No sailing holiday is complete without the culinary charm that Dalmatia brings. Whether you’re enjoying lamb or octopus prepared ‘under the bell’ (what we like to call ‘peka’) or indulging in silky homemade olive oil and fresh produce straight from the hands of local farmers, your taste buds will yearn for the flavors of this Croatian region time and time again.
In a country abounding in history, it’s no surprise that ancient customs carry many culinary traditions, and Dalmatian deserts will undoubtedly be the sweet cherry on top of your sailing vacation.
But what should you taste to tempt your sugary palate while at sea?
We have a list of the top Dalmatian desserts you won't want to leave the county before eating.
This decadent yet delicate Dalmatian dessert is a favorite after-dinner treat found on many traditional dining tables. With eggs in focus, likely retrieved that morning, there is no better feeling than your grandmother’s warm and welcoming hands serving you paradižot. But what is it, exactly?
You may recognize it better in variations seen around the world. The English, for example, call it ‘floating island’, the French ‘les œufs à la neige’ (snow eggs), the Germans Schnee-Eier (also snow eggs), and the Poles zupa nic (bird's milk).
Layered with Maraschino-cherry soaked biscuits (usually Petit Beurre), sugared and whisked egg-white dumplings dropped in warm milk, and a lemon-hinted egg-yolk custard, this dessert is sprinkled with shaved chocolate before it's cooled to refresh you on a warm summer day.
Because any candied fruit peel is worth trying. One of the simplest Dalmatian desserts on the list, arančini is said to be a specialty of the Neretva Valley, which wouldn’t be far off thanks to their mandarin harvest each year.
To make arančini, all you need are orange peels, sugar, and water. Yes, that’s it. And in addition to being that simple, arančini are a great way to limit waste. So why not put those orange peels to good use for this sweet and sour Dalmatian treat?
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Limunčini is also popular, which is essentially lemon peels made the same way!
There is no Christmas morning in Dalmatia without the smell of fritule, or fried dough balls that resemble donut holes in the United States. With sweet scents of citrus and powdered sugar, these addictive treats are commonplace around the region any time of the year, though they hit differently once you bite into one with that festive Christmas morning dew.
While there are many variations for fritule, with many fun additions discovered over the years, fritule are quite simple in their original form.
Perhaps the most common fritule recipe to follow includes yogurt, eggs, vanilla sugar (and regular sugar), flour, baking powder, and, of course, a touch of rakija (the best Balkan spirit). Whisk the mixture in a bowl, heat some oil, and use a spoon to form perfectly rounded balls while frying. Once you pop them out, powder them with sugar and try not to finish them off all at once!
Splitska torta (or Split cake) gives away its origins in its name. This heavenly cake uses fruits you’ll typically find in the Dalmatian climate, like walnuts, figs, and raisins.
The cake part itself is pretty simple. Chop walnuts, figs, and raisins and mix with flour, sugar, and egg whites. Bake for 20 or so minutes while preparing a cream of egg yolk, sugar, and butter. This layered cake boasts bites of cream and an explosion of Dalmatia’s best flavors in each bite.
This traditional Split dessert is seen on all occasions, from weddings to decked-out Christmas tables, and one thing is for sure - it never goes out of style. The City of Split even promotes this cake as part of its traditional culinary heritage while celebrating its patron saint, Saint Domnius. The tastiest Splitska torta wins!
Rožata is part of the gastronomic heritage of medieval Dalmatia, especially Dubrovnik, and is said to have survived the threat of Venetians and Ottomans. While this recipe has been passed down by generations for centuries, it has maintained its original form, which you may find similar to flan, creme caramel, or creme brulee.
The base of the recipe is milk, eggs, and sugar, with lemon zest and caramel. Should you wish to keep the traditions of Dubrovnik alive, you can enrich your rožata with rose liqueur.
Former US President George W. Bush was even served rožata for dessert at a gala dinner in Zagreb during his visit in 2008!