The culinary side of the Croatian coast is garnished with recipes borne from age-old customs and cooking traditions, using few ingredients to create delectable and delightful dishes that wow even the most demanding of gourmands.
Your edible exploration of the coast abounds in an array of flavors depending on the region you choose to uncover, which tempts foodies to opt for a yacht charter on a sailing holiday to discover it all.
Sailing Croatia offers you an endless expedition into the essence that makes Croatian cuisine as extraordinary as Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay have revealed, and your next Croatian sailing vacation can crack the culinary code to Croatian cooking if you follow our lead.
Should your sailboat depart from the Zadar region, likely from Marina Kornati, you’re only a hop, skip, and short jump from one of Croatia’s most applauded gourmet destinations - the island of Pag. And there are two specialties one cannot leave Pag without trying - lamb and cheese.
Protected at both the national and European levels, Pag lamb owes its distinct flavor to the infamous northern ‘bura’ wind, which salts the terrain where the sheep graze. Over 35,000 sheep roam on this island, passing this unique flavor to their lambs through milk, ultimately producing what we know as Paška janjetina, Croatia’s most-prized culinary possession. Pag lambs never weigh more than 10 kilos and are deemed the most tender before they are 45 days old.
But lamb isn’t all the rage on Pag, as the world’s best cheese lives here, too. Pag cheese, or Paški sir, is internationally famous sheep milk cheese that is also protected at the national and European levels. Hosting two famed factories on the island, Paška sirana and Gligora, this cheese owes its award-winning taste to Pag sheep that eat a Mediterranean diet based on medicinal herbs, dusted with bura-blown sea salt to add that Pag Island flair. The final product is salty and nutty as the caramel-colored bits crumble in your mouth.
Being Croatia’s second-largest city and wildly popular tourism hub, it’s no surprise that the Split region has many marinas from which charter boats will whisk you away on your yacht holiday. Perhaps the most popular and certainly our favorite is Marina Kaštela, a short drive from the center of Split and only a few minutes from Split Airport. And should you start your journey here? You’ll have a front seat to the island of Brač and one of Croatia’s oddest meat delicacies - vitalac.
Vitalac is one of Brač Island’s most important traditions with roots back to Greek civilization. On the list of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage, this meat-heavy dish uses pieces of suckling lambs’ or young goats’ innards, like the liver, heart, lungs, and spleen, which are then skewered, salted, and stuffed in the animal’s abdomen. It is then wrapped with the small intestine and roasted over coals, served with potatoes soaked by the vitalac drippings.
And if you’d prefer something a bit… lighter? Komiža pie or Komiška pogača comes from the charming town of Komiža on the island of Vis. A friend of meat-eaters and pescetarians alike, Komiža pie is a focaccia-like bread, topped with tomato sauce, red onions, and salted anchovies, and baked like a pizza without the cheese. Simple and tasty, this is a staple of Vis Island, and especially the sleepy fishing town of Komiža.
As you make your way down the Croatian coast to the Adriatic Pearl, there are two sailing stops you’ll want to make outside of the Dubrovnik walls. First, not far from our ACI Marina Dubrovnik base is the island of Korčula, a foodie haven where pasta lovers thrive. Korčula is particularly popular for one type of pasta, makaruni. A homemade tubular pasta mainly associated with the small village of Žrnovo, this ancient recipe is usually topped with a traditional, no-frills meat sauce. But you can enjoy it whichever way you please.
Last but not least, the town that boasts the "European wall of China" is also known for farming European flat oysters in its bay. Meet Ston, particularly Mali Ston Bay, where some of the world’s best oysters have been cultivated since the 17th century, though they’ve been eaten as a delicacy in the area since ancient Roman times. Best enjoyed raw, chilled, and paired with the wine of your choice; this natural aphrodisiac completes your Adriatic food odyssey at sea, where there is no better place to eat.
Check out our website for more information about sailing routes and charter options, and contact us for the best insider tips on where to indulge on your next sailing vacation!