Croatian food and houses
By Correspondent Velimir Baksa in Varaždin, Croatia.
What to say? What to write about food in Croatia? The easiest way to describe food in Croatia is as regional food. Every region, every village, every city block has it own cuisine. Food variety in Croatia is really big but unfortunately, most known dishes are dishes from Istria and Dalmatia. But Croatia has more regions and much more dishes. North and North-west parts from Croatia have good old fashioned Austo-Hungarian food. Basically all dishes that you can eat in Germany, Austria or Hungary can be eaten in North of Croatia. I say basically. Whay? There is still much difference then in German/Austrian cuisine. As people in North where poor they adopted thouse dishes with food they had at home and their way of live and work did influenced their food. In winter people eat more fat, meat, potatoes and cabbage. During spring dishes in North are based on food left in stashes from winter and fresh vegetables. Cheese, meat and vegetables are mostlly consumed in North. Specially turkey. North has one famous dish. Turkey with mlinci. Mlinci are homemade pasta. As we go east, meat is more consumed. Eastern regions of Croatia are famous for their meat dishes. Kulen, sousages, kulenova seka, “čvarci” are some dishes from eastern Croatia. Fish, specially carp, catfish and sturgeon and most famous from fish dishes, “riblji paprikaš” or fish soup.
Hungarian influence in Croatian cuisine is shown in variety of goulashes. Goulashes are made in all regions. Međimurje, Slavonia and Baranja made the best goulashes. Inner parts of Croatia and Lika have mostly food just like north. Food from Istria and Dalmatia was best shown in Anthony Bourdain`s No reservations. But let us concentrate on good but not known food from Croatia. First I would like to introduce you with “turoš”. “Turoš” is simple homemade cheese from “Međimurje”. It is pyramid shaped and it taste depends on what is put inside. Mostly you will find turoš with Hungarian hot peppers or with “čvarci”. As for “čvarci”, there are another famous Croatian food. Made in all parts from Crioatia but most famous and known from Slavonia and Baranja. “Čvarci” are basically deep fried pig fat. Popular and made during winter. Another dish that you should try are “sirni štrukli” or cheese cake. Their are made in north and you can find them baked or cooked.
City of Hrvatska Kostajnica is known for chestnut and in Kostajnica you can try many delicios dishes made from chestnut. In last few years, there is an exotic influence on Croatian cuisine. Many people from Asian and African countries in search for job found their home in Croatia, brought new dishes and influenced traditional food. If life brings you to Croatia, tray traditional food from region you are in.
Just like food, houses in Croatia can not be put into one specific style. Every region has its own building style. During past every region was in different kingdom or in contact with different nations.
Dalmatia and Istria are known for their old Roman houses and palaces dating far back to Roman empire and some islands also back to ancient Greek. Northern regions have German influence in their architecture and in eastern houses can be seen Turkish influence. Also difference in architecture comes from different geographical affiliation. Seaside, Istria and Dalmatia, are geographically Mediterranean and newer houses have that nice and luxurious Mediterranean trick. Stone and sea. Pine and salt. Nice and relaxing. Going inside, houses in inner parts of Croatia are smaller and you can see just how people ave lived back in medieval times. Simple houses but warm and everyone is welcome. North has been influenced with Austrian and Hungarian culture what can be seen also on houses and not only on food.
Magnificent Austrian houses, big squares and open coffee houses are trademark in north. In eastern houses are adjusted for life on countryside. Long and low houses with big doors and big yards. And cities in east are a different story. Not being much different from northern Austrian houses they are in contrast with countryside. Today, there is an balance between old and modern and you can see modern glass skylines within old houses. But old houses have their charm and they are telling so much stories. On part of stories they tell are different symbols on them. Many symbols are related to an fraternity known as freemasons. Noth much is said about them as freemasons are stil one big tabu in Croatia but the symbols are here and they tell us so many stories. Also many old houses in Zagreb and Rijeka have renaissance frescoes what is really nice. Sun clocks and statues are alongside symbols on houses. In Varaždin, statues and symbols where ad are still used as sighns for business owners. Every family had it`s own symbol by what their where known and customers could easily locate their business.
But more important than houses are yards. There are not two same yards, at least not when we speak about old and traditional houses. Every house and every yard was some kind of owners mirror. People tried to show their personality to other people with houses and yards. Today, within modern houses that is not really the way. You can go and pick one from catalog and in short it you will have it build and for another couple of weeks you will get and really nice and colorful yard.
Hi. I`m Velimir Baksa and 27 year old from Varaždin, Croatia.
Mechanical engineer, science geek. My interests are nanotechnology, machine learning, robotics and automotive design. In my free time I like to cook and write. Passionate pen and paper player.
Linux enthusiast and journalist, free software and freedom fighter. Like heavy metal, dislike folk.