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As the traditional recipe, passed down through generations guides, the key to this dish is the careful preparation of the beef meat, even before the cooking starts. After tenderising and marinating the meat, the beef is slowly stewed in a rich wine gravy with vegetables. Served with gnocchi or traditional pasta “makaruni”; this is a delicious hearty meal.
Another must try, but rarely served in the mainstream restaurants has to be ‘brodet’. This is a regional fish dish that will certainly get your taste buds tingling. Made up of fresh white or blue fish, cooked with juicy tomatoes, parsley, garlic and white wine then served with either polenta or rice. This startling simplicity creates a culinary masterpiece.
A traditional mainstay of the island of Korcula is homemade pasta called “Makaruni” served with a variation of sauces such as mincemeat or tomato, garlic and parsley (Buzara); as a tuna salad; or with seafood such as mussels. The pasta dough is chopped into bite size pieces and then shaped around a skewer. This style of pasta is most popular in the village of Zrnovo where a Zrnovski Makaruni takes place every year in August.
Lamb on the Spit
This does not need much description, but is definitely worth mentioning as an exceptional treat for lamb lovers. The whole lamb is cooked for several hours in a purpose built stone oven, filled with burning embers. The result is a real treat for the pallet; the tastiest, the softest, juicy lamb (of course washed down with a full bodied local red). You will not be disappointed.
The peka or the bell is a must try for any visitor to Korcula and we highly recommend travelling out of your way to enjoy it. In simple terms, the peka is a metal or earthenware bell under which a variation of meats and vegetables are cooked. The peka is thrust into burning ambers and left for a considerable length of time and the result is a taste-bud extravaganza, with meat that falls apart under its own weight. Seafood variations are of course possible and although it sounds simple, there is real artistry in this culinary method that has been mastered over decades.
Unlike us Brits, Croatians really know how to BBQ! The lamb is to die for and you can also enjoy a great filet steak, but the ultimate has to be the seafood. There is an abundance of fish to be enjoyed as well as tremendous squid and muscles. Imagine sea bass, doused in olive oil, well seasoned, then grilled – you can’t beat it!
Most Croatians devour a large quantity of bread on a daily basis, either dipped in olive oil, with ham, salami and cheese or simply on its own. The bakeries here bake bread throughout the day so a fresh loaf is never too hard to find.
It seems to us that almost every homeowner on the island of Korcula has their own grove of olive trees, from which the yearly harvest produces enough oil to supply their friends and family for the duration. Subtle variations in flavour make this great to try.
The most tasty & famous cheeses of Croatia include a sheep cheese from the island of Pag (Paski sir) and a salty feta like cheese. Cheeses are usually served in a platter, doused with olive oil & accompanied with Dalmatian ham (prsut) & salted fish.
Prsut (Cured Ham)
Dalmatian ham (prsut) is to Croatia, what Palma and Serrano ham is to Italy and Spain and equally delicious. All along the Dalmatian coast, variations in cured meats are abundant and should certainly be enjoyed by any visitor. The home cured pancetta is also exceptional and great served as bacon or chopped into lardons.
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Croatia produces some of the finest yet seemingly unknown wines in Europe. It is imperative that you complement the delicious flavours of the food you sample with local wine. There are a number of fine wine producers on Korcula Island and just across the water on the mainland (Peljesac), aided by the superb Mediterranean climate. Prices will vary depending on the quality of the grapes, however even the cheaper “house or domestic” wine served in restaurants or sold by the locals on the market are delicious. There is an amazing variety, from the light easily palatable white wines superb with fresh fish, to the full bodied reds to accompany your lamb or steak.
Posip – light golden white wine, grown mainly in Cara and Smokvica
Grk – dry aromatic white wine, grown only in Lumbarda
Prosek – sweet white dessert wine made from dried grapes, perfect with creamy Dalmatian Creme Caramel
Plavac Mali – rich fruity red wine grown all over Korcula and the Peljesac
Postup – full bodied ruby red wine grown on the Peljesac
Dingac – premium quality and robust red wine grown only on the Dingac vineyards in Peljesac
No Croatian meal is started before an aperitif (known as rakija) and there are many varieties you can try in the konobas (restaurants), purchase from a souvenir shop, or for the hardcore stuff try a home brew (with caution!). Rakija is flavoured grape brandy.
These are some of our favourites, what will yours be? Enjoy a tipple or two at one of Korcula's bars.
Smokovaca – fig Kruskovac - pear
Orahovac - walnut Travarica - herb (known to be good for the stomach!)
Medanica - honey Sljivovica - plum
As much as Croatians like their wine, beer is also very popular. Most beer sold in Croatia is domestically produced. In the recent years there has been an explosion of the craft beer scene, especially around Zagreb.
The most commonly drunk beers are Ozujsko and Karlovacko.
Other Croatian beers includes Pan, Tomislav and Velebitsko. You'll also see Lasko, which is popular in Croatia although produced in Slovenia.
Look out for some of the regional craft beers as well either as bars or in the supermarket. Take a look at Croatia Week Top 10 Beers for some great suggestions.
Dalmatians say that a fish should swim three times: First in the sea, then in olive oil and finally in wine, when you eat it!
Food and drink are an integral part of life to all inhabitants of Croatia and Korcula alike. Family and friends will frequently gather to enjoy rustic gastronomy at its best. Expect to see on any table a basket of bread, homegrown salad, soup, grilled meats and mouth-watering seafood cooked over the glowing charcoals. All washed down with quality locally produced wine. It’s a wonder that locals keep themselves in such good shape!
We never say no to an invite to dinner, not only to enjoy a great meal and company, but to know that most of all you consume has been caught or produced on the Island of Korcula, leaves a special feeling.
About Korcula > What to eat & drink