Traditional cuisine of the continental part of Croatia is yet another proof of the unique relation between geography and gastronomy. Cold climate of north Croatia with its long and snowy winters is one of the reason this cuisine is characterized by ''heavier'' fat-filled dishes based on meat, hot spices and pickled vegetables. Historically, it developed under the influences of Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish gastronomy and from them it inherited, among other things, the tradition of preparing various types of goulash and stew, as well as the imperative of letting the ingredients cook slowly in their own juices. We present you with 5 dishes typical for continental Croatia:
Štrukle is maybe the most popular delicacy of northwest Croatia. Its main ingredient is a special, thin rolled pastry – the preparation of which is a skill of its own. Once made, the pastry can be filled with different ingredients: cheese, poppy seeds, apples, pumpkin or turnip. Depending on the stuffing it can be prepared both as a sweet and salty dish. Most popular variation of štrukle is the one filled with cottage cheese and baked in sour cream.
Paprikaš is a dish which follows two basic rules: it is heavily spiced with sweet or hot red paprika (hence the name), and all the ingredients are left to cook slowly in their own juices. Generally speaking, paprikaš includes some combination of meat and vegetables, but Slavonia and Baranja regions are specially famous for their fiš-paprikaš which is actually made with freshwater fish.
Purica s mlincima is a dish primarily associated with Zagorje region. Its name actually denotes roasted turkey served with a special kind of hand-made dumplings called mlinci. Their preparation is quite simple: a thin, yeast free pastry is rolled out, baked and broken up into smaller pieces which are then poured over with the juices and fat collected while the turkey was roasted.
- Kulen is a type of pork sausage traditionally produced in Slavonia and Baranja regions. It is considered special not just for its taste but method of preparation as well. Namely, the process of creating kulen – preparing the meat, chopping it, spicing up with paprika, smoking and air-drying – is considered to be a vital part of the local tradition. Due to all this kulen is protected as part of the Croatian cultural heritage..
- Kotlovina is the name of a dish special for its preparation which includes pork chops and sausages grilled in vine and their own juices in a big metal dish called kotlić – hence the name. However, kotlovina is not distinctive just for its taste but the fact that it's traditionally prepared outdoors – usually as part of a fair – and the locals experience it as a type of collective culinary event.