Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter

Let’s be honest – food is one of the most important aspects of travel, as well as the everyday life. When the outside temperature lowers to zero or below, what we eat and how the food makes us feel becomes even more important. If you find yourself in Croatia during the cold season, you must give it a try to this delicious Croatian winter comfort food. 

Sausages of all kinds

The sausage is an absolute queen of any Christmas market and it can be found at literally andy food stall. They can be found all around the city and every place has its own version, spicy or not, served cut with a bun or within a toasted bread, traditional or innovative.

You should try the traditional ones like debrecinka or kranjska kobasica (kobasica means sausage in Croatian), but also sausages made from venison meat like wild boar or deer. At home, we often eat dry and smoked sausages, together with homemade bacon and kulen.

If you feel adventurous, in Zagreb Christmas market you can try Submarine’s Christmas burger or Mundoaka’s Shish Kobas as well. I’m not sure how to describe it – it is something between a sausage and a ćevap, but it is tasty. 

When Did Zagreb Christmas Market Become This Awesome?! | Mexatia

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia

French salad

French salad or in Croatian francuska salata is known as a Russian salad in the rest of the world. Why do we call it French, I have no idea. This caloric salad is a symbol of winter holidays and I’m sure there is no household which does not prepare it at least once in December.

Čvarci – the winter treat

Čvarci or pork greaves are made by cooking pure pig fat and squeezing out the fat which makes them crispy and delicious. You need to be extra careful while you are making them because they burn easily, but it you make them right, they are simply delightful.

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia

Super hot mulled wine

If every food stall sells some kind of sausage, it sells mulled wine too. Both of them are the most traditional and the most recognizable Croatian winter comfort food when it comes to Christmas markets.  

The mulled wine has become a synonym for winter and winter gatherings. It is sweet, it is tasty and it heats you up perfectly! It is great if you are spending the afternoon in the city or to enjoy a warm afternoon at home. All you need is a bottle of good wine (red or white, it is your choice), some water, sugar and few cloves and voila! Be careful not to burn your tongue! If you are not a wine lover, you can always go for a fruity punch, tea with alcohol or hot rakija (traditional schnapps). 

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia

When Did Zagreb Christmas Market Become This Awesome?! | Mexatia

Fritule sprinkled with sugar and chocolate

Fritule are my absolute favorite winter food! They are sweet fritters which will remind you to the little donuts sprinkled with icing sugar and served with melted chocolate – what’s here not to love?! Take one serving and share it with a friend or your loved one, while you are discovering the city. 

If you are feeling a little bit more modern, go for waffles served on a stick, with nuts, chocolate or cookie sparkles.

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia

When Did Zagreb Christmas Market Become This Awesome?! | Mexatia

Sarma and sour cabbage in various combinations

The end of the summer, August and September, was always reserved for preparing food for the winter season. One of the most common ingredients was the cabbage, which was put in big plastic barrels together with salt and vinagre and left aside to become acid. 

In November and December, sour cabbage was ready to eat, prepared and combined with various food. It was a source of vitamin C and a great way how to keep your body healthy during the winter. Sekeli goulash, black beans with sour cabbage (grah s kiselim zeljem), pork shank with sour cabbage (buncek s kiselim zeljem), sour cabbage with sour cabbage, … You got the point. Probably the most adored combination is sarma, the cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat and rice. Everybody loves to eat it around the New Years’ and it is said to be a great way how to cure your hangover.

Christmas cookies and cakes

As I already mentioned in a post about Christmas traditions in Croatia, we love to prepare cookies. Like, a lot. Different kuglofs, poppy seed and walnut rolls (makovnjača and orahnjača), vanilla cookies, colorful biscuits, … On a typical Croatian family table, you will find ten or more different types of cakes around the holidays.

Croatian Winter Comfort Food: What To Eat During The Winter | Mexatia

Hot chocolate

When you are not in the mood for alcohol, a cup of hot chocolate is a great way to heat yourself up. Some make it liquid,  some almost like a pudding, but the point is to be tasty, sweet and hot. Cold winter days are always better with a blanket, good book and hot chocolate in your hand.

Which winter food do you consider to be your comfort food? Did you try any of these?

 

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Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind!

Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind!

Zagreb Burger Festival

The burger festival just came to its end in Zagreb, but burger lovers did not have enough. The festival was not really the one to remember – the quality of burgers was not like the one we are used to, the staff forgot they worked in the service industry and the waiting time was too long. 

We stopped by to grab burgers from our all time favorite Submarine and Brko i Brko. Submarine was good but incomparable and much smaller than their standard burgers, so we decided to share another. Since Rougemarin did not start to work long after the opening and Plac was taking “half hour break”, we chose Brko i Brko. 

