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Croatia's food markets - Where the country's distinctive flavours come together

Croatia's food markets - Where the country's distinctive flavours come together

On a gourmet tour in the heart of the city

Trznica, pijaca, plac and even pazar - all these words mean the same thing in Croatia. In no other place do the distinctive flavors of Croatia come together like on the food market. There you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat products, fish and seafood, dairy products, baked goods, flowers and plants/seedlings, and sometimes even household goods and souvenirs. In this article you will find everything you need to know about visiting food markets in Croatia.

Buy regional and seasonal: Regional, healthy and fresh products are not unusual in Croatia. Of course, there are also products available that do not originate from Croatia and are therefore not particularly climate-friendly. So make sure to buy seasonal and regional products and rely on your senses. When was the last time you ate a tomato that wasn't watery? My grandfather used to say that a flavorful tomato can be a meat substitute. Straight from the garden to the market: it’s not an advertising slogan in Croatia, but actually true in most cases.

Be curious and open to new things: If you spend your vacation in Croatia, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to try products that are unknown to you. What could be better than a nice piece of exquisite prsut (prosciutto) or kulen (special kind of smoked sausage)? Do you know what cvarci (pork rind) are? In Croatia, we eat them in deep-fried pieces. They literally melt in your mouth. Are you curious but don't dare to buy something you have never tried? Try it on the spot. If the merchants don't offer you any pieces to try, just ask politely and they certainly won't deny your wish. How about musmule (medlars) or rastika (collard greens)? There is also something for cheese lovers to discover. Personally, I love aromatic kajmak (creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream) and young cheese, but also world famous delicacies like Pag cheese can be found on food markets.

First come, first served: For fresh fish and seafood you usually have to get up very early, because even local restaurants sometimes get their products at the food market. Especially in coastal towns, the fresh catch is brought directly to the market. A small consolation for those of us who are grumpy in the mornings: If you get up early, you usually not only get sought-after goods, but also have the opportunity to have breakfast in town.

Homemade-olive-oil-honey-and-liquors-in-decorated-bottles-on-a-market-stand

Enjoy the Croatian way of life and slow down your daily routine: The food market is not only a source of supply, but like the coffee house, a social meeting point. Mingle with the locals and enjoy the diverse aromas and the sight of the colorful goods. You've done all your errands and are a bit exhausted? The markets are usually located in the heart of the town. Combine your shopping with a coffee nearby and enjoy the sun while watching the hustle and bustle of the market.

A matter of bargaining: As with most food markets, the same applies here: Negotiate! What do you have to lose? It’s absolutely common in Croatia and why not save a kuna or two where you can? Alternatively, you can go to the food market just before noon. Often prices are drastically reduced then. It may be worth it if you are not targeting sought-after goods and are flexible in your grocery shopping.

Think green: With supporting food markets you've already done a lot for your ecological footprint. The same applies here as at home. It's best to take your cloth bag with you. If you like to buy cheese, you should also think of a food storage container for the sake of the environment.

Original souvenirs: Do you also find it so difficult to buy beautiful and, above all, useful souvenirs? Perhaps you will be surprised, but food markets offer a wide range of delicacies that you could buy as a gift for your loved ones. My personal favorites are regional honey and liqueur, dried figs with bay leaves on the chain, homemade ajvar (vegetable puree made from peppers and/or eggplant), fine olive oil, loose teas and homemade pasta. Some markets even have souvenir stands. If you prefer to buy classic souvenirs, you might find them there as well.

Croatia's most famous markets: Depending on where you are in Croatia, you may have the opportunity to visit the following famous food markets...

woman-with-summer-hat-giving-money-to-the-vendor-on-a-market-stand-with-fresh-vegetables-and-red-parasols

Dolac in Zagreb: On the most famous market you will find goods from all over Croatia. It is located not far from Ban Jelacic Square and consists of two parts. Under the open sky, the so-called Kumice, women from the regions near Zagreb, sell vegetables and fruits from their own cultivation under the characteristic sunshades of Sestine. Under the market is the market hall, where you can find, among other things, meat and dairy products. Fish is sold separately in the ribarnica (fish market).

Zelena Trznica in Pula: The "Green Market" is located near the most famous attraction of the ancient coastal city of Pula, the amphitheater. For gourmets, this place leaves nothing to be desired. Enjoy the romantic ambience as you stroll through this beautiful market hall and buy first-class delicacies such as white and black Istrian truffles, for which the region is world famous.

Ribarnica in Rijeka: No visit to Rijeka would be complete without a stop at its famous fish market. It is located not far from the Croatian National Theater Ivan Zajc and offers everything that makes any Mediterranean cuisine lover's heart beat faster. Walk through two beautiful pavilions and choose from a variety of "sea treasures”. Buy, among others, crabs, squids or delicious mussels in addition to fresh fish. Tips on how to prepare them are included! :) Do not be afraid to ask local merchants.

Different-kinds-of-fresh-fish-and-scampi-in-wooden-boxes-with-ice-on-a-market

Pazar in Split: This market is located in the belly of Split right next to the famous Diocletian's Palace and is one of the famous hotspots in this coastal city. Enjoy the unique atmosphere and mingle with the locals. In addition to Mediterranean delicacies, you can also buy traditional products from the Dalmatian hinterland, such as aromatic goat cheese and, of course, Dalmatian prsut.

As you can see, there is much to discover. Benefit from your stay in a luxurious villa with pool in Croatia and learn about the country and its people at the food market. After all, as the saying goes: The best way to experience a culture is through its food. :)


Maja Kovacevic

25.2.2022
 
+385 1 222 70 50