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Croatian cuisine is remarkably diverse, reflecting the variety of cultures that have left their mark on the country, and in the kitchen, over the centuries. The Italians, for example, imparted their knowledge of pasta, while the ancient Greeks taught the people of Dalmatia and Istria to make wine. Turkish influences can be found in the Croatian kitchen as well.
Differences also exist between the regions of Croatia; for example, fish and shellfish are mainly eaten in Dalmatia, while in Slavonia spicy sausages are more popular. Due to this diversity, Croatian cuisine is usually appreciated by visitors, as it has something to offer everyone.
Croats are immensely proud of their culinary heritage, and it is something they cherish daily. Croats love to gather in groups of friends to prepare small feasts they can enjoy together. But they also love to show off their cooking skills to the tourists.
The Dalmatians have their own way of preparing meals. Much of their food is cooked or grilled and includes a lot of fish and seafood and a variety of local vegetables. Dalmatians have a love of lamb, veal and poultry as well.
Sage, bay leaf, rosemary and basil is grown throughout the region, and Dalmatian cuisine is often compared to Mediterranean cuisine due to their use of garlic, herbs and olive oil.
In Istria you will find a mix of continental and Mediterranean dishes, and the area is often called a paradise for gastronomes. Istria is also known for its olives and olive oil, which are among the best in the world. The olive oil is certainly not cheap but it is worth every penny.
Another fantastic product from Istria popular amongst gastronomes are truffles. Istria has the ideal conditions to grow truffles.
The continental kitchen is concentrated on seasonal. Throughout these dishes the history of the region is evident. Some of the dishes eaten today were prepared by the poor in the past, while others were specific dishes to the urban population or noblemen. The cuisine is based mainly around meat dishes due to the high nutritional value. Meat was often prepared with potato, cabbage, onions, and carrots.
Slavonia is best known for their spicy sausages; "Kulen" is one of the most popular of the Croatian dishes. This sausage is made using pork and paprika and enjoys protection as a part of Croatia’s cultural heritage.
'Čevapčići' or 'Ćevapi' is also very popular in Croatia. Although it did not originate in Croatian, it has been in Croatia long enough that it now considered a traditional dish.
Cevapi comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but was originally imported by the Turks during the Ottoman Empire.