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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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