There is something special about seafood, and not just because its name pays tribute to the authentic edible experience you’ll encounter. Seafood seduces foodies far and wide thanks to the colorful marine life found in each environment, with fish and shellfish transformed into culinary creations carved by country. And it is not difficult to see why the Croatian coast is the captain of this cuisine.
Seafood is best indulged at sea, where sailing holidays are designed to whisk bon vivants from one island restaurant to the next. And should you wish to shuck oysters on your sailboat instead? Sailing Croatia ensures that the idea of the sea - and food - is never sundered, no matter where you are.
In an effort to present the best of Croatian coastal cuisine and primarily the most divine dishes in Dalmatia, here are five must-eat menu items on your next Croatian sailing vacation.
Not only is the octopus an animal of mystery, but Croatian chefs go to great lengths to ensure no octopus salad in Dalmatia is the same. And if you were to try the octopus salad at a different restaurant each day of your sailing trip, we guarantee you’ll discover something different about each dish. However, the foundation of Dalmatian octopus salad lies in cooked octopus, olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, red onions, and boiled potatoes. But as a way to use culinary creativity, it’s not uncommon to decorate octopus salad with tomatoes, chickpeas, apples, garlic, capers, or olives, while many are served on a bed of rocket and dressed with parsley.
This dish of many names (brujet, brudet, or brodet) is one Dalmatian classic you’ll likely enjoy on an island, at a family-run konoba, from a pot as big as the wooden table it sits atop. A traditional stew that uses three types of the freshest fish you catch that day is given life thanks to olive oil, garlic, and onions, with tomatoes and white wine as an acidic flavor enhancer to complete this seafood delicacy. Brujet is usually served over a bed of polenta, which soaks the stew into each granule, allowing for an aromatic edible experience you’ll be hard-pressed to find on any other sailing holiday.
This savory and silky risotto may leave a dark stain on your tongue, but we promise there is no better way to paint your tastebuds than with black risotto. Using the ink sac from squid or cuttlefish as the base of this black beauty, the Dalmatian way also calls for prošek, or Dalmatian dessert wine, which contributes to its rich and decadent flavor. Decorated with parsley to heighten its obsidian hue, black risotto can be enjoyed at most taverns (or konobas) on the Croatian coast. Your only job is to judge which one is best.
It’s not often you come across dishes dating back to ancient Greece, but when your sailboat takes you to the island of Hvar, you’ll indulge in one specialty that brings you back in time.
Gregada, or forska gregoda (Hvar gregada), was beloved in the days of Pharos (Hvar), especially in the 2400-year old town of Stari Grad. And we wouldn't name two fish stews in one list if it wasn't worth it. Unlike brujet, gregada is founded on white fish, garlic, onion, and potatoes, with only a few necessary spices needed to create perfectly-seasoned Pharos fare. This stew is also cooked on high heat, transforming the broth from a soup to the main meal. Topped with homemade olive oil and parsley, gregada will be enjoyed for many centuries to come.
Buzara is more than just a fun word to say - it’s one of the essential menu items you’ll be digging into on your Dalmatian sailing holiday. And it’s simple. Using scampi or mussels as the star, buzara is a sauce that mixes olive oil, wine, garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Now, you should be made aware that there are two types of buzara sauces - white or red - with the latter calling for a touch of tomato sauce to enhance this brilliant bread-dipping dish. You’ll want to make sure you have enough crusty bread to go around.
Bonus tip: No Dalmatian sailing holiday is complete until you’ve also tried the simplest dish of them all - grilled fish. While these other delicacies entice eaters due to a combination of unique flavors, grilled fish in Dalmatia is prepared with the bare minimum - salt, garlic, and olive oil. You can always add a few sprigs of rosemary to the process should you feel like branching out. No matter where you’re indulging on your sailing vacation, should you be offered the daily catch at one of the many seaside restaurants you’ll visit, don’t hesitate to ask your waiter to find out more.
Ready to book your next yacht charter, sailing from one Dalmatian delicacy to the next? Get in touch - we have you, and your appetite covered.