After a long wait (15 to 20 minutes in the afternoon, when it was not so crowded), we finally got a burger. A burger which could not be cut in half upon a request nor they could remove any of the ingredients because “burgers are exactly like the menu says”. Really? Zero points for flexibility! Anyhow, the burger was fine, but the same like the festival – nothing to remember. 

Secrets of making absolutely mind-blowing burgers at home <div class="hrecipe jetpack-recipe" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Recipe"><div class="jetpack-recipe-content"></div></div> | Mexatia

Secrets of making absolutely mind-blowing burgers at home <div class="hrecipe jetpack-recipe" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Recipe"><div class="jetpack-recipe-content"></div></div> | Mexatia

Making burgers at home

Honestly, I never ate a burger until last year. For the first time I decided to make it at home and, only after I loved it, I tried several burger places in Croatia, Mexico, Slovenia and other countries. But you know what, they are never like the ones you make at home! Do you really know what are you eating when you order a burger outside? Nowadays there is a trend to advertise burgers as “organic”, “local” or “pure meat” made, but who knows what’s really inside. And how about all those tasty, oily sauces?

Let me teach you one or two about making burgers at home.

Secrets of making absolutely mind-blowing burgers at home <div class="hrecipe jetpack-recipe" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Recipe"><div class="jetpack-recipe-content"></div></div> | Mexatia

Secrets of making absolutely mind-blowing burgers at home <div class="hrecipe jetpack-recipe" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Recipe"><div class="jetpack-recipe-content"></div></div> | Mexatia

To begin with, the absolutely best thing about the homemade burger is that you know exactly what are they made of! Pay a visit to your favorite butcher or supermarket, choose the best meat you can get (I would recommend beef shoulder or you can even mix it with some pork if you like – just make sure it has some fat. Meat without the fat would not make a good burger, so think about the diet some other day. 🙂 ) Ask the butcher to mince it for you and here you go – you have a wonderful basis for your perfect burger!

Secondly, prepare the mixture for burgers in advance, at least 4 – 5 hours before, or even a night before. Spices will make your burger even tastier so you want them to rest in the fridge for at least few hours.

To make your burger complete, you will also want to make homemade buns and BBQ sauce. Do not worry, it is simple and your taste buns will be grateful! Making buns is much easier than it seems so. All you need it a bit of patience and time.

Check out the recipe below.
Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind! | Mexatia
Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind! | Mexatia

The perfect burger recipe
Serves 4
The secret of making absolutely mind-blowing burgers at home.
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For the burger
  1. 600 g minced meat
  2. 0,5 dcl sparkling water
  3. 2 - 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  4. spices: salt, pepper, sweet red paprika, garlic and onion powder
For the buns
  1. 500 g all purpose flour
  2. 7 g salt
  3. 8 g dried yeast
  4. 1 tea spoon sugar
  5. 1 tea spoon baking powder
  6. 30 g softened butter
  7. 300 ml milk
  8. 1 egg yolk for coating the buns
  9. sesame or other seeds to sprinkle on the top
For BBQ sauce
  1. 2 cloves of garlic
  2. 1 tea spoon olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp sugar
  4. 5 - 6 tbsp ketchup
  5. 1 tea spoon vinegar
  6. salt if needed
Instructions
  1. Start the preparations with burgers. As mentioned before, you want them to rest for a while in the fridge, in order for flavors to permeate. So, mix the meat with spices, sparkling water and breadcrumbs.
  2. After few hours in the fridge, shape the burgers. Each one should consists of 150 g meat and have a nice, rounded shape. Do not worry if it's not perfect - perfect is not real 🙂 Leave them in the fridge until your buns are ready.
  3. Now prepare the dough for buns. Mix flour with all dry ingredients: yeast, salt, sugar and baking powder. Slowly start adding milk and kneading the dough (add more or less milk if needed). When your dough becomes elastic and not sticky, cover it up and leave to rise for 45 minutes, or until it doubles the volume.
  4. Form the buns to correspond the size of burgers, keeping in mind they will grow a bit and burgers will shrink!
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the buns on a baking pan, leave them to rise for another 15 minutes, coat with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame or other seeds of your choice. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Once they are ready, take the buns out of the oven and let them cool down a bit before serving.
  6. Prepare the BBQ sauce: Fry garlic on some olive oil, add ketchup, sugar and vinegar and mix it well together. Cook until thickens a bit.
  7. In the meantime start grilling the burgers - it will take around 5 minutes from each side to be perfectly grilled. Leave them aside for few minutes to rest.
  8. Now make your perfect burger! Cut buns in half, coat them with sauce and place the meat. Add cheese, onions, salad, fried bacon or anything that makes you happy in this world.
Mexatia https://mexatia.com/

 

I have also tried to make mini burger buns from Just Cake Girl (Croatian only, but you can check mouthwatering photos) and they were spectacular! Excellent for a dinner party or just smaller snacks. We also use the similar recipe for the sauce!

Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind! | Mexatia

Secrets of making burgers at home: This recipe will blow your mind! | Mexatia

It doesn’t matter the size of your burger – as long it is homemade! 🙂

Dobar tek! 

 

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Make your own homemade ice cream! It is easy!

Make your own homemade ice cream! It is easy!

Hello, ice cream!

Hello, July! Hello, watermelons and hot weather! Hello, ice cream! Hello, my first homemade ice cream! There is nothing I like more than tasty ice cream in the hot summer day. I always wanted to make my own ice cream, but mom was always telling me how it is complicated, it takes long and then you need to mix it every few hours when you put it in the freezer… So I got discouraged and I never made it. 

A couple of months back I was checking Facebook and I ran into a recipe for ice cream. Super simple, they said. I checked out the recipe and I made a screenshot, as I make thousands of them. I never really considered making it, but for some reason, I could not stop thinking about it. It took two months and summer already came when I finally decided to prepare it. I was scared to get disappointed, however, curiosity was stronger

Mexatia.com | Make your own homemade ice cream! It is easy

Homemade ice cream © Mexatia

Super easy homemade ice cream

As the recipe said, ice cream could not be more simple. There are only four basic ingredients – milk, whipped cream powder (like this in Croatia), icing sugar and sour cream with 20% fat. They said it is especially relevant to use whipped cream powder which is supposed to be mixed with milk (there is also the one which is prepared with water), but I used both. I prepared them with 100 or 125 ml of milk and as the result, both ice creams turned out excellent.

First of all, prepare whipped cream in the way you combine the powder with 125 ml of milk. Mix them in the mixer for 2-3 minutes at its top speed. Add 60 g of icing sugar and 180 g sour cream and combine it well, until it gets all fluffy.

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Mexatia.com | Make your own homemade ice cream! It is easy

Homemade ice cream © Mexatia

It is that easy

Now the base for you ice cream is ready and you can add flavors. Any flavor you can think of! I was making the banana one while my dad was picking cherries in the garden. For great banana flavor, add two very ripe bananas and half lemon juice. To make nice cherry ice cream, use two handfuls of cherries, add half lemon juice and sugar to taste. Of course, if you are adding fruits, blend them first with the hand blender. Mix well base with fruits, put the ice cream into appropriate plastic containers and freeze. 

Yes, it is that easy! Banana and cherry flavors were hit in our household so I made peach and raspberry as well. I got many ideas more – you can literally use anything to make a tasty ice cream. It is so simple, right?

Super easy homemade ice cream
Serves 8
Your very first homemade ice cream
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whipped cream powder
  2. 125 ml milk
  3. 60 g icing sugar
  4. 180 g sour cream
  5. flavor of your choice
Instructions
  1. First prepare whipped cream. Combine the powder with 125 ml of milk and mix them in the mixer for 2-3 minutes at its top speed. Add around 60 g of icing sugar and 180 g sour cream and combine it well, until it gets all fluffy.
  2. Now the base for you ice cream is ready and you can add flavors. Any flavor you can think of! For example, two bananas and some lemon juice for banana flavor. 125 g raspberries. 2 handfuls of cherries. 1 melted chocolate. 3 peaches... (if you are adding fruits, blend them first)
  3. Mix the base with fruits and put ice cream into appropriate plastic containers. Let them freeze well.
Notes
  1. Great tip: it is the best after 4 hours in the freezer. It is half frozen and crazy tasty.
Mexatia https://mexatia.com/

Do you make your own ice cream or you prefer to buy one? If you have a good recipe, please share it! 🙂

Ps. Never be scared of something you did not even try. You might get surprised, as I did. Now I know homemade ice creams are not scary things. This recipe goes straight to the top of my list.

If you like the recipe, please pin it for later.

Mexatia.com | Make your own homemade ice cream! It is easy

Eat Croatian: Istrian traditional pasta with prosciutto

Eat Croatian: Istrian traditional pasta with prosciutto

We were in Motovun, checking out the local shops and products they offer. Unfortunately, we did not buy any truffles, homemade olive oil or regional wine, but I managed to grab one packing of Istrian traditional pasta – fuži and I am planning to show you what I made from it right now.

