The coastal region of Croatia — known as Dalmatia — is insanely beautiful. But it also has ~very~ delicious food. Here's what you've gotta eat and drink when you're there.
Dalmatia is also known for these babies. Most of them come from Ston and Mali Ston, two small villages in the Ston region on the Pelješac peninsula, about an hour north of Dubrovnik. AND SERIOUSLY, DO YOU SEE HOW BIG THEY ARE? Lol that's what she said, but also, it's true.
You can even order them baked. Which means that, yes, they are covered in cheese — always a good idea.
Carpaccio — or thinly sliced raw meat or fish — is popular in coastal Croatia, and for good reason: The country's right across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, where the stuff originated. In addition to common varieties like tuna (left) and beef (right), some restaurants serve vegetarian options as well, like zucchini carpaccio.
4. Seafood risotto:
You can't really go wrong with seafood anything in coastal Croatia. That's because the Adriatic Sea is super fresh; they don't have any big industries there, so the water is very clean — which means the fish are too.
5. Or cuttlefish black risotto:
Black risotto is a very well-known Dalmatian specialty. The cool thing about this dish, other than the fact that it tastes delicious, is that it leaves your tongue black. And since this dish is such a Dalmatian staple, your black tongue is basically like a (very impermanent) souvenir of your time on the coast.
6. ALL OF THE BREAD AND OLIVE OIL:
7. And the cheeeeeeeese:
8. And the local wine:
There are over 300 defined wine regions scattered throughout Croatia. But, sadly for us, they don't have a hugely developed export market, which is why you may not have ever tried it before.
The wineries in the interior of the country produce mostly white wine, while the wineries along the Dalmatian coast cultivate mostly red. (Rosé isn't a huge thing there.) The best part of the wine in Croatia, though, is the fact that, much like the rest of Europe, you drink it at every meal, minus breakfast. Sold.
9. Handmade pasta:
Croatia is very well-known for its homemade pasta, which is due to the influence of its neighbor Italy. Local favorites include spaghetti, macaroni, and gnocchi — and fresh cheese is often standard.
Burek is a savory phyllo pastry filled with either meat, vegetables, or cheese, and it's been around since the former Ottoman Empire. (It's also an amazing drunk munchie food, just sayin'.) Croatians usually prepare it in a large pan and then cut it into squares, like you see above. You can find burek at most pekaras, which are Croatian bakeries. Most locals prefer the burek their mothers make at home to the pekara version, but they also say pekara burek works in a pinch!
It's really just well-seasoned sausages on a roll with a bunch of toppings, but something about the way they prepare it makes it taste way better than it sounds. You can get it with all sorts of stuff — onions, tomatoes, etc. — but the ~legit~ local way to eat it is just with straight ketchup. Cevapi is available at most fast-food cafes, which are literally all over Croatia.
12. All of the spirits:
Croatia is very well-known for both fruity liqueur, which is made from wine or fermented fruit juice, and rakija, which is made from various local fruits. The idea is to sip these spirits either before a meal to warm up your palate for your food, or afterward to help you wind down. (A word of caution, though: Fruit liqueurs in particular don't taste that alcoholic, but they totally are — so act accordingly.) More info here.
13. White fish and blitva:
14. Almond cake:
Almond cake is a ~very~ traditional Dalmatian cake made mostly from almonds and cheese, and it's what most locals had for their birthdays and special occasions growing up.
If you've already been and have your own recommendation, let us know in the comments below!
Hotel and airfare were provided free of charge by the Croatia Tourism Board and Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik. BuzzFeed writers do not guarantee coverage.