With beautiful Mediterranean waters, stunning beaches, historic cities and great weather, it is easy to see why Croatia is such a hotspot for travellers.
Croatia boasts a diverse landscape and has quickly become a leader on the European gastronomy scene, offering not only amazing food, but wine, spirits and opportunities for visitors to experience Croatian culture and cuisine interactively.
From Michelin starred restaurants offering contemporary takes on authentic dishes across the country to cooking classes and fresh oysters on the Dalmatian coast, foodies visiting Croatia are guaranteed to be blown away by the quality of culinary experiences.
DINE AT CROATIA’S INCREDIBLE MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANTS:
With five Michelin star restaurants in cities including Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Šibenik, Croatia’s culinary offerings are second to none. Just one of the unmissable restaurants is the newly crowned Draga di Lovrana. Tucked away in a breath-taking location in Lovran, close by to Rijeka, the restaurant nods its head to French and Italian gastronomy whilst providing diners with a unique and refreshing take on modern cuisine. As with many of Croatia’s restaurants, locally sourced produce contribute to a memorable and authentic dining experience. The same can be said for Restaurant 360 in Dubrovnik. Set within the historic great walls of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, Restaurant 360 offers diners a forward-thinking menu, which focuses heavily on seafood, modern interpretations on Croatian classics and Mediterranean dishes. Foodies keen to explore Zagreb whilst in Croatia should head to Noel, a restaurant dedicated to showcasing the latest trends in dining. Here, visitors can experience an upscale culinary experience and a modern take on some Croatian classics, or opt for a tasting menu which is guaranteed to impress with its opulent presentation and impeccable service.
TRUFFLE HUNTING IN ISTRIA:
Known as one of the best spots in Europe to search for the rare and delicious white truffle, Motovun is located in Istria, and is well-known for its small and historic hilltop town. The Mirna River valley is home to luscious forests, which house an abundance of truffles and are one of the best places in the country for truffle hunters to explore. Truffle trails are popular in the area and visitors can enjoy hunts led by local guides and trained dogs. After the search, visitors can take part in a lesson on how to prepare authentic Croatian meals, which they will then have the chance to sample.
The Istrian white truffle is one of the highest in quality and has a strong place in the local cuisine. A truffle hunt is therefore the perfect experience for visitors keen to immerse themselves in the traditions of truffles in Croatian gastronomy. The area also hosts truffle festivals and is home to a number of souvenir shops dedicated to products made from truffles.
TOUR THE VENERABLE VINEYARDS OF ISTRIA:
Croatia is home to some incredible wineries, many of which offer tours and tastings for wine enthusiasts and Istria boasts some fantastic vineyards with histories dating back to the 18th century. Visitors can join wine tours that explore the different grapes grown in the region and learn more about the processes involved in production. Wine-tastings pair different wines with locally produced cheese, olives and prosciutto and offer a chance for guests to sample a wide selection of delicious regional products. Wine tours also provide a chance for visitors to experience the stunning landscapes of Croatia, some of which include Rovinj and Pula.
As well as being famous for wine, the Istrian and Dalmatian regions are also known as the home of Grappa, a type of mild and fruity brandy. This fragrant drink is also the main attraction of the Istrian Grappa Fair at the end of October. Made from not only grapes, but also cherry, quince, plum, honey and walnut, Grappa is a speciality that is celebrated in the small town of Hum, the smallest town in the world with only 17 inhabitants. Homemade grappa is available to sample and buy from various producers, including some who use recipes that stretch back thousands of years.
TRY THE TASTIEST OYSTERS IN THE DALMATIAN COAST:
Oysters on the Dalmatian Coast have long been hailed as some of the finest in Europe. Once the luxury import of Habsburg royalty, these oysters taste particularly good as a result of the nutrient blend found in Mali Ston Bay, located just 59km northwest of Dubrovnik. Here, visitors will experience great scenery, historic old stone houses and of course, delicious restaurants serving the famous oysters. The area is home to forty permissioned farms, many of which offer tours and tastings for visitors to learn about the sourcing and preparing of the oysters. Mali Ston Bay is also home to some spectacular restaurants, some of which include Koruna, Bota Šare and Kapetanova Kuca, serving delicious food that incorporates the strong history and heritage of oysters in the region. Those visiting between July and August will witness the famous, annual salt harvest.
LEARN THE ART OF COOKING WITH RUDI STEFAN AT PELLEGRINI:
As one of Croatia’s most popular restaurants, Pelegrini takes diners on a masterful journey for all the senses during their cooking class and dining experience. Located in the coastal city of Sibenik, guests will begin their experience at the local market stalls in search of fresh produce and ingredients. Led by Rudi Stefan, the restaurant’s owner and head chef, guests will learn how to prepare and cook the Pelegrini way. This culinary adventure will begin as diners make their own bread. After, visitors will use the locally sourced ingredients from the market to cook a selection of delicious dishes. Under the Chef’s guidance and inspiration, novices and cooking enthusiasts will have the chance to try their hand at cooking alongside a Michelin-star chef.