Every local dish in Gorski Kotar and Lika draws heavily on regional advantages. Top of the list definitely belongs to wild game meals. Take for example peka, the famous Croatian dish where food is slow cooked in the open fireplace. If you’re in Gorski Kotar, don’t be surprised if you’re e offered a wild boar peka. Or a braised bear’s paw, for that matter. Meat is often served alongside aromatic forest mushrooms and polenta. In summer, food lovers can enjoy fantastic salads or dumplings made from self-grown plants like common nettle or wild garlic. During winter, a simple local dish typically includes braised sauerkraut with quality cured meat or cooked home-made sausages.
Another local dish, a “poor man’s feast“ is popular police, actually, the halved potatoes baked with some fine local pancetta on top. Perfectly simple and definitely salivating. Winter lunches and dinners usually include a thick soup based on turnip and beans, as locals believe that “food eaten with a spoon“ is a guarantee of longevity and good health.
Experienced food lovers will not miss a chance of trying a local dish made from frog legs or snails. Lika is particularly known for its high-quality trout, as its pristine rivers abound with this fish. The region’s lush pastures have been home to free grazing livestock for millennia. No wonder the local dairy products include a huge variety of cow, sheep and goat cheeses. Most popular dairies include fermented cheeses like basa or škripavac, along with fermented milk and cottage cheese. Served as appetizers or side dishes, dairy products found their way into regional desserts as well. Restaurants offer a lot of desserts, including the classics like pancakes or chocolate cakes. However, if you’ve started local, it’s best to finish local. Therefore aim for sweet treats with delicious forest fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and currants. Or wonderfully simple apple strudel with some of that fine local meadow or forest honey.
Local restaurants regularly offer the variety of top Croatian wines. However, the true local specialty in Gorski Kotar and Lika are the spirits. Both Lika and Gorski Kotar are rightfully proud of their great variety of brandies and liqueurs. If you ask for rakija, you’ll be probably offered a choice between slivovitz or pear brandy. Don’t miss Velebitska travarica, a herbal brandy made from indigenous herbs growing on the unspoilt wilderness of Mt Velebit range. You can even find mountain–ash brandy, a popular digestive. Liqueurs based on forest fruits are too many to mention. Some local producers mix as much as 60 different plants and fruits in their spirits. On a non-alcoholic side, you might want to try organically produced homemade fruit beverages, such as elderberry syrup.
The mountain regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar divide Mediterranean and continental Croatia. And what a wonderful divide that is: mountains covered in deep forests, shiny lakes and amazing waterfalls, green meadows and lush river canyons. Including as much as three national parks, of which most popular is Plitvice, a world famous natural attraction with an intricate system of waterfalls and lakes. The region offers starkly differing seasonal ambients. Spectacular autumn foliage is replaced by amazing winterscapes of frozen lakes and frosty forests. Warmer seasons delight visitors with freshness and lush greenery. One doesn’t even have to mention the quality of air, since both Lika and Gorski Kotar have practically no industry.
This was and remained the land of livestock farmers, hunters, and lumberjacks, who produced their own food on their own soil. And regional cuisine reflects this seamless link between nature and people, celebrating it in each and every local dish.
Tour With Zoran
Petra Svačića 41c
Registered at Commercial Court in Dubrovnik, Du/Tt-10/150-2
Fund capital: 20.000,00HRK paid in full
Member of the Board: Zoran Turajlić
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ID CODE: HR-AB-20-090028580