Fuži are specific in shape and ways of serving. The authentic ones are still produced by the hand, in the way that dough is cut into squares and two opposite corners are stuck together, leaving an empty space in the middle. To get a better shape, you can help yourself with a wooden cooking spoon or thick knitting needle. They are usually served with different goulashes or sauces with truffles, prosciutto and other specialties.

Mexatia.com | Eat Croatian: Istrian Traditional Pasta with Prosciutto

Traditional pasta, fuži © Mexatia

I had a half kilo of fuži and I decided to combine it with prosciutto, some homemade bacon, mozzarella cheese, fresh cherry tomatoes and rocket salad. It was super simple to make and ever tastier. So tasty I decided to repeat the same recipe with the remaining pasta!

To ensure everything will go smoothly while cooking, you should do a little bit of prep before. You should chop the garlic, cut bacon and prosciutto in small pieces and chop the tomatoes. You should pull mozzarella into smaller pieces, clean the salad and cut cherry tomatoes in halves. That’s all! You are ready to cook. 

Mexatia.com | Eat Croatian: Istrian Traditional Pasta with Prosciutto

Traditional pasta, fuži with prosciutto © Mexatia

Istrian Fuzi Served with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, Prosciutto and Rocket Salad
Serves 4
Traditional Istrian fuži served with tasty Dalmatian prosciutto and vegetables.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 250 g fuži pasta
  2. 2 tomatoes
  3. 1 clove of garlic
  4. 100 - 150 g bacon
  5. 500 g tomato sauce (with tomato pieces)
  6. salt, pepper, basil
  7. 80 g prosciutto
  8. 125 g fresh mozzarella cheese
  9. rocket salad
  10. 5 g Grana Padano cheese
  11. 125 g cherry tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Put pasta to cook in boiling water, seasoned with some salt and oil. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, until pasta is cooked as you like. Drain the pasta.
  2. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry it in the saucepan. When bacon is almost golden brown, add pieces of prosciutto and fry for another minute.
  3. Take out bacon and prosciutto and set them aside. Drain most of the fat from the pan, leave just as much you will use for cooking.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and fry it on the same fat, only until you can smell garlic in the air. Add tomatoes cut into pieces (if you wish you can peel them before) and tomato sauce. Cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and basil to taste.
  5. Pull mozzarella into small pieces (do not cut). Wash cherry tomatoes and cut them into halves.
  6. Serve fuži into every plate, pour over with tomato sauce and add fried prosciutto, bacon and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Grana Padano and decorate with rocket salad and cherry tomatoes.
  7. Serve hot!
Mexatia https://mexatia.com/

Do not worry if you do not have fuži or you are not in the mood to make them, for this recipe you can use any other kind of pasta. 

Dobar tek!

Mexatia.com | Eat Croatian: Istrian Traditional Pasta with Prosciutto

Traditional pasta, fuži with prosciutto © Mexatia

 

Our Istrian series came to the end. If you liked this recipe, you should definitely read more about Istria in our previous posts:

36 hours in Istria: Our Small Guide to Croatia’s Most Visited Region

10 great ideas how to spend 3 days in Motovun, Croatia

Lovely little design Apartment Piazza in Rovinj, Croatia

6 fun things to do in Rovinj all year round

Arena of Pula: When in Rome… Wait, I’m in Croatia!

What to eat in Istria: 8 amazing products you MUST try

 If you like Istria, you want to check out our Facebook album Discover Croatia – Region of Istria.

 

If you like it, PIN it. :)

Mexatia.com | Eat Croatian: Istrian Traditional Pasta with Prosciutto

What to eat in Istria: 8 amazing products you MUST try

What to eat in Istria: 8 amazing products you MUST try

Istria is a specific region of Croatia by many means. Second official language is Italian (together with Croatian), it has most of the preserved Roman historical monuments, small charming cities, and crazy good food, different than rest of the country. While visiting Istria, you should not miss some of the delicacies. To help you a bit, we bring you a short guide what to eat in Istria. This ten amazing products you just must try!

Istrian cattle (boškarin)

Istrian cattle, named boškarin, is a specific white-grey cattle with long horns which can be found only in the region of Istria. It served as a help in farming and construction works, as its meat and milk were used as food for the families. With come of modernization, their number and role started to decline and they almost died out. Luckily, people became aware of its value and boškarin is bred for gourmet purposes. It is known as an exceptional delicacy and only some restaurants are able to serve its meat following the best gastronomical standards.

