Croatian Sausage

Helen Soteriou

Sampling Sausages at a Traditional Restaurant in Croatia

Mamica in Međimurje makes its own blood sausage and other specialties

Sandra Nedeljko, 45, owns the restaurant called Mamica in Međimurje, in northern Croatia, with her husband and daughter.

The restaurant was opened in 1969 by Nedeljko’s grandparents. Mamica is a dialect word for “grandmother,” and as Nedeljko explains, ‘When my grandparents were the owners of the Inn, its name was K Feriju after my grandfather [his name was Franjo, of which Feri is a diminutive], and my grandmother Marija did all the work. So I used to say to my grandmother: ‘When I will be the owner of the Inn, I will call it after you’.”

Nedeljko and her husband serve mostly traditional food in their 150-seat restaurant (with another 50 seats on the terrace) are mainly businessmen during the week, while on weekends Mamica hosts many weddings and other family celebrations.

One of the restaurant’s specialties is its homemade sausages, called čurke in Croatian. She tells us that in Međimurje, every village — and every family — has its own recipes. Black čurke, or blood sausage, is particularly popular. The ingredients typically include boiled pig’s head and lung, buckwheat, garlic, onion, and salt, as well as pig’s blood. White čurke is basically the same, but without the blood. (There are also versions made with millet instead of buckwheat, and a “sausage” made only of grain, with no meat.)

Nedeljko usually serves her sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes, but also sometimes with a savory strudel or with dumplings.

Frankly, I didn’t want to taste the blood sausage, but I did. It didn’t have a strong flavor, but was a little dry because of the buckwheat, and very filling. It wasn’t bad at all!

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