Croatian cuisine is a blend of ingredients, tradition, and cultures. Cuisine along the Dalmatian Coast is primarily Mediterranean-style with Italian influences, and further inland, dishes are influenced by Hungarian and Austrian styles of cooking due to the nobility that used to occupy the many castles around the country.
Coastline cuisine is marked by the tradition of families cooking meals together in a bell-shaped oven called a peka, which proponents say steams and adds to the flavor of meats like turkey, pork, or lamb. Seafood is, of course, popular, especially dishes like brodet, a fish stew that usually includes eel and is served with rice or polenta. A typical Croatian Christmas dish near the coast is bakalar s krumpirom, or dried cod with potatoes. A non-seafood alternative popular in Dalmatia is pašticada, or beef seasoned with bacon with an herb-and-vegetable sauce that’s often served alongside gnocchi.
Central Croatian cuisine includes dishes like mlinci, or baked noodles usually paired with turkey or duck, and sarma, or cabbage leaves filled with ground meat. Grits with sour cream, cheese, bacon, or yogurt make up a widespread breakfast dish called žganci.
Desserts in Croatia are also worth putting on the not-to-miss list — particularly fritule, or fried pastry balls made with brandy and raisins and topped with powdered sugar. Palačinke, or Croatian crepes with varying sweet filings, are also worthy of note. Many restaurant dessert menus also include knedle sa sljivama, or potato dumplings stuffed with plums.