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: 10 products you MUST try

Boškarin, Istrian indigenous cattle| Photo: Srecko Niketic / CROPIX, from Zadarski.hr

Traditional homemade pasta (fuži)

Fuži, traditional Istrian pasta, are specific in shape and ways of serving. The authentic one is still produced by the hand, in the way that dough is cut into squares and two opposite corners are stuck together, leaving an empty space in the middle. To get a better shape, you can help yourself with a wooden cooking spoon or thick knitting needle. It is usually served with different goulashes or sauces with truffles, prosciutto, and other specialties. 

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: 10 products you MUST try

Istrian Traditional Pasta (fuži) © Gastronomika.hr

Istrian Wild Asparagus

When the spring comes, “asparagus hunt” becomes the main activity within Istrian families. Almost every family hurries to the woods to search for this exceptional dark green delight. It is one of the favorite recreational activities, especially because it ends with a tasty meal. Istrians usually prepare them in the most simple, yet the tastiest way – scrambled eggs with asparagus. To prepare it, just wash the asparagus and break them into pieces. Simmer asparagus in oil (use only soft parts) until they soften, add the scrambled eggs and fry for a couple of minutes. I also love asparagus cream soup like an excellent intro into tasty lunch.

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria

Istrian Wild Asparagus © Dream Istria

Truffles

I already wrote my ode to truffles 😀 but they definitely deserve few more sentences. Approximately 80 years go truffles were found in Motovun forest and since that day, truffles do not stop to be in the top of Istrian gastronomy. This known aphrodisiac is served in chosen restaurants and konobas only and it can be used to produce different  fancy products like cheese with truffles, oil, desserts and more. Motovun forest is known for white and black truffles of excellent quality. They are found by specially trained dogs (or sometimes pigs), 10 – 30 cm underground. When in Istria, you should try at least one meal with truffles, like traditional pasta fuži with truffles or some dessert. I went for pannacotta and I was not so delighted, I must say. 

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: 10 products you MUST try

Panna cotta with truffles © Mexatia

Istrian wine Malvazija and Teran

Wine is an inseparable part of Istrian identity and viticulture is in people’s blood. Istria has several different soils and climates so it is possible to grow various sorts of grapes in a small area. It is always fun to explore Istrian wine roads and discover small wine cellars and konobas where you can try the local wine. You will reveal what real Istria is about and which secrets its hills and stone houses hide. The most popular wine types probably are white Malvazija and red Teran. Malvazija is full body wine, well balanced and with lots of fruity aromas. It smells like acacia and apples and it just calls for more. Teran was once the most spread variety in Istria. They say it is a wine “with character”, fully body and with lots of tannins and specific purplish color. Smells like raspberry and it would be a great choice if you want to try something new, authentic and yet undiscovered. Serve it with Istrian prosciutto and cheese. 

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: 9 products you MUST try

Istrian wines © Gdje.hr

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Everybody knows olive oil is the symbol of Mediterranean and it is much more than only an ingredient. Oils produced in Istria are extra virgin ones with special taste. Small family farms produce it through generations and they are the reason why these oils are known as one of the bests in the world. If you find yourself in Istria, do not forget to visit at least one farm. They are going to show you how it is produced and tell you a lot about the oil and their lives. Do not forget to taste as well, you can eat it only with a piece of bread – that is something we call “točati” or dip in the oil. 

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: products you MUST try

Olive oil © infovrsar.com

Fresh fish and seafood, especially St Jacob’s Shells in Novigrad

The Istrian way of life is closely connected with the sea as well. In coastal cities almost every morning you can have a chit chat with local fishermen and buy fresh fish. There is no better than that, right? Well, maybe it is – if you go to Novigrad and try St Jacob Shells which are considered to be extremely tasty. There is even a festival organized to praise that fabulous shells!

Istrian prosciutto

To finish this post in style, I left my favorite Croatian product, prosciutto, for the end. Istrian prosciutto, as well as others, are produced in families over the generations. Quality pig farming is essential, together with all the steps of production: processing of pork leg, seasoning and drying. Drying is extremely important because of bura, cold northern wind. It takes about a year to be dried perfectly, after which you can cut it by hand and serve in various ways. Yum-yummy!

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: products you MUST try

Istrian prosciutto © Colours of Istria

 

Which is your favorite product of Istria?

Read more about Istria in our other posts:

36 hours in Istria: Our Small Guide to Croatia’s Most Visited Region

10 great ideas how to spend 3 days in Motovun, Croatia

Lovely little design Apartment Piazza in Rovinj, Croatia

6 fun things to do in Rovinj all year round

Arena of Pula: When in Rome… Wait, I’m in Croatia!

 If you like Istria, you want to check out our Facebook album Discover Croatia – Region of Istria.

Also, if you liked the post, please pin it. :)

Mexatia.com | What to eat in Istria: products you MUST try