Let’s face it, London isn’t quite awash with Croatian restaurants. And that’s a real shame. As anyone who’s visited the country’s mountainous mainland, glistening coastline or ‘Game of Thrones’ fortresses knows, Croatia’s regional cuisines are pretty stunning too. Here are five glorious things you should know about Croatia’s food before your next visit.
1. It's all about the truffles
White and black truffles are found in abundance, blowing any peasant diet presumptions straight out of the water. Motovun in Istria is known to many as the ‘land of truffles’ (hell, yes!), with several varieties growing in the woodland. Try it shaved over rich plates of fuzi or on stripped-back classics like scrambled egg, asparagus and white truffle.
2. Italian cuisine has had a big influence
Get ready to carb-load. Pasta is one of the most common staples in the Croatian diet. You’ll find it among pizza, gnocchi and risotto dishes in unique Croatian guises. From crni rižot (a risotto blackened from squid ink) to the ever-popular fuzi (pasta similar in shape to penne), you’ll find Italian influences on many a plate throughout your Croatian travels.
3. Seafood fans are in serious luck
With the Adriatic Sea lapping up along a vast stretch of the country, it’s hardly a surprise that seafood features heavily in a typical Croatian diet. But the variety will blow your mind. From traditional bakalar (salt cod) to octopus salad, from sea bass risotto to mixed seafood stew, try it every which way to confirm that yes, you have indeed died and gone to foodie heaven.
4. Even traditional peasant dishes are off the hook
In hearty regional stews, you’ll find Croatian food’s peasant roots. But you won’t believe how good such simple dishes can taste. Take pasticada; the rich beef stew from Dalmatia is slowly marinated and roasted in red wine, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, bacon, parsley and prunes to give meat that melts in your mouth. Served with gnocchi, it’s one heck of a feast.
5. And Croatian olive oil is serious stuff
Need more convincing that Croatian food is among the best in the Med? Look no further than the country’s olive oil supply. Croatia has only recently gathered the kind of praise it deserves for its extra virgin, with over ten percent of the world’s best olive oil comes from here. Lap it up drizzled over those typical pasta dishes or in chocolate and olive oil cake.
And now you have a chance to try it all for yourself. Adam Rawson, in partnership with the Croatian National Tourist Board, is bringing a taste of Croatia to London on Saturday September 17. The rising star trained under Nuno Mendes and Gordon Ramsay and has since set about traveling to some of the world’s most beautiful countries, bringing the best of their regional cuisines back to London. His evening will showcase eight dishes from across the country – from glorious canapés to truffley plates of pasta – all set round communal tables for a super-sociable vibe.
To buy tickets to Adam Rawson’s Croatian Dinner, visit grubclub.com.