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Croatia: Trogir

Trogir is a tiny pedestrian only island (with the exception one outer street that connects it to the mainland).  It is a medieval walled town with cobblestone alleys and walkways with a beautiful wide boardwalk with a gorgeous views.  We stopped off in Trogir to do a bit of exploring and grab lunch before heading to Split.  The boardwalk was full of restaurants that took advantage of the views.  I actually don’t remember the restaurant name however, I do remember our meal.  We ordered a few dishes to share because we wanted a bit of everything and because we were on the coast, we decided to go with freshly grilled prawns.  You could taste the smoky char on them but I must warn you, they were definitely a lot of work to peel them so I don’t recommend if you don’t like to work for your food or are short of time.  The squid ink risotto was a unique dish – I’m used to seeing homemade squid in pasta but in a risotto was a first for me.  Although it doesn’t look all that appealing, it was pretty tasty.  But the cevapi sandwich was the best dish and not because of the cevapi (even though they were flavourful) – it was the bread!  Crusty on the outside and soft/moist on the inside, I don’t know how they make it but everywhere we went the bread and pastry was just delicious!

Trogir - boardwalk

Along the wide and beautiful boardwalk in Trogir.

Trogir - harbour

The beautiful view from Trogir’s harbour.

Trogir - prawns

Fresh grilled prawns.

Trogir - risotto

Squid ink risotto with mushrooms.

Trogir - pita

Cevapi in a pita.

Trogir - cevapi

Delicious cevapi.

Croatia: Pekarna Dalmatinka

For some reason, everywhere I went in Croatia and no matter which bakery I was in, taking photos was forbidden.  A lot of these bakeries don’t have an online presence so perhaps its a way to fight off the competition, I don’t know but its really too bad because I loved the bakeries in Croatia.  A bit different from the traditional bakeries that tend to offer sweeter pastries, in Croatia, I found more savoury pastries dominating the shelves.  In Zadar, we popped into Pekarna Dalmatinka just located inside the Land Gate on the main strip.  My favourite pastries were the ones stuffed with sir (Croatian cheese), there’s a sourness and tanginess in their cheese that just made it so addictive.  And the pastry itself, looked like phyllo but the texture was very different especially in the baklava.  Although I liked the flavour in the baklava, filled with lots of walnut and honey, the texture was definitely too soft for my liking – however, for $1 CAD for a sizeable slice it was a great deal :)

The bakery Dalmatinka in old town of Zadar.

The bakery Dalmatinka in old town of Zadar.

Piles of delicious baked goods inside Bakery Dalmatinka.

Piles of delicious baked goods inside Bakery Dalmatinka.

Vegetarian quiche made with tomatoes and zucchini.

Vegetarian quiche made with tomatoes and zucchini.

Almond pastry with powdered sugar.

Almond pastry with powdered sugar.

Delicious pastry stuffed with sir (Croatian cheese).

Delicious pastry stuffed with sir (Croatian cheese).

Cherry danish that's a bit more bread like than pastry.

Cherry danish that’s a bit more bread like than pastry.

Croatian style baklava with walnuts.

Croatian style baklava with walnuts.

Look at all that cheese stuffed in the pastry.

Look at all that cheese stuffed in the pastry.

Croatia: Local Beers

Right from night one in Croatia, I was curious with what locals turned to if they wanted a beer.  While travelling across the country there were brands that I would see everywhere like Ozujsko, Pan, Karlovacko and Union.  I gathered these were national brands and most were available as a pale or dark lager.  But what I didn’t expect was the popularity of radlers – every beer brand was also available in a radler and in multiple flavours…..lemon, lime, grapefruit and blood orange.  Radlers are great, especially if you want something with the carbonation of a beer but don’t like the taste.  We also discovered some micro-beers, most being brewed in the Istria region of Croatia like Favorit and San Servolo.  The best part of all was the price of beer in Croatia, with the exception of Dubrovnik, on average the cost of a 500ml bottle of beer was $2 Canadian dollars – at that price, any beer would taste great!

Beer - ozujsko

Ozujsko – local Croatian light lager.

Beer - union red orange

Union Radler – a beer and red orange juice combination from Slovenia.

