What makes Dalmatian food features so special to be a unique representative of Mediterranean cooking? In a few words, this cuisine’s highlights are its simplicity and naturalness.
Local recipes are passed between generations for centuries and defended with a great pride. Attributing epithets like easily digested, low-fat, moderately spicy, and ‘boiled’ to a local cuisine, it would undoubtedly mean – Dalmatian cuisine.
It’s an example of great care about what we take into the body to have longevity, energy, and slim line.
If it’s true that ‘love goes through the stomach’, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the tastes and flavors of Dalmatian cuisine!
A Typical Dalmatian Food Plate
So, what can be found on a typical Dalmatian plate? The abundance of fresh or cooked vegetables, typically local greens, homemade cheeses, and of course lots of fish and other seafood (clams, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, lobster, shrimp).
Thin slices of air-dried Dalmatian prsut (prosciutto) are often on the appetizer list, served with olives and cheese and followed by variety of meat dishes (like pasticada) or grill meat (Veal and lamb prepared under a baking bell – Peka).
Fish like bream, sea bass, gilt-head, grouper, mackerel, sardines, the main source of protein, are prepared in Dalmatia in different ways: boiled, fish soup, dense fish stews, risottos, grilled, baked in oven, marinated and salted. An example is foccacia filled with salted sardines known as Vis Pogaca (as in island Vis).
When talking about meat, the first kind that everyone has on mind is ham. Smoked Dalmatian ham, better known as Prsut, is dried on our unique Bura wind. Other prized meats include lamb and mutton.
One of the most important Dalmatian cuisine features is the use of plenty of vegetables like spinach, potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, artichokes, cabbage, all served with meat and fish. Pasta like gnocchi, spaghetti, and ravioli, is also very frequently served.
Dalmatian cuisine is not exaggerating with spices but you cannot imagine a typical Dalmatian meal without olive oil and fresh or dried herbs. Laurel is almost inevitable, as well as rosemary, basil, sage, parsley and garlic added to the fish.
Green and black olives, pickled onions and capers are usually present on the table at every meal.
When the time comes to cakes and pastries, Dalmatian cakes are made of fresh or dried fruits (raisins, figs), home-made honey way healthier than sugar, with the smooth cream rather enriched with the crunchy pieces of almonds and walnuts. Some common cake names are fritters, mandulat (honey and almonds), fig cake (smokva), flan (rozata) and so on.
Dalmatian Food Varieties
It is important to emphasize that the specific way of preparing individual dishes varies from place to place. You can find important differences in Dalmatian cooking from one island to the next.
Some islands also have unique dishes prepared only here:
- Brac island Vitalac – a traditional Brac dish prepared of lamb innards, typically grilled.
- Hvar island – goat cheese in olive oil with pepper.
- Hvar Gregada – A typical Hvar dish of several kinds of fish, boiled with potatoes.
- Foccacia with salted sardines on Vis island (Vis and Komiza towns)-
- Sinj town – Arambasici, the Dalmatian specialty quite similar to sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls), just not with minced meat, but cut with a knife.
Hopefully by now you know what to expect from Dalmatian cuisine.
My advice is to keep an open mind and try as many dishes as you can during your vacation, and I’m sure you’ll find quite a few which you’ll miss when you get back home.