Valley, which extends all the way to the famous Kutjevo vineyards and cellars, and the hills that surround the very Požega highlands, Kamensko and the slopes of Papuk. It seems that everything around here evolved around and exists because of wine, while the wine and culinary flagship of Western cuisine is not conceivable without their top varieties, the already mentioned Traminac, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Šipelj. Every meal is followed with a carefully selected wine, creating a special gastro-oenological circle. Adjacent to Slavonia are Moslavina, Posavina and Banovina. Their original cellars ripen Škrlet, Moslavac, Kraljevina, Frankovka and the whole range of afore-mentioned European white and red wines. The cellars have old cauldrons and the area is famous for roast meat platters from these, which are more ancient than the open-fire baked meat and sausages in fat, pepper and, of course, wine, adding more recently various vegetables and baked beans. Rabbit, poultry and game stew are boiled in pans over a fire. Here, geese and ducks can be seen roasting on a spit, especially during St. Martin, when the saint is said to come and baptise the young wine. Podravina is proud of its festive tables, which offer marinated meat preserved in lard and diced bacon, which connects the province with Međimurje, Croatia’s land of fairy tales. In the mist rising over its rivers, forests, groves, fields and vineyards one can listen to a song from enchanted creatures from Međimurje’s mythology. The creatures sneak through the flavours of ducks and geese roasted in their own fat, meat from tiblica (a bowl characteristic of the Međimurje region used to prepare meat dishes) and pork in sour cream, wine and mushrooms, fish from the Drava and Mura rivers, especially the famous trout in red wine, which along with a dozen kinds of Međimurje pastry, swell on the tables looking like stuffed dwarfs. Everyone is seated or lying on tables, and next to them pushing through come the gourmets and drunkards of old from Čakovec, town of the Zrinski family and Varaždin, a Baroque centre of northern Croatia, an urban centre and the former Croatian capital. They are proud members of one of the most famous baroque
butchers’ guilds of Europe, the body that has ruled their city for two centuries. For them were prepared old Varaždin rajžleci (an old dish made of veal stomach), pâtés made from livers and poultry, and veal shank in wine and cream, as well as stuffed goose and duck breast in gingerbread dough. In one whole day of feasting, according to books neatly written by Varaždin’s butcher’s guild, back in 1693, these gourmet masters, about thirty of them, consumed no less than one whole calf, four pigs, a dozen pounds of cooked beef, a few chickens, pigeons, turkeys, geese and ducks, along with a brace of rabbits, wild birds, lots of sausage, exactly 22 hens, a few ox tongues on skewers and a bunch of snails. If you leave out the desserts, it is noted that on this ancient day, a few hundred litres of wine was drunk, and if the accounts are to be trusted, exactly 360 litres, but that is, to tell the truth, an unbelievable amount. However, those are extremely delicious and nicely decorated menus depicting palaces and bell-towers of the historical Croatian capital, but also of Međimurje’s capital. The wine from nearