Slavonian kulen sausage is made by hand from special cuts of top-quality pork sourced from mature pigs, and takes nine months to cure naturally. It’s dry, spicy and when sliced has the same saturated colour and distinctive texture throughout – the only additives are salt, garlic and red paprika. At summer’s kulen festivals, kulenijada, notably at Požega and Vinkovci, the previous year’s batch reaches perfection.
To try real Croatian prosciutto ham in its home setting, head to Konavle in Dalmatia and the traditional pršut-producing village of Duba, where the deserted karst hills and the dry winter Bura wind create the perfect conditions for production. The finest hams come from small family estates and cost between 100kn and 140kn a kilo. Only certain restaurants serve them, such as the recommended Konavoski Komin in Velji dol near Cavtat, where portions runs to 100kn. Try it with semi-hard cheese and preserved cherries, a combination inherited from the Ragusa days.
The flavours of the Pag dinner table are influenced by the arid, saline environment – don’t hesitate to pull off the road anywhere you see a restaurant sign next to a lamb spinning on a spit. Inhabited by more sheep than humans, Pag produces lamb deeply flavoured with the aromatic herbs sheep consume, as is the trademark Pag cheese. Accompanied by local Sutica dry white wine and a digestif of travarica herb brandy, the Pag culinary experience is complete.