Beer - Pan

Pan light lager beer produced in Croatia and owned by Carlsberg Group (Denmark)

Beer - union grapefruit

Another Union Radler, this time in grapefruit flavour.

Beer - ozujsko radler

Ozujsko also makes radlers in pink grapefruit.

Beer - Pan radler

Pan lemon lime radler.

Beer - Karlovacko

Karlovacko, another Croatian beer that is named after and brewed in the city of Karlovac, Croatia.

Beer - Favorit

Favorit beer, a Croatian beer brewed in Buzet, Istria in northern Croatia.

Beer - Sarajevsko

Sarajevsko – as the name suggests, this beer originates and is brewed in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Beer - San Servolo

San Servolo – a relatively new beer brewed in Buje, Istria in northwestern Croatia.


Plitvice Lakes National Park: Plitvice Miric Inn

If you were to ask me what my most memorable meal was in Croatia, it would be this one.  After what seemed like hours (it really only took 90 minutes) of driving through dense forests and windy roads we finally arrived at Plitvice Miric Inn.  Walking into the first house, we stepped right into the evening dining room full of guests enjoying their evening.  We were hungry and tired, and since we were in the middle of Plitvice Lakes National Park we were happy and relieved that the inn keepers offered us a full 3 course meal prepared with local produce (all for 20 euros).  The meal started with a traditional shot of Croatian schnapps and then the salad and soup course were served.  Although every course in this meal was great, right from the fresh salad to the wonderful (and not too sweet) homemade strudel, what really stood out for me were the grilled vegetables.  And I know what you’re going to say, grilled vegetables? Yes, the zucchini, red peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, potatoes and cauliflower all grilled and seasoned to perfection.  Maybe its the olive oil or the salt or how the fact that the vegetables come from local farmers…..or perhaps it was my hunger being satisfied but for once, I reached for more veggies rather than the protein.  Don’t get me wrong, the cevapi and trout were delicious, especially the trout but at the end of the night it was the veggies that were all eaten :)

Miric - radler

Starting the dinner off right, first with a shot of schnapps and then with Karlovacko Lemon Radler.

Miric - cabbage salad

Part of the first course, a fresh cabbage salad.

Miric - soup

Second half of the first course – chicken noodle soup.

Miric - noodle

Homemade chicken noodle soup.

Miric - vegetable

Vegetable platter for one – grilled vegetables, fried sesame crusted tofu and fried eggs.

Miric - fish_meat

Fish and grilled meat platter for three – trout, cevapi and chicken.

Miric - trout

Fresh local trout, grilled perfectly.

Miric - strudel

The perfect ending, croatian strudel filled with cherries, apple and coconut.

Pula: Sunday Market

Early Sunday morning after exploring the beautiful Roman Amphitheatre, we stumbled upon a market located just outside the entrance to the amphitheatre and you know me, I had to check it out.  Well, it was a total score!  We discovered locally made turkish delight, soft and delicious in flavours like rose water, pistachio and chestnut.  And my favourite, homemade almond nougat!  We found a booth with a constant stream of customers all waiting for freshly made fritule, Croatian pastry that looks very much like Tim Horton’s timbits (if you’re Canadian, you know what these are :)) except these are light, fluffy and not coated in sugar but a dollop of milk chocolate sauce.  Walking through the market you get a real sense that Croatians really love their pork and cheese.  There were cured meats, lots of large mortadella sausages, tubs of chicharron and wheels of Croatian sir (cheese) everywhere.  We definitely made some purchases and sampled plenty, a perfect way to end our brief visit to Pula.

Pula - Market

Local Sunday market just outside the Amphitheatre in Pula.

Pula - turkish delight

One of the stalls at the market selling homemade Turkish delight.

Pula - rose

My favourite flavour of Turkish delight – Rose!

Pula - nougat

Homemade nougat for $3 a bar – such a great deal!

Pula - cheese

Delicious Croatian sir (cheese).

Pula - deli

Croatians being big on pork, there was a ton of deli vendors.

Pula - chicharron

A huge tub of chicharron or pork rinds.

Pula - mortadella

I’ve never seen mortadella this big – the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Pula - sweets

Delicious homemade Croatian sweets.

Pula - fritule stand

Fritule stand – you know its good when there’s a line up.

