Savour the oysters and mussels of Ston, the finest shellfish in the Adriatic, the eel and frog stew from the Neretva valley with some of the best wines from the south, such as Dingač and Postup from Pelješac and Pošip and Grk from Korčula, not to mention Dubrovnik's malvasia from Konavle. And if you are looking for something sweet, indulge yourself with pastries like Rožata, Kotonjata or Mantala cakes.
When people see Dubrovnik for the first time from an aeroplane, car or ship, the view of the city is permanently engraved in their memory. And the genius of the people of Dubrovnik has proved itself in all fields of human creation, including gastronomy.
Fresh ingredients - Maja Danica Pečanić/CNTB
Along with all the benefits of the climate and land in the surroundings of Dubrovnik, on Pelješac and the islands, the sailors of Dubrovnik continuously brought seeds, seedlings, fruit and spices from exotic markets on their travels, also transferring culinary ideas from faraway regions. Culinary multiculturalism has been active in Dubrovnik for centuries. In the contemporary hospitality of this region this unique tradition is maintained to this day in the whole range from the rural cuisine of open-fire and grilled preparation of food that we find in Konavle villages to the most luxurious Adriatic restaurants with magnificent views of the city walls.
Five "must tastes" from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County
Šporki makaruli from Dubrovnik is a delicious pasta with meat sauce, often prepared on the eve of the Festival of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik. The dish dates back to a time when the best pieces of meat in the delicious sauce were reserved for the Dubrovnik aristocracy, while the last plates of the makaruli were given to their trusted servants as a meal. The meatless makaruli that were covered only with the sauce were called šporkani or "dirty", which is how this traditional dish came to be known. The meat sauce served with makaruli was based on beef, and the actual meat used varied depending on what was available at the time.
The "green stew" from Konavle (konavoska zelena menestra) is considered to be an original dish from the area of Dubrovnik. Historical records from the 15th century mention the dish as a speciality of the area of Konavle. During the winter season, a full pot of this dish would be made as a filling and nutritious meal that would feed a larger number of people. It provided a true feast at a time when fresh vegetables and meat were scarce. Several types of dried meat are used to make the green stew, as well as green cabbage (known locally as raštanj), white or head cabbage, potatoes and kale. Whatever was at hand would find its way to this dried-meat stew – ribs, shank, pig head, dried mutton or kaštradina, pancetta, Dalmatian prosciutto or the bone from it, and sometimes even a sausage or two. Some pieces of dried meat would be soaked in tepid water the day before cooking if needed, so as to eliminate excess salt.
Dubrovnik Malvasia has been grown in the Dubrovnik area for over six centuries. It now produces dry and fresh wines, as well as strong and sweet Prošek wines. Although its name suggests that it originates somewhere around the city of Dubrovnik, the highly valued Dubrovnik Malvasia (malvazija dubrovačka in Croatian) is not an indigenous Croatian variety. It is believed that it originated in Greece, and from there spread to Italy, Spain and Croatia. Nowadays, it can be found in every Mediterranean country that cultivates vineyards.
Rozata, rožata or rožada has many fans throughout the country and is prepared in snack bars and high-quality restaurants, as well as in many homes as a sweet end to a rich lunch. Just as many other sweets which have survived the centuries by being passed from generation to generation, rožata is also prepared from simple and modest ingredients. Namely, the basic elements of this creamy and refreshing dessert are milk, eggs and sugar, and for the unique aroma a liqueur made from roses known as Rosalin or Rozulin, to which this dessert owes its name, is used.
Grated orange peel has been used in cuisine for centuries due to the aroma that it gives to food, it is indispensable in the preparation of numerous cakes, and can also be eaten on its own, cooked, dried and sugared as a special tasty sweet snack called arancini (candied orange peel). These tasty snacks are prepared from unsprayed local oranges, and the thicker the skin they have means that the arancini will be more delicious.