Drniš prosciutto (Drniški pršut)
© Turistička zajednica Grada Drniša

Croatia's best delicacies: Drniš prosciutto

Croatia's best delicacies are protected in Europe

Written by
Marc Rowlands

Croatia has some of its food products protected at both a national and European level, their status designated by their unique place of origin. Drniš prosciutto (Drniški pršut) is one of them.

Located between the cities of Šibenik and Knin, Drniš, like much of Dalmatia's hinterland, goes relatively unnoticed by the huge numbers of visitors who party by the beach just 15 kilometres away. It was among this town's surrounding hills and villages where Croatia's and Yugoslavia's most important sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, spent his childhood (although he was born in Vrpolje, near Slavonski Brod). He is today still strongly associated with the town, lending his name to the local school. There are also two Meštrović pieces located in Drniš, a relief called Orači and a wonderfully-positioned drinking fountain called Vrelo Života (the Source of Life).

Ivan Meštrović 'Vrelo života' in Drniš
Ivan Meštrović 'Vrelo života' in Drniš
© Roberta F.

Although there is some wine production in the nearby locale, the town's economy runs mostly on industry and agriculture. Animal husbandry and dairy produce are significant here, just as they were back when Ivan Meštrović's peasant father reared sheep among the hills. The production of building materials in Drniš, including natural stone and concrete, is also notable. Such endeavours could partially be considered the modern-day descendants of stonemasonry, the industry into which Meštrović entered from the town, as a 16-year-old apprentice.

Aside from dairy, the most notable result of animal husbandry in the area is the production of Drniš prosciutto (Drniški pršut). Produced in much the same way at the pršut from the rest of Dalmatia, as this one is actually made in the region's hinterland, on the other side of the Dinaric Alps, climatic differences separate the two and grant Drniš prosciutto its distinct properties. Summer temperatures here can differ greatly from those where visitors are sunning themselves by day on nearby beaches. It's this micro-climate, visited by both the cold and dry Bura wind of the coast, and the warmer Jugo wind from the continental side, which help give this particular Dalmatian prosciutto a flavour all of its own.

Click here to find out what European recognition does for Croatian produce and see all of Croatia's best delicacies which are protected

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