The food of Croatia
To be perfectly honest, while travelling the coast of Croatia from one end to the other, we didn’t really have a chance to experience any real Croatian food because we didn’t find any restaurants offering it. That’s not to say that there weren’t any restaurants, quite the contrary actually, but none that would offer something traditional. All we could find (granted in mostly tourist towns) were “full English breakfasts” and various weird renditions of the cuisines of other countries. Where is the seafood on the coast (duh!?!)? The stuffed peppers (Punjena Paprika)? The cabbage rolls (Sarma)? Where is the slow foods movement I heard so much about?
I will be the first to admit that we didn’t go off the beaten track in a lot of these tourist heavy cities such as Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar but even the local’s grocery stores had dismal supplies. The produce was scarce and mostly imported, the selections of meat products were always in limited quantities and in some cases questionable qualities and the presence of local products was unheard of. I was shocked since I’ve heard so much about the quality of food in this beautiful country. Also, to make matters worse, the prices were unreasonably high. A meal for two with a bottle of cheap wine came to about 80$ (CAD) on average… that’s close to Toronto prices without the value.
One thing that really did impress us, regardless of the origin of the items on the plate, were the food portions. The basic idea is to feed way past the normal point of saturation and they sure respect this rule. Giant meat portions with about a kilogram of potatoes and a giant bowl of cabbage salad was the norm. Oh and all of this was served with bread! It was this foodie’s worst nightmare having to put my fork down and declare defeat by never ending food.
I hope that the real food culture exists somewhere in Croatia and I am more than happy to return to experience it but first impressions were certainly not as positive as we thought they would be. Can someone give us some pointers for the future?