Pula - frying

Making fritule.

Pula - fritule with chocolate

Hot and fresh right out of the deep fryer, fritule drizzled with melted milk chocolate.

Pula - inside fritule

Perfectly fried fritule, surprisingly light and fluffy.

Croatia: Karlic Tartufi

One of the most memorable experiences of my trip to Croatia was my visit to Karlic Tartufi in the town of Paladini, in the northern region of Istria, Croatia (Thanks to my friend S who visited Karlic Tartufi last year).  It was our second stop on our 10 day journey through the country.  To be honest, I cannot believe we actually found this place – there were minimal signs directing us and it was located on top of hill that is accessed by a one lane gravel road in the middle of endless rolling green hills (such beautiful place).  Once we arrived, we were greeted by the Karlic family members (the daughter, mother and grandmother) and were introduced to the history of truffles, both black and rare white truffles and then a wonderful spread of truffle hors d’ouvres and dishes.  We enjoyed breakfast in their open air dining room, tasting and savouring every way one can have truffles – mixed with cream cheese, mixed in scrambled eggs, truffle flavoured hard cheeses and my new found favourite, black truffles in honey!  The touch of truffle honey paired with a slice of the cow’s milk cheese was to die for I just had to bring home a jar :)  Then to top off the entire experience, we were taken on a hunt in the nearby forests with three of their dogs and although never a guarantee, we happened to visit Croatia at the start of the white truffle season. And low and behold, the dogs found a sizeable white truffle!  What an awesome way to experience a part of Croatia that most visitors never do!

Karlic - home

The Karlic Tartufi home in Paladini, Istria, Croatia.

Karlic - view

Beautiful views of Istria from the Karlic Tartufi home.

Karlic - dining room

The outdoor dining room of the Karlic Tartufi home.

Karlic - schnapps

Croatian tradition – a shot of schnapps before the start of a meal.

Karlic - truffles

A sampling of black and white truffles.

Karlic - hors d'ouvres

Truffle hors d’ouvres – on the left black truffle mixed with cream cheese, served on baguette and topped with black truffle shavings; on the right white truffle pate topped with white truffle shavings.

Karlic - cheese

Cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses made with truffles and sausage topped with truffle shavings.

Karlic - honey

My favourite truffle product – truffle honey!

Karlic - wine

Homemade red and white wine along with local sparkling water.

Karlic - pates

White and black truffle pates.

Karlic - shavings

A pile of freshly grated black truffle shavings.

Karlic - eggs

Shaved black truffles made with eggs and topped with more black truffles.

Karlic - dogs

Truffle hunting with the dogs of Karlic Tartufi in the forests of Istria.

Karlic - dig

The dogs found something!

Karlic - white truffle

They found a white truffle!

Karlic - lake

A full view of the lake from Paladini.

Karlic - cheese & honey

Baguette with cow’s milk cheese topped with a dollop of truffle honey.

Croatia: U Prolazu

You all are going to think I’m crazy but what I failed to mention in my previous post about the true reason for starting the Croatian road trip in Samobor is because of my hunt to find this: the kremsnite.  It’s a traditional Samobor dessert with a substantial layer of vanilla custard sandwiched between a puff pastry base and top coated in powdered sugar.  And I found it at U Prolazu, a caffe/bar located just a few doors down from where we had dinner at Samoborska klet in the main town square of Samobor.  Open late with two main rooms full of locals, it looked like a very popular spot for late night get togethers with friends.  As this was my first taste of kremsnite, I really went in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how light and airy the vanilla custard was in the kremsnite.  It tasted like it was made with whipped cream which made it light and subtle in vanilla flavour – a great dessert to follow a heavier dinner.  Well worth the detour!

The quaint U Prolazu caffe.

The quaint U Prolazu caffe.

A display full of homemade desserts.

A display full of homemade desserts with many varieties of the kremsnite.

The signature dessert made at U Prolazu: kremsnite.

The signature dessert made at U Prolazu: kremsnite, Samobor style.

Single serving sizes of the delicious kremsnite.

Single serving sizes of the delicious kremsnite.

My first coffee in Croatia - strong and full of flavour.

My first coffee in Croatia – strong and full of flavour.


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