What to eat in Zagreb County?
The phrase “from the farm to the table” is not just a modern trend in Zagreb County. It is, and always has been, a way of life. And the table is by no means small. The Green Ring surrounding Zagreb is primarily a rural region; the food from these fertile fields has always reached Zagreb. A good portion of the best known and loved traditional recipes originated here, in these villages, from ingredients that were always nearby and available, as the hardworking hands turned them into simple everyday dishes or family feasts. Eggs, dairy products, flour, semolina, seasonal fruits and vegetables from the garden, less often meat – these form the foundation of the homestyle cuisine of Zagreb County. The entire region, including Prigorje, Moslavina, Turopolje, Jastrebarsko, Samobor and Zaprešić, all nurture a similar culinary identity, though each of these areas have their own distinctive, local delicacies. The restaurants and households of Zagreb County respect tradition, and are waiting to tell their story on your plate – it is up to you to visit them and explore.
- Rudarska greblica
This humble but delicious savoury cake made of thin pastry dough filled with cow’s cheese and other fillings, such as nuts, carrots, the leaves of spring onions, nettles or spinach, originates from a small village near Samobor. It was proclaimed the first protected culinary product in Zagreb County. Long ago, it was the lunch snack for miners, while today it is the original street food of the Samobor region.
- Plešivički Copanjek
What greblica is on one side of the Samobor Gorje hills, copanjek is on the other side in the Plešivica area. A savoury cake filled with seasonal greens that proves that the little, simple things are often times the best.
- Vrbovečka pera
This is a savoury pastry made from simple ingredients that could be found in every household. This is made from leavened dough and filled with a mixture of cheese, cream, eggs and corn semolina. A textbook example of the luxury of simple rural cuisine.
- Samobor kremšnita
A sweet delicacy that needs no introduction, the kremšnita (custard slice) is a slice of airy, creamy happiness between two sheets of pastry. The base is an egg custard, similar to certain variations found in Central Europe, but for us, the Samobor version is the queen of desserts.
These simple corn squares were once the dessert of the poor, but today they are a beloved treat throughout northern Croatia, and come in countless varieties. The base always consists of farm eggs, corn flour, fresh cheese or cream.
- Samobor Salami
A mild salami made of the best cuts of pork based on a recipe developed by generations is today one of the trademarks of Zagreb County. The fact that a Samobor Salami competition is held every year is the best proof of how much this product means to the people of Samobor.
In addition to being a special dish, kotlovina (meat and potato stew) is a complex cooking procedure, the creation of our ancestors. This delectable, traditional dish combines several types of meat, vegetables and spices, and is cooked for hours over an open fire outdoors, in a special cast iron pot.
- Bele kobase and vankuši
Vankuši and Bele kobase are local delicacies that arose during former impoverished times in the Ivanić-Grad area, from ingredients that were readily available in the household. Once prepared frequently, today they are a true rarity. The “vankuš” is a wheat dough that is pulled out thin, as though to make strudel, and then filled with cow’s cheese, eggs and cornflour, while “bele kobase” (white sausages) are sausages filled with seasoned meat and corn flour.
- Kotlet s trsja (Cutlets from the vine)
In order to combine the wine-growing tradition with good food, this recipe for pork cutlets is marinated in a sauce of grapes, wine and spices. A hearty meal for the serious gourmand, it is most often prepared during harvest time.
- Žumberak trout
The cold mountain streams of the Žumberak region abound in trout, and they are tastiest when freshly caught, dredged in corn flour or crushed pumpkin seeds, and grilled. For a real bite of hedonism, try them stuffed with porcini mushrooms.