Visiting Split Croatia is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with Dalmatian cuisine and its food. There is no better way to discover a new country and the character of its people than through sampling the national cuisine.
This cuisine has all attributes as a typical representative of Mediterranean way of cooking. Its simplicity and naturalness are the most valuable features.
Dalmatia, and cooking customs in Split area were very much influenced by the conquerors and empires that ruled over centuries. All rulers from Venice, French, Turks and Austrian have left something in local gastronomic culture.
In spite of all influences on local cuisine, it’s mainly oriented around a few basic ingredients and simple cooking methods. Dalmatian food is easily digested, low-fat, moderately spicy.
There was recently a chef’s discussion in the local newspapers whether or not Dalmatian cuisine exists at all. While one prominent chef in a five star hotels, claimed Dalmatian cuisine doesn’t exist, the other one, chef of an old Split restaurant, cites old recipes as proof of the existence of Dalmatian cuisine.
A Typical Dalmatian Cuisine Dishes
Dalmatian cuisine meets all medical and nutritional recommendations for a healthy and well-balanced diet. Dalmatian cooking is not exaggerating with spices.
Here’s what a typical Mediterranean dish contains? The abundance of fresh or cooked vegetables, typically local greens, homemade cheeses, of course, lots of fish and all other seafood (clams, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, lobster, shrimp ).
If you decide to eat meat, the first kind that everyone has on mind is ham, smoked Dalmatian ham, better known as Prsut, ham dried during Bura wind. Other appreciated meats are lamb and mutton.
The most important Dalmatian cuisine features are plenty of vegetables. The favorite vegetable are spinach, potatoes, Swiss chards, broad bean, tomatoes, artichokes, cabbage. They are all served with meat and fish. Pasta like gnocchi, spaghetti, ravioli, is also very frequently served.
Traditional Dalmatian ingredients are various types of fish, shells, crabs, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, olives, olive oil, vegetables, wild herbs, almonds, figs, grapes, honey, raisins and citrus fruits.
Fish is prepared in several ways: ‘na gradele’, ‘na leso’ i ‘na brodet’. Dalmatian way of cooking (mostly in water or grilled) makes this cuisine very healthy.
Fish 'na leso'
Fish (the best are grouper, dentex and hake) boiled in water containing oil, wine vinegar, onions, laurel, pepper corn and salt.
Fish 'na gradele'
Fish "na gradele" are grilled fish where particular attention is paid to the type of wood used to make the fire and to the use of aromatic herbs (rosemary).
Fish 'na brodet'
"Brodet" is prepared with different types of fish (grouper, conger eel) that are cut into pieces and fried with onions. Afterwards, the fish is placed in a clay pot over a light fire.
Cakes and pastries are really delicious and very simple. Cakes are made of fresh or dried fruits (raisins, figs). Honey is often used rather than sugar.
The cream is rather enriched with the crunchy pieces of almonds and walnuts. Some common cakes names are fritters, mandulat (honey and almonds), fig cake (smokva), flan (rozata), paradizot……
Dalmatian Dishes You Must Try
Among gastronomic delights you must try when you visit Split city, I particularly recommend you are – Pasticada (Dalmatian Beef Stew) and Crni rizot (Black Risotto). Almost every restaurant offers these plates on their menu.
Black Cuttlefish Risotto
If you don't mind getting your teeth black and love seafood then this yummy and simple meal is for you. Don't miss a glass of red Croatian wine.
Dalmatian Beef Stew
Considered a winter plate but I like it all the year round. Its rich sauce is made using a generous amount of red wine and prunes, served with gnocchi. It should melt in the mouth.