« 2011年4月 | トップページ | 2011年6月 »


2011年5月31日 (火)

Croatian cuisines/クロアチア料理

My holiday destinations have always been Europe ever since my first visit to Austria in my late twenties. Europe is so fascinating because of the rich culture and nature.  I love just to lie down on beach, do some hiking in mountains, to visit churches and art museums as well as to watch architectures in town.  Different from Asia, where each country is more distinctive, I would say that Europe is fairly standardized (like peoples’ behaviors, the way of living, consumer products, transport system etc), but each country has surely some uniqueness.

I was in Croatia, which I’ve just found my 20th country to visit in Europe, for two weeks.  I always list up local foods and materials prior to holiday, gather more information by talking with the locals, and try one by one during the stay.  The Croatian gastronomy culture was wonderful, and I’ll share Croatian cuisines for the rest of this month. 

(Please refer to the articles from 10th to 31st May.)  Written on 10th May.


休暇前には、食材や郷土料理を調べ、リストアップをします。滞在中は、それをベースに、地元の人たちからも情報を収集しながら、ひとつひとつ試していきます。今月いっぱいは、そんなクロアチア料理の記事を書いていこうと思います。(記事は5月10日から31日までのものをご覧下さい。) 510日記

What’s more?/他には・・・

Though I spent three weeks writing articles on my hands-on experience of Croatian cuisine, there’re dishes that I missed unfortunately.

“Peka” is a simmered dish.  One kind from chicken, veal, lamb, squid, or octopus etc and vegetables are slowly cooked over wood coals in an ancient hearth.  To order the dish, minimum 4 people is needed and it takes at least 3 hours to cook.  “Sarma” is, as written in the meat dishes, cabbage roll, and it’s rolled in sauerkraut and a winter dish.  “Sipa na Korculanski” is a simmered dish from Korcula using “sipa”.  A restaurant told me that sipa is a kind of cuttlefish, which is not available this time of the year.  If it is, only frozen one.  “Rizotas tartufi” is white truffle risotto. Istria is the home of white truffle, but it’s an autumn delicacy.  “Vinski gulas”, wine goulash, “Janjetina na zaru”, grilled lamb (whole), “Purica s mlincima”, roast turkey with baked noodles ….. etc, there’re unmarked items on my list.

This is just an aside, but I was interviewed by a newspaper agency at a market the day before I was leaving. It was about the tourism in Zagreb and Croatia.  Recently I found the article and my comments and name on their web site.




2011年5月30日 (月)

Concept and marketing/コンセプトとマーケティング

I was walking the labyrinthine of streets in Dubrovnik and happened to pass in front of Sugar Spice, a cake shop.  First I was not paying attention to it, but something hooked in my mind, then I walked 20-30 steps backwards.  Gabi, the owner of the shop, has been making tailored cakes at some other place in the town, opened Sugar Spice in April this year.  She told me that two other women, who hid in the kitchen when I took photos, are working with her for the shop.  Sugar Spice is not a shop of everywhere, but it’s full of concept. As the name of the the shop suggests, cakes they bake are full of spices.   I believe to be successful in such business it to have solid concept, to be sure that the concept meets the market, and to let the market be aware of it.  I bought zucchini bread and torte.

ドブロブニクの迷路のような街路地を歩いているときに、Sugar Spiceというお店の前を通り過ぎました。最初は気にかけなかったものの、何か気になり、後ろ向きで20~30歩下がりました。オーナーのガビは、ドブロブニクの他の場所で、カスタムメイドのケーキを作っていて、このSugar Spice4月にオープンしたばかりだそうです。彼女の他に、2名の女性と経営されています。Sugar Spiceはどこにでもあるお店ではなく、彼女のコンセプトが詰まっています。お店の名の通り、ここのケーキはスパイスをふんだんに使っているそうです。こういうビジネスで成功するには、しっかりとしたコンセプトを持ち、そのコンセプトに合うマーケットがあり、そのマーケットに認知されていることだと思います。ズッキーニブレッド(珍しいです)とタルトを買いました。






Sugar & Spice

Address: Ulica Sv.Josipa 5 Stari Grad Dubrovnik Croatia

Tel: + 385 91 361 9550

2011年5月28日 (土)


Every town, big or small, has markets, where you can buy flowers, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish and no edibles such as clothing and house hold products.  Buying fresh foods and going out for a picnic is one idea.







