Croatia, is located at the crossroads of South Central Europe and the Mediterranean. The wildly varied terrain also borders the Adriatic Sea coast, which contains more than 1000 Islands. Known for its natural beauty, Croatia is quickly becoming a tourism favorite around the world.
The country is divided into four cultural regions including: Croatia proper, Dalmatia, Slavonia, and Istria. The regions include hilly and flat terrain as well as wetlands, bogs, forests and coastal areas all contributing to the country’s rich and diverse food and wine choices.
Last week, thanks to the Croatian National Tourism Board, we had the opportunity take a gastronomic tour of Croatian food and wine, at a very special seven-course dinner at the iconic Delmonico’s Restaurant in downtown NYC.
Delmonico’s seemed an unlikely choice to sample Croatian fare until we learned that our gracious host and owner, Mr. Licul and his Co-Owner and Managing partner of the restaurant, Dennis Turcinovic are both Croatian. This added another special touch to the evening.
Here are the seven essential courses and wine pairings to make your own taste of Croatia:
Ours was a fine sampling of the delicious meats and cheeses from Croatia. At home, be sure to include the traditional Kulen, a hot pepper cured meat that is very popular in Croatia. It was paired with a Grasevina Galic’, a Slavonian wine that is rich and full-bodied with a fruity finish.
This is often referred to as a white Buzara. Simple but elegant. Here is a recipe from frankaboutcroatia.com. Ours was perfectly paired with a Vina Laguna Festigia Malvazija, a fine complement to seafood. This wine preserves the true fruit and floral aroma of Malvazija with a finishing note of honey.
A homemade pasta with black and white truffles (The delicious fungi which made Istrian cuisine famous all over the world), mushrooms and Parmesan. This is a must have dish, which we couldn’t resist finishing. Here is a recipe to re-create at home. Ours was paired with Kozlovic Malvazija available to purchase in Brooklyn at Height’s Chateau.
This dish displays the Italian influence on Croatian cuisine but Swiss Chard is more commonly used in Croatia. Here is a recipe to duplicate at home. Ours was paired with 2013 Jako vino Stina Pošip.
Another popular Croatian preparation for lamb is to roast it under a bell. Here is a traditional recipe from Honestcooking.com, ours was paired with a glass of Bura Dingac Plavac MalI – an excellent choice. Pair with a nice bold red to replicate.
This is a must have dessert for Croatians! Ours was a flakey, fruit strudel with homemade ice cream and paired with an Ambra Bibich dessert wine – an ideal finish for this delicious meal. Here is a recipe to make a traditional style strudel.
Beyond the incredible gastronomic and wine tasting experience, we discovered that Croatia is a magical destination and surely one that should not be missed. We look forward to traveling the wine roads of Croatia and enjoying the remarkable food and great beauty of this unique country in the near future.