended to order some seafood pasta. Fuži is the name for pasta in Istria. And the addition of truffles is obligatory here since Istria is also known for its black and white truffles. The proximity of Italy, and the strong influence of Italian culture made pasta an important part of the local cuisine. For breakfast, you definitely need to try fritaja - the Istrian type of omelet, which is usually made with vegetables and meat (ham). Sounds good enough, right? Let's go further towards the south.
We are now in Dalmatia. Zadar is a place where we will eat sardines, freshly caught in the Adriatic Sea and many restaurants nearby the Roman Forum will offer always sardines at any time of the day. Dalmatia is a region that is adorned by many national parks (the majority of the coastal national parks are located in Dalmatia). Many islands, bays, and gorgeous beaches will welcome you with stunning sunsets - only drinks and food are missing. So, let's talk about that. Dalmatian wine is mandatory with any type of food here, but Zadar is a place that can not be visited without tasting the Maraschino liqueur, which is exclusively made of Marasca cherries, growing only in the region of Zadar.
In addition to the abundance of seafood and vegetable dishes, an essential ingredient of many plates is cheese from the party island of Pag or the famous Pag cheese (paški sir). The tradition of making cheese is old for centuries, and its quality is confirmed by its use in many restaurants in the world. This sheep cheese belongs to the world's most famous and premium sheep milk cheeses. My recommendation is to try pancakes stuffed with Pag cheese mixed with honey. Delicious!
We are still in Dalmatia, just a little bit south of Zadar. Split is our next destination, where we will try various meals of central Dalmatia. Split is one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia and the place where you will try pašticada. This famous meal is served in all restaurants and houses in Split. Pašticada is a dish whose preparation lasts up to two days. Beef is kept in the marinade for a long time and then fried before eating. Marinade for pašticada is made of olive oil and various types of herbs that grow in Split and neighboring islands (Brač, Hvar, Šolta). Pašticada is great for dinner or lunch with some good red wine. For a smaller meal or snack, I would recommend marinated anchovies - fresh and salty little fish, marinated in olive oil with the addition of lemon juice. And while the anchovies are in the marinade, you have time to visit Diocletian's Palace and other important sights of Split.
As everything on the Croatian coast starts and ends in Dubrovnik, I will recommend you something sweet for the end while walking down the Stradun street. Dubrovnik has been well-known recently as the place of the Game of Thrones series filming, although its city walls and towers carry different history and beauty. This gastronomic guide to coastal Croatia ends with a sweet called rožata. This simple dessert is made of only four ingredients - eggs, milk, sugar, and Rosalin syrup. Perfect for hot summer days, Rožata will stay longer in your mind if eaten during the Dalmatian sunset. But, if you are not a big fan of seafood and coastal towns, then a gastronomic guide to continental Croatia is ready. Bon Appétit!
Cover Photo © credits: iStock/Nadezhda1906
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