Olive oil sold at a market reminded me of soy sauce.



Every vender was selling a lot of scampi. Mackerel, ankou (probably), and cuttlefish.






What a traditional way to weigh!



2011年5月26日 (木)

Bits and pieces – something Croatian/その他 – クロアチアの名産品

This is walnut brandy (Orahovica).  It seems to be universal that cooks and waiter/waitress positively try to respond when customer show strong interest in foods and drinks.  In a restaurant in Hungary, my neighbor speaking German helped me to communicate with a monolingual waiter, and then cooks were coming out from the kitchen to see who’s there and what’s up there.  In Croatia, some offered me recipes, some offered me extra foods, and a friendly waitress offered me this homemade walnut brandy as gratis.



The photos are; clockwise, KRAS chocolates, pepper biscuits, fig cake, NADARINA chocolates, chocolate and almonds meringues (Bobici).



KRAS is a Croatian company whose productions are cocoa products, biscuits and wafers, as well as sugar confectionery.  Their chocolates are at supermarkets everywhere and they also have their own shops. 


Pepper biscuits are typical Croatian souvenir.  According to the recipe book, they’re aromatic Christmas sweet and require skill and time to make because they are made with wooden moulds as in the old times.


Croatia is world renowned for figs, therefore there’re many fig products.  Fig cake is one example.


NADARINA is a chocolate company in Split.  They produce from small, one-bite size of chocolates to chocolate bars, and they create interesting flavors by mixing herbs.  One of such is, as shown in the photo, lavender.  There’s an island called Hvar near Split, which is famous for lavender and the island is full of smell of lavender.


The texture of chocolate and almonds meringues (Bobici) is crumble.  Bobici means “little broad beans” and got the name from the old believe that the beans mediate communication between the worlds of dead and living.  So, it represents the reunion of departed and alive.  (It seems bobici were served on the 2nd of November, Day of Dead, which is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who passed away.)


I love dairy products.  The right is sir i vrhnje, which means cheese and cream.  It’s lke drained tofu.  The left is kaymak, which is like clotted cream.



Tourism is a major industry in Croatia, I had few options for the recipe books written in English or German.  Still, I like the both, as one has more familiar dishes from Dalmatian cooking, and the other has explanation of gastronomy culture and background of the dishes.



2011年5月24日 (火)

Kid’s menu/お子様メニュー

There’s no “fami-res (family restaurant)” in Europe, and families with small children might wish if there’re such restaurant in eating out.  Kid’s menu is not standard either, I think.  I often saw it, however, in Croatia. They said “Hello Kitty” is for girls and “Big Ten” for boys.  I asked if the kid’s menu comes with free gift like so in Japan.  They don’t.  I told them about the common practice at Japanese restaurant and toys and small gifts that come with kid’s menu delight children.   They said they’ll consider it.

ヨーロッパには、所謂、ファミレスはほとんど存在しません。小さい子どもがいる家庭では、外食の際、ファミレスがあると、どれほど便利かと思うんじゃないでしょうか。お子様メニューも一般的ではないと思います。でも、クロアチアのレストランの多くに、お子様メニューがありました。これは一例ですが、Hello Kittyが女の子、Big Tenが男の子のメニューで、日本のようにおまけはないそうです。日本でのおまけつきお子様メニューの話と、おまけに子どもたちが大喜びすることを伝えたら、「検討します。」とのこと。


2011年5月22日 (日)

Fast foods/ファストフード

Burek with meat/cheese (Burek s mesom/sirom) originates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it’s a popular fast food in the Balkans.  One piece looked like a quarter of a whole and was as big as two of my hands.  You’ll be full only with this.



