Traditional Croatian cuisine is wide and varied, yet it’s hard to distinguish dishes that are exclusive to Croatia. Because, Croatian food has been influenced by tastes and traditions from neighboring countries, and different nations that ruled territory of Croatia throughout history. Traditional Croatian food has some similarity with Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish food. Yet, Croatian dishes have their own distinct interpretation, and taste. Here's some example of the depth of this culinary tradition:
Known locally as crni rižot, this is made with cuttlefish or squid, olive oil, garlic, red wine and squid ink, which gives an intense seafood flavor and black color. Besides squids, this risotto contains other seafood, particularly mussels, clams and other shellfish. Popular all along Croatia’s coastline, this dish will turn your mouth and teeth black...but it’s worth it.
Baking meat, seafood and veggies under a bell-like lid covered in embers, is a unique cooking method found in Croatia and its neighboring countries. Basically, you can put any kind of meat and veggies on a tray, salt it, add spices, oil, and cover it with a bell-like lid. Placed in a fireplace, the cap is then covered with embers. It’s cooked for two hours, but after about an hour or so, the lid is lifted, meat is turned, and some other spices are added, like a mix of honey and cognac with Mediterranean herbs.
A distilled spirit made from fruit, rakija is part of Croatian culture and a symbol of hospitality. It is customary to have a glass before and/or after your meal, and to look your fellow drinkers in the eye, clink glasses, and consume the entire shot at once. Traditional Croatian rakija varieties include travarica (herbal), šljivovica (plum), medica (honey), višnjevac (sour cherry), smokva (fig) and biska (mistletoe).