Autumn feast in the Green Ring of Zagreb
In addition to being visually charming and seductive, early autumn is also a period that gourmets are especially looking forward to. Of course, this is the period when many fruits are gathered, the result of a long and fruitful collaboration between nature and people. In the fields, orchards, vegetable gardens and vineyards, the works are coming to an end, sowing and harvesting are in full swing, everything is terminating. In a predominantly rural area with a rich gastronomic heritage, such as Zagreb County, autumn is in any case a period to enjoy eating and socializing. Here the two things traditionally go together. After all, a successful year and another end of the natural cycle should be adequately celebrated. The autumn basket is brimfull and invites to enjoy.
Plenty of fruit arrives on the table - apples, pears, plums, quinces, walnuts, hazelnuts, but also wild chestnuts. There are also corn, peppers, beans, cabbage, pumpkins, and mushrooms also grow in the forest after the first rain. Besides the many common mushrooms, which are porcini mushrooms, chanterelles and black trumpets, let's not forget the underground treasure hidden in the dense forests around Zagreb - truffles. Grapes from the vineyard before fermentation appear in the form of must, and most of grapes are carried to the cellars for processing and ripening. Those who can't wait can taste the young Portuguese wine, and connoisseurs will successfully pair it with seasonal dishes. With the arrival of colder days, somewhat heavier, more concrete food is sought, so this is the time when game dishes are excellent, as well as many traditional meat dishes that are not lacking in the kitchen of micro-regions from the Zagreb area. A good portion of the available fresh food will end up in winter jars, such as various jams, spreads, sauces, pickled or dried fruits. The wisdom of preparing for a long winter originates from previous generations.
Without a doubt, from the end of September onwards it is very lively and interesting in the restaurants, inns and rural households of the Green Ring of Zagreb. Autumn specialties are offered to entice guests, and those who want even more direct contact with food can visit some of the traditional festivals dedicated to autumn foods and their preparation. Besides the famous pumpkin and chestnut festivals, mushroom and fish festivals, St. Martin's Day celebrations and other wine festivals are regularly held in picturesque places in Zagreb County. And what dishes should not be missed from the sumptuous offer of autumn cuisine? We would like to say that you should try everything, but here are just a few suggestions what to taste from the seasonal menu...
For starters, it’s time for thick pumpkin and mushroom soups. Among other things, you will find them in the restaurant Kod Špilje, also known for its pate and game dishes. Vegetarians can choose porcini spread or porcini gnocchi, such as those made in Krčma Gabreku 1929, where forest mushrooms get special attention. The must try dish is pork tenderloin with porcini sauce from the rural household of Slavagora, and in Kršlin's mill you can try Žumberak trout stuffed with bacon and porcini. The restaurant Ljubekov gaj in the town Sveti Ivan Zelina will serve you wild boar stew, and in rural tourism Kezele you will get moslovačka kotlovina (a dish made by cooking various types of meet). In the wine-growing Plešivica, the Braje vineyard house prepares a classic - duck with mlinci (baked noodles) - or with Portuguese sauce. Order cutlets of the praised Turopolje pig in the Babriga bistro in Velika Gorica, as well as old white žganci (buckwheat flour and water) with butter sour cream or dishes with Turopolje truffles. At the time of St. Martin's Day, the queen of the feast is a stuffed St. Martin's goose, which is waiting for you in the Bunčić Family Cellar. And other roasted poultry, duck and turkey, is excellent in combination with chestnuts and apples. And seasonal fruit has found its place among desserts. Along with the omnipresent strudels and walnuts, try dumplings with plums or fried apples in the Stara preša restaurant, and pears in wine in the Zeleni papar restaurant. Chestnut season also brings a multitude of desserts, from more demanding cakes to simpler cakes. Taste the creative achievements of original high cuisine inspired by autumn in the restaurant of the family winery Korak. It goes without saying that all snacks are best watered with a local drop, a little more serious, fuller wines such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris or Chardonnay. A gourmet paradise awaits you in the Green Ring of Zagreb, and it's up to you to explore and taste. Have a nice autumn and good luck!