Why is Croatia’s Gastronomy So Impressive
One of the essential elements of every memorable incentive event is, of course, the food. Not just what is on the plate, but the experience around it. Authentic setting, fresh local ingredients, the story and the passion behind the food marks gastronomy in Croatia as impressive.
Few cultures put as much importance on their food as Croatians do. Especially cherished are the traditional hand-crafted specialties that few people have time to produce themselves. One of the ways Croatians show their appreciation to a special guest is by bringing out hard to find local specialty items. Here are some especially prized and very local gastronomy finds:
Fresh Oysters from the Bay of Mali Ston
Mali Ston, a deep scenic bay just north of Dubrovnik, draws thousands each month. They all come for the same thing, to taste an Ostrea edulis right out of the sea. This delicious little pleasure takes 3 years to mature.
It is handled by a skilled worker at least 5-8 times during growing process.
It needs an exact water temperature in a quiet sheltered place where fresh and sea water mix. And, it is only as flavourful as its growing conditions are rich with plankton. In the bay of Mali Ston, this indigenous strain of oysters found its perfect conditions.
Considered some of the best in the world by many aficionados, Ostrea edulis is worth the drive. It may just be the top “to-do” of Croatia’s gastronomy.
White Truffles from the Istrian Forests
Yes, you can buy a jar of truffle preserves in every gourmet shop everywhere. And you either love that strong pungent smell or you don’t. But to truly know if you like truffles, you have to go hunt for them yourself.
Dug out of the dirt in the deep forests of northern Mediterranean, they are something else. Grate them fresh onto your food. You can do pasta or steak, sure, but how about a sea bass truffle carpaccio? Take your group on a delightful morning hike in the forest with your “hunting dog.” Then taste your “catch” right at the farm, combined into a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomy venture.
Peka Roast with Fresh Local Lamb
Centuries before the advent of convection ovens, Croatia had the art of the most succulent roast down. Houses of the Dinaric region villages still have the same ancient firepit kitchens. Stone houses with wooden roof structures where the meat hung to smoke over the firepit.
Cast-iron pots hung over the centre to boil soups, or white linens. Firepit was the centre of the household, kitchen, living room and the dining area all in one.
On feast days, specially raised meat was roasted there, in the hot coals under an iron dome, called peka. The meat and potatoes that emerged after a few hours of roasting were moist and flavourful like no other.
Today, partly from nostalgia, but mostly for the amazing flavours, peka is still the favourite feast main. Along with the bread baked the same way. Drive out to the oak forests of the Dubrovnik or Split hinterlands for the best setting to enjoy this unique gastronomic time capsule.