Croatia has plenty to offer

FRANCE will face Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday... much to England’s disappointment.

France will be firm favourites to win their second world title, although their opponents have shown already that they are no pushovers.

But what would happen if the countries were battling each other for the cuisine World Cup?

Again, France would be favourites, but Croatia also has plenty to offer.

Each region of the country has its own culinary traditions, all dating back to ancient times.

Mainland cuisine is characterised by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with neighbouring cultures.

But the coastal regions have been influenced by Greek, Roman and Mediterranean cuisine.

So, if you are visiting Croatia for a beach holiday, you will find the chefs use olive oil and plenty of herbs and spices.

Food from other former Yugoslav countries are also popular in Croatia.

We include here some recipes that Croatia’s 1,700-strong Jewish community would make in their own homes.

Croatian Baked Strukli


For the dough:

  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 100ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

  • 600g fresh cottage cheese
  • 100g butter, softened + 2 tbsp
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 ml sour cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the topping:
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Salt
  • Butter


To make the dough: Sift flour combined with salt onto surface and make indentation in the middle. Put one egg into that indentation, add oil and combine all ingredients using fork.

Mix some lukewarm water with vinegar and gradually add to the dough, until it all comes together. Knead the dough with hands until it is smooth.

Divide dough into three equal parts, brush each with oil and cover with warm pot. Leave for 30 minutes.

While the dough rests, prepare the filling: Mix softened butter with fresh cottage cheese, add eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Take a clean tablecloth and dust with some flour. Put part of the dough onto it, roll out with rolling pin until thin and then begin stretching it with your palms. For strukli you don’t need to make the dough too thin.

Cut out thick edges. It’s good to leave the dough for 15 minutes to dry slightly. Sprinkle it with some melted butter. Brush the filling over the dough — brush only half of the dough.

Roll it. Using your hands, separate the dough into equal parts and cut with a plate, which seals the edges and ensures the filling doesn’t pour out of strukli.

Take a baking pan, brush it with some butter and assemble strukli in it. Preheat oven to 200°C.

Make the topping: combine sour cream with some salt and pour it over strukli. Place a couple of cubes of butter on top and finish with some grated cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.

Dalmatinska Pašticada

Pašticada is a stewed beef dish from the Dalmatian region of Croatia.

The original version includes pancetta, which is obviously not kosher, but its exclusion will not affect the flavour too much.

The distinct flavour of the sauce makes this dish, espcially the prunes and the sweet dessert wine prošek. If you cannot find prošek, any sweet dessert wine will be fine.


  • 2.5kg beef
  • 900g carrots
  • 300g celery
  • 200g parsley root
  • 200ml apple cider vinegar
  • 400ml red wine
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15 prunes
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp plum jam
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Prošek wine


Slice the garlic lengthways, chop the onions, carrots, celery and parsley.

Run a sharp knife along the beef opening it up. Insert the garlic into the slits. Place in a dish and pour some vinegar and red wine over it, salt and pepper, bay leaf, rosemary and cover and let marinate overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven at 160°C. Put a bit of olive oil in casserole pan over a high heat and brown the beef all over.

Once brown add more olive oil, a splash of prošek — or other sweet dessert wine — onions, the rest of the marinade, including the celery and bay leaf.

Let it cook in the oven for about 15 minutes then add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, cloves, prunes and cover. Cook on low heat.

After about 3 hours of cooking take out the bay leaf, rosemary and meat. With a mixer ground down the vegetables into a sauce, adding the honey and the jam. Mix well to you get a sauce.

Carve the meat into 1 cm thick slices.

Place the meat on a plate with the sauce next to it and serve with gnocchi.

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