Many popular dishes are inspired by the tastes and traditions of the different nations that have ruled Croatia throughout history. The classic cuisines of Italy, Austria, Hungary and Turkey have all influenced what has now become authentic Croatian cooking. Many dishes are also specific to certain regions.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu in Istrian restaurants is manestra – a bean soup. The soup is slow cooked for hours, and includes a pesto made from pancetta, garlic, and parsley, and pieces of cured meat. There are many variations, including manestra od bobići (bean soup with corn), and jota (bean soup with sauerkraut).
Baking meat, seafood and vegetables under a bell-like lid that is covered in embers is a popular cooking method used in Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia and Montenegro. When making Hobotnica ispod peke the seasoned ingredients are placed in the lidded dish, before placing in the fireplace. It is covered with embers and cooked for hours. Honey, cognac and Mediterranean herbs can all be added half way through the cooking process. Read our recipe for traditional Croatian peka here.
Istarski fuzi is a homemade pasta dish that is typically Istrian. The hand-rolled pasta is cut into diamond shapes and rolled with a chopstick so opposite corners touch and form a hollow tube. Fuzi pasta is usually served with different types of stews; mushroom, truffle, chicken, or beef stew are the most popular options.