Croatia has some of its food products protected at both a national and European level, their status designated by their unique place of origin. Sour cabbage from Ogulin (sauerkraut / Ogulinsko kiselo zelje) is one of them.
The town of Ogulin can be found in Karlovac county. It lies south-west of the county capital Karlovac, nearer to Rijeka on the quickest route between Zagreb and the sea. This is the very centre of mainland Croatia.
A near micro-region between the much larger and differing Gorski Kotar, Lika, Kordun and Gornje Pokuplje regions, Ogulin is surrounded on three sides by hills. Both this local geography and its transitional position between its large and long-established neighbours gives the Ogulin valley a micro-climate of its own.
Here summer temperatures can shift dramatically between day and night. This cooling after sunset, coupled with the relatively high humidity in the valley, allow dew and moisture to bathe Ogulin's cabbages for the entire growing season. Traditionally fermented in October and ready in time for the winter months, this resulting sauerkraut or, locally, kiseli kupus is picked and processed by hand, eventually ending up in soups, stews and other favourite Croatian dishes like sarma.
Click here to find out what European recognition does for Croatian produce and see all of Croatia's best delicacies which are protected