For me, one of the best things about going on holiday is trying the local food and wine. It’s the time you can forget about the diet and just indulge guilt-free! So are you wondering what the Korcula locals like to eat and drink?
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 invitation to dinner and not only to enjoy a great meal and company. You know that most of what you will consume has been caught or produced on the island. This leaves a very special feeling.
So what are some of the things you should eat and drink on Korcula? Here we share some traditional and authentic dishes and produce you should try.
What to Eat on Korcula
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 variety 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.
A traditional mainstay of the island of Korcula is homemade pasta called “Makaruni” served with a variety 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.
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.
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.
The Grill – Fish & Meat
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!
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.
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.
The tastiest & famous cheeses of Croatia include a sheep cheese from the island of Pag (Paski sir) and salty feta like cheese. Cheeses are usually served in a platter, doused with olive oil & accompanied with Dalmatian ham (prsut) & salted fish.
Prust (cured ham)
Dalmatian ham (prsut) is to Croatia, what Palma and Serrano ham are 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. You can taste prsut ham and local cheeses on several of our wine tasting and food tasting tours.
Swiss chard & potatoes
If you really want to experience what local eat & drink on Korcula, you must try this dish. Swiss chard (in Croatian blitva) is growing in abundance on the island. It is mashed with cooked potatoes. Then simply seasoned with olive oil and salt. The dish is most typically served to accompany fish & seafood.
Fresh octopus is very delicious and as part of a salad is an excellent way to try it. The octopus is cooked and chopped then mixed with red onions, capers, olive oil and red wine vinegar. There are some variations that also add tomatoes. The dish is simplistic but extremely tasty.
Don’t let the colour of it put you off! Black risotto is a traditional dish in Dalmatia. The colour of the risotto comes from cuttlefish ink. The cuttlefish ink & meat also adds to the flavour, as well as other seafood which is added to the rice.
What to Drink on Korcula
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!
Croatia produces some of the finest yet seemingly unknown wines in Europe. It is imperative that you compliment the delicious flavours of the food you sample with local wine. There are a number of fine wine producers on Korcula Island as well as on mainland (Peljesac). The superb Mediterranean climate helps produce top wines. Prices vary depending on the quality of the grapes. However, even the cheaper “house or domestic” wines served in restaurants or at the markets are delicious. There is an amazing variety. You can sample light easily palatable white wines which go perfectly with fresh fish, to full-bodied reds to accompany your lamb or steak. Our wine tasting tours will introduce you to Croatia’s finest wines.
- 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
As much as Croatians like their wine, beer is also very popular. Most beer sold in Croatia is domestically produced. In recent years there has been an explosion of the craft beer scene. The craft beer production originated in Zagreb but you find craft brewers now across Dalmatia, including Korcula.
The most commonly drunk beers are Ozujsko and Karlovacko. Other Croatian beers include Pan, Tomislav and Velebitsko. Lasko is also popular in Croatia although produced in Slovenia.
Look out for some of the regional craft beers as well either at bars or in the supermarkets.
No Croatian meal is started before an aperitif (known as rakija). Rakija is flavoured grape brandy. There are many different flavours to try. You can try in restaurants and bars, purchase from a souvenir shop, or for the hardcore stuff try homebrew (with caution!).
These are some of our favourites, what will yours be? Enjoy a tipple or two at one of Korcula’s bars. We will also include tastings of rakija on several of our wine tasting and food tasting tours.
- Smokovaca – fig
- Kruskovac – pear
- Orahovac – walnut
- Travarica – herb (known to be good for the stomach!)
- Medanica – honey
Korcula Island Guide
Would you like more insider tips and recommendations about Korcula Island? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide packed full of information so that you can plan and enjoy a truly memorable holiday on Korcula. Click here to download your copy.
We hope we’ve given you some great suggestions of what to eat & drink on Korcula. What do you think you will try? You’ll certainly eat and drink very well on Korcula.
Interested in trying out some dishes at home? Head on over to the Chasing the Donkey website where you’ll get some tasty Croatian recipes to try.