A Foodie Experience in Croatia

Europe is often praised for its exquisite food and wine scene. Spain and Portugal boast delicious wineries and global wine brands. France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Italy – well, we do not need to remind you that millions of traveler’s head back to the country each year because of its food alone. With all that in mind, surely other European destinations like Croatia get missed when it comes to foodie destinations?

We are here to tell you otherwise and showcase some of Croatia’s best food and wine experiences across its mainland and islands.

This article was originally published in Issue 4 of Unforgettable Travel Magazine

Truffle hunting, Istria

Truffle Hunting in Istria
An Istrian truffle

Truffle hunting is one of the most popular activities during your time in Istria. This heart-shaped peninsula lies to the north of Dalmatia and is often regarded as one of the gastronomic capitals of Croatia. Istria is home to beautiful coastal towns which contrast against dense, vibrant forests, which is where the truffles are found. For those who are unaware, truffles are ‘luxury cousins’ to mushrooms, offering a heightened taste and smell. Here in Istria, these truffles are hunted by trained dogs and the Prodan family have perfected their dog training and trade over three generations. Truffle hunting with the family gives you an insight into their history, their process of dog training, and of course, a taste of the iconic truffles.

Oyster tasting, Ston

Oyster tasting in Ston

The island of Ston is renowned for its seafood – mussels and oysters in particular. You will enjoy a boat tour to an oyster farm in Ston, where you will experience the oysters being harvested directly from the ocean. By an English-speaking local guide, you will learn about the shell farming, harvesting, and production, as well as the best ways to cook and flavour them in a freshly cooked meal – delicious. For those who have never tried oysters, this will be a taste sensation. Garnished with a little lemon juice and black pepper, you will enjoy the rich taste of the salty ocean.

One of the best ways to discover oyster tasting in Ston and other amazing Croatia experiences, is aboard our Signature small ship cruises. Find out more here >>

Olive oil tour, Istria

Olive trees in Istria
Olive oil in Istria

Believe it or not, the Istrian Peninsula is home to some of the best olive oil producers in the world. One of the reasons is that the tradition of growing olive oil dates back hundreds of years, to the Roman and Greek times. In fact, there is an olive tree on Veliki Brijuni Island which is supposedly 1,600 years old. Whereas today, most of our olive oil consumption is for eating and cooking, during the Roman times, olive oil was used for things like bathing and medicine purposes. An olive oil tour gives you an insight into the history, climate, harvesting and production. As you wander through the olive groves, be sure to ask as many questions as you have, and of course, enjoy the tasting!

Food and wine tour, Konavle

Croatian Peka
Croatian Peka (2)

Approximately a 30-minute drive from Dubrovnik is Konavle. Often regarded as a hidden gem, the Konavle Valley is home to world-renowned wines, an abundance of history and culture, and some delicious traditional delicacies. During a food and wine tour, you will discover the speciality of ‘Peka’ which is an experience in itself. Succulent meat and vegetables are slowly cooked together under a fire, softening, and flavouring everything altogether. Local wine is served alongside, as well as a tasting of ‘grappa,’ the local brandy!

Winery visit and tasting, Istria

Vines and Motovun
View from Motovun

We are back in Istria again… this time for wine. This region is often referred to as the ‘Croatian Tuscany’ and in many ways, it offers similar characteristics. There is a similar landscape, with rolling, green hills, and quaint charming villages, but more than anything, exquisite wine is grown and produced here. Wherever you travel or stay in Istria, you will see a wealth of vineyards and wineries. In terms of fine wines, Malvazia is the most famous in Istria, which tastes exceptional when paired with seafood. Teran is a great choice for those enjoying meat dishes. And of course, the perfect end to a meal is a glass of the sweet Istrian Muscat.

Historical & gastro walking tour, Split

Market in Split
Restaurant in Split

The medieval city of Split is a must-do during your time in Croatia. Not only is there a wealth of history, culture, and tradition, but there is a huge gastronomic scene there. To combine both, we recommend a guided tour through Split, which gives you an insight into both the history and food scene of the city through the city’s market and produce. During the tour, you will sample the Dalmatian Plate of mixed delicacies which features prosciutto, cheese, soparnik pie, and olive oil. Seafood dishes will also be featured, accompanied with a superb local wine. Of course, ending your gastro tour, you will finish with a dessert and some sweet wine.

Prosciutto making, Drnis

Croatian prosciutto, Prust
Hanging prosciutto

Whatever type of meal or food spread there is, Croatian prosciutto is highly likely to feature. Pršut, as Croats call it, is not just a sensational taste itself, but it is an experience in itself to learn the art of making prosciutto which makes this tour so special. Although the process of making prosciutto takes years (drying a pork leg or thigh), you can learn about the elements that make this prosciutto special – such as the adding of sea salt (no other additives), and the way it is smoked and matured. On a hot day, a light lunch featuring prosciutto never goes amiss.

Bee-keeping and honey making experience, Solta

Honey from Solta
Beekeeping on Solta

Solta is a Dalmatian Island off the west of Split in Croatia’s mainland. The island itself is recognisable, with a collection of quaint, pretty villages amongst a rocky coastline. As well as a strong tradition of olive oil growth and production, a fantastic experience in Solta is honey-making. The Tvrdic family here have three generations of experience in beekeeping and honey-making. You will get the chance to visit the bees working hard in their incredible hives and have a go yourself at making honey. Like any foodie experience in Croatia, you will have the opportunity to experience ample samples of the local honey.

Dive for your own wine at the underwater winery near Dubrovnik

Underwater winery

About an hour’s drive from the coast of Dubrovnik is the jagged Peljesac Peninsula. As well as homing a wealth of seafood, mussels and fish, there is another experience that attracts people to this peninsula. This is the underwater wine cellar. In this winery, you can dive down into the ocean and handpick your own bottle from the underwater wine cellar which, in most cases, will look like an overgrown piece of treasure, covered in seashells and barnacles. It is certainly a unique experience, and one which many other countries have followed.

Check out other restaurants to visit in Dubrovnik.

Sample local craft beer, Zagreb

Craft beer

While local Croatian wine often gets praised, it is also worth praising the craft beer scene in Croatia’s capital. With a rising number of home brewers and microbreweries in Croatia, the pubs are always filled with good quality craft beer to sample and enjoy a pint of on a hot day! In fact, Croatia often features on the shortlist of best countries in the world for beer. While you can enjoy a pint in every city and island in Croatia, Zagreb is particularly great for pubs and bars – Tolkien’s House, the Craft Room, All In, Hop In, the Old Pharmacy Pub, and Pivnica Medvedgrad Ilica to name a few.


Looking to taste your way around Croatia on a food and wine adventure? Take a look at our private tours all of which can be customized to suit your interests >>

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