People love eating as much as they love traveling and if you put these two things together you will get the formula for an amazing holiday. Have you ever visited another country, without a desire to taste and enjoy local food? If you have, stop reading this article and read some news about the last football game or something else. If you haven't, then you know what are we talking about. Experiencing the local culture is a huge part of traveling and trying traditional food is largely connected with that cultural experience. It is the best way to be connected and understand the culture of the community.
To get to know Croatian traditional food, we will start with something sweet from Zagreb and its surroundings. Here is our list of 5 finger-licking desserts that will give you a foodgasm and something you must try when visiting Zagreb.
1. Kremšnita (Custard slice cake)
It is creamy heaven on Earth with its signature thin, crispy puff pastry top and its soft filling on the inside. The combination of whipped and custard cream filling makes it a bit lighter than other similar desserts, but make no mistake – it’s the opposite of a light coffee cake. In Croatia, the two most popular variants of custard slice are Samoborska kremšnita from the town of Samobor and Zagrebačka kremšnita from the capital, Zagreb. In Samobor they use to have a puff pastry top, while in Zagreb is characteristic chocolate icing instead of the puff pastry top.
2. Orahnjača (Nut roll)
Orahnjača is a pastry consisting of sweet yeast dough that is rolled in our very thin, spread with a nut paste made from groundnuts. The traditional Croatian variant can be a sweet and spongy or a crispy roll, which is perfectly complemented by walnuts and carob despite its texture. There are various recipes for this ever-classic dessert, which you can find in many bakeries/ supermarkets. But if you’re up to some kneading, you’ll be ah-mazed by the taste of the homemade orahnjača.
3. Šnenokle (Floating island)
This Austrian-origin dessert, consisting of meringue floating on vanilla custard, became a vital part of local dessert you will find and enjoy in Zagreb. Whipped egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolks, and milk are ingredients that will not allow you to stop eating this dessert. In Croatia, unlike the Austrians, we prefer to put the biscuits on the bottom of the bowl as well as sprinkle the dessert with grated chocolate.
4. Zagrebačke kocke (Zagreb cube cake)
This is a childhood cake of all of us who grew up in Zagreb. This ‘antique’ cake is very juicy and creamy. A real creamy cake with a black biscuit base made of cocoa with which a fine not too sweet cream of egg yolks, milk, eggs, and flour is ideally combined, and in the end, as a crown of everything, sweet juicy egg whites.
5. Štrudla od jabuka (Apple strudel)
Apple strudel known world-wide as a traditional Viennese Strudel is popular in almost all countries that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A pastry jacket with a filling made of grated cooking apples, sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs is has been eaten in Zagreb since the 17th century. As a central-European city and a city with strong Austrian influence, Zagreb is very proud that this famous and delicious dessert belongs to a part of its tradition as well. Definitely the best cake that will help you to understand the history of Zagreb.
Bajadera cake is a layered nougat with almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts. It is hearty, palatable, and flavor-rich traditional home-made dessert. Bajadera is produced commercially by the Kraš confectionery company (Zagreb, Croatia) and it is something every Croat knows. So, next time you will visit Zagreb, enjoy Bajadera cake in some local pastry shop and bring home Bajadera bars to your family and friends as a sweet souvenir from Zagreb 😊