Traditional produce Top 10
Need inspiration for original edible Made in Croatia gifts? We believe that local delicacies from small producers make a perfect and neutral gift for friends and family. First of all, it’s original, and second, you support local business, sustainability and the effort of family farms in these hard times. True, it’s not a long-lasting gift, but a short highly enjoyable moment definitely beats a long-lasting useless material memory of a boring old aunt you see once a year. Here is our personal top 10 list of the best traditional produce in 2011, all of which are suitable, durable and presentable enough to become special holiday gifts, but aren’t the biggest and most predictable names. In random order:
1. Kliška štruca
Among the plentitude of traditional cakes, biscuits and sweets, we choose Kliška štruca (Klis loaf) from Family farm Miletić as the most wintery and Christmasy cake. Just look at the ingredients: honey, walnuts, almonds, blackberries, candied lemon and orange, extra virgin olive oil, nutmeg, cloves, fennel, orange and apple jam, orange liqueur – yum! Mrs. Miletić also offers some other kinds of cakes based on extra virgin olive oil.
Fig cake is a unique, simple and ancient Dalmatian dessert. Combined with a shot of good herbal or carob brandy, it will warm your winter nights. There are several great producers, but Eco Fig’o makes two kinds: sweet and spicy.
3. Goranski med
Croatia is blessed by a multitude of high-quality honey. We’re big fans of the forest meadow honey produced by the organic bee farm Vidmar from Gorski kotar region. But any good homemade honey will do.
4. Pesto Dalmatino
Mislav Ante Jurenić from the island of Brač created something very special, his own variation on pesto sauce, made from basil, dried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, capers and hard granular cheese.
5. Šinjorina Smokva
The first Croatian organic homemade jam from fresh, not dried figs is still the best. Sandra Babac and her family have a reason to be proud, and their products are already a well-known brand among local foodies.
The unique Marasca cherry liqueur used to be a celebrity drink centuries ago, and it was even found on the Titanic. It deserves to make a splashing comeback.
7. Samobor salami
The indigenous Samobor salami is similar to all other salamis in the world, but yet again very special. The quality and flavour of the one produced by Igomat continue to amaze us.
8. Pumpkin seed oil
A bit neglected in comparison with extra virgin olive oils, pumpkin seed oils from the north-western part of Croatia are the next big thing. Strong character and very versatile in the kitchen. Try the one from Bister in Međimurje.
9. Nadalina chocolates and pralines
Only a genuine chocaholic can produce such heavenly delicacies combining Mediterranean flavours and ingredients (lavender, olive oil, carob, prošek, sage, orange, dried figs…) and the best dark chocolate.
10. Kupilek blackberry wine
Sweet, tasty and healthy nectar, not just if you’re anemic. It will sweep you off your feet when combined with blue cheese.
It’s not easy to narrow this down to only ten items. Of course, there are plenty of other equally good and representative traditional products deserving the place under Christmas tree, so feel free to explore the wonderful world of Croatian culinary souvenirs.