It’s always happen that the actual is different from the photo at an inexpensive restaurant or fast food shops.  The photo of fFried small fish (Girice) looked fish are battered and crispy, but I saw the shop staff was only tossing flour.



Homemade sausages (Domace kobasice) are just sausages, but I couldn’t help trying as it said “homemade”.



2011年5月20日 (金)


Fritule is like small doughnuts.  According to the recipe book, it’s for Christmas and Christmas would not be Christmas without fritters, loved by all Mediterranean coastal inhabitants.  They are always made from risen dough fried in oil, but today they are prepared in a more simple way, often yoghurt-based, or with baking powder.



Crème caramel (Rozata) is very rich.  As it sometimes called Dubrovnik rozata, it’s popular in the southern part of Dalmatia.



The word, Strudel (Salvijaca), is of German origin and tells us that it is connected with Viennese cuisine.  While cheese, apple and cherry are popular fillings, fruits and nuts are rolled in Dalmatian strudel .



I hardly had space for desserts at a restaurant in Korcula, an island in the Adriatic Sea, but I couldn’t resist when I found one which says Cake from korcula (Klasun).  It was baked cake and fruits paste was inside.



Pancake is called “palaschinta” in Hungary and “palachinke” in Croatia.  Though pancakes are so international, Croats have preserved their national characteristics, whether savory or sweet. 

The photo is Diplomat pancake (Diplomatske palacinke), the original pancake from the restaurant.  It was so fluffy with lots of meringue.



French mille-feulle, German Kremschnitte and Croatian Kremsnita are the same sweet, vanilla and custard cake.  Kremschnitte and kremsnita look the same, however, mille-feulle doesn’t.  Custard is sandwiched between piecrust.  Sambor is the famous for kremsnita.



Poppy seed roll (Makovnjaca) originates in central Europe.  It’s called Mohnkuchen in Germany and makos beigli in Hungary.  Yeast cake rolls are very popular in central and eastern Europe.  Of the same kind is Orehnjaca (Wallnuts roll).



2011年5月18日 (水)

Fish and seafood dishes/魚料理

Fish stew (Brudet/Brodeto) is popular in Adriatic coastal towns.  “Brodetto” is a local specialty in Marke, a “regione” in east of Italy.  Fish and seafood cooked in tomato sauce is on polenta. 



I asked about the difference between brudet and buzara.  One restaurant told me that only one kind of seafood (such as scampi, mussels and squid) and no fish is used for buzara.  This dish is made without any onion, but with olive oil, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and wine, and sometimes tomatoes, depending on whether we wish the buzara to be white or red.  The photo is Scampi a la “buzara” (Skampi na buzara).



There’re so many variations for Octopus salad (Salata od hobotnice).  The basic ingredients are octopus, onion, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.  Tomato and garbanzo are also in the salad I had.



What I liked about fish dishes in Croatia is that they’re cooked in many ways; grilled, smoked, stuffed, marinated, fried etc.  Only fries would be offered in the countries where people hardly eat fish.  Also, I noticed whole fish is served vertically and there’s no front and back.  (There’re rules in serving fish in Japanese cooking; fish is served horizontally and head is always on the left).  The first photo is Grilled sea bass (Lubin sa zara), and the second is Steak of fish Adriatic bonito (Palamida na zaru).




After traveling the Adriatic islands, I was heading off to the inland and stayed a couple of nights at a national park. Water (rivers and falls) are so clean and a lot of trout are here and there.  I was going to have more meat dishes after the Adriatic coast, but I couldn’t help trying trout; Grilled trout (Pastrva zara) and Smoked trout (Dimljena pastrava).





You might’ve noticed the green side dish for all the cooked fish.  It’s Swiss chard a la Dalmatia.  Swiss chard is called blitva in Croatian (and bietola in Italian).  Potatoes, boiled, baked, fried, mashed, are popular for the side dish (especially for meat dishes, I think), but I prefer green vegetables and always ask if it can be changed.  Swiss chard a la Dalmatia seems to be popular side dish, as every restaurant had it on the menu, and I always asked to change potatoes to Swiss chard.  Swiss chard and potatoes are boiled and seasoned with olive oil, garlic, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and Vegeta.  Potatoes can be cut into cubes or slices, or mash potatoes together Swiss chard.  Various leaf vegetables can be added to this mixture.


2011年5月16日 (月)

Meat dishes/肉料理

Dalmatian “pasticada” (Pasticada) is a stewed beef/lamb dish cooked in special sauce and it originates in Dalmatia.  It looks like a simple stew but requires long and careful preperation, which includes marinating the meat in vinegar, lemon and rosemary (some use other spices) for at least 24 hours.  Then it’s all cooked with carrots, cloves, nutmeg, red wine and diced proschiutto for two or three hours.  It’s usually served with gnocci or wide noodles.

The sauce was sweet and tasty, and the waitress told me that it’s made of vegetables and plum.




Hamburger steak (Cevapi) originates in Turkey’s kebab.  The dish is popular and there’re many kinds of variations across the Balkans.  The orange chutney in the picture is Ajvar, which is made of red pepper and aubergine.




Actually I was looking for Cabbage roll (Sarma).  You can find cabbage roll anywhere in the world, but what interests me was it’s rolled up in sauerkraut.  But I learned that it’s a winter dish and not available this time of the year.  So, instead, I tried something similar; Stuffed paprika (Punjena paprika). 



Schnitzel originates in Germany and Austria.  As there’s “Wiener Schnitzel”, there’s Zagreb style schnitzel (Zagreback odrezak).  What is Zagreb style is that cheese and ham are sandwiched by pork.  So, it’s a copy of Cordon bleu.  I also ordered potatoes baked Croatian style (Pekarsk krumpir) for the side dish, only because I wanted to know what “Croatian style” is like. Potato is boiled and baked with onions and carrots.  It’s like “Hutspot” in Netherland, which you use the same vegetables and it’s mashed.

Napkin was folded outside in at this restaurant, and I liked their thoughts.  There’re restaurants where napkins are folded very simply intentionally so that they can be kept clean, as they’re for customers to wipe their mouth.




2011年5月14日 (土)

Pasta, rice and pizza/パスタ、ライス、ピザ

Baked “Strukli” with spinach and cheese baked with cream (Strukli sa spinatomi i sirom) is a specialty in Northwest Croatia.  It’s an universal dish by fillings, how it’s cooked, and how it’s seasoned.  Only cheese or green vegetables and cheese as fillings are popular, and it seems that pumpkin and poppy seeds, buckwheat, millet are rolled in some regions.  It can be boiled, baked and oven baked, as well as served in soups with more milk and cream.  It may be savory or sweet.  It can be as hors-d’oeuvres, main dish, desserts and independent snack.

The other photo is also baked “Strukli” with cheese (Strukli sa sirom) at a bakery shop.




Crni rizot (Black risotto) is one of the popular dishes in the Adriatic islands.  It’s made with cuttlefish and infused with its ink to give it a remarkably light and sweet taste.  I noticed that most of the people were sprinkling Parmesan cheese, but I thought it will spoil the natural flavor of ink.  I tried just a smidgen anyway, and I thought I’m right.  I pointed it out to a waiter, and he just said “as you like”.  I didn’t mean to criticize, though.



I like to try anything seem to be local and home-style.  I found a restaurant in Hvar that offers foods prepared by the recipes passed down in the family for generations.  And the stuffed bread Dalmatian style was one of such and I was curious to know what stuffed bread in Dalmatian style is like.  I found it was nothing special after all but leaned that Dalmatian style includes anchovy, onions, tomato and olive.  Sounds like Mediterranean.



Pizzeria are everywhere in Croatia. In the beginning of my trip, I thought I never eat pizza during the stay.  But it’s like marketing effects, that is, the more you’re exposed, the more you feel you want.  Still, it should be something Croatian, I thought.  I found Pizza Croatia in the menu, and why they call it so is because they use Kuhlen sausages along with the ingredients of the above mentioned Dalmatian stuffed bread.  The sausage was on my list, so, I though why not.  I asked a waiter to show me Kuhlen and he brought some slices.  He explained that it’s spicy salami and a specialty from Slavonia, East part of Croatia, and cured for more than six months.




2011年5月12日 (木)


I could be wrong, but from my experience Croatian foods tastes either salty or something missing.  I thought they could create more kinds of recipes if they know how to use soy sauce.  This fish soup (Riblja juha) belongs to the latter.  Fish meat is at the bottom of the bowl.



Soup Zagorje style (Zagorska juha) is a soup from Zagorje, near Zagreb.  It’s a potato soup with red paprika.  It was one of the must-try in Zagreb, and asked a gentleman sitting nearby about the soup.  He was nice to offer the recipe by email, and I found at the last moment (when I was leaving) he was the elementary school teacher-turned-owner of the restaurant.



2011年5月10日 (火)


Cheese from the Pag island (Paski sir) is, as it says, hard cheese from the Pag island.  

It’s dried and salted in the air, flavored by the rare herbs the sheep fed on along the rocks.  The cheese is highly valued and costs much more than others.  It was one of the best I’ve ever had, and the red wine was the best of all I had in Croatia. (it was made by the restaurant).



This is the equivalent to Italian prosciuto, Spanish Jamon, French Jambon, and German Speck.  In Dalmatia they seem to praise rosiness and toughness of Dalmatian smoked ham (Dalmatinski prusut).  It was served nicely, shaping flowers.



2011年5月 8日 (日)

Pineapple fried rice/パイナップルライス

Pineapple rice would be one of the popular Thai foods.  Though I’ve been there twice, 

I always miss to try the local fried rice there.  Personally I prefer to eat fruits as they’re, fresh, not cooked, and sweet and sour is not my taste.  Still, I like the aroma and natural sourness that come from pineapple.  Pineapple is rich in vitamin B1, B2 and citric acid, and it helps break down carbohydrate.  It softens meat and stimulates digestion.



2011年5月 6日 (金)

Poulet au Cordon Bleu/チキンコルドンブルー

Poulet au Cordon Bleu is actually not the main topic for today but the tomato sauce.  Diversity of tomato sauce was mentioned while ago, and this is another example.  It’s not only for pasta but also as sauce for meat, fish, and egg too.

Also a bit about poulet au Cordon Bleu.  It’s a dish that ham and cheese are sandwiched by chicken, and it used to be regarded as a fine food.  (French) Chevaliers in the 16th century wearing cross with blue ribbon were called Cordon Bleu.  They were known as gourmet and so were their gastronomical feasts.  It was handed down and Cordon Bleu has become synonymous with top chef and quality food.




2011年5月 2日 (月)

Red pepper mousse/赤パプリカのムース トマトソース添え

We had a “restaurant practice” at a cookery school.  It was held once a week at a school restaurant.  We students were supposed to make a pair, and almost every week a pair prepares for one of course menus (appetizer, soup, main and dessert) for 50 people.  What’s covered in the training is mostly French, and it was different from home-style cooking as it’s served at a restaurant (even it’s in our school).  Whether I want to cook the same at home, I would say, “Yes, but … (too much….)”.  I do it once in a while, however, because I don’t want to forget sensitivity that required in cooking and in serving people meals.

Red pepper mousse is one of the appetizers that I’ve covered at the training.  The method is the same as dessert mousse, that is, mixing main ingredient and cream.  And as this is an appetizer, no sugar but salt and pepper to taste.




« 2011年4月 | トップページ | 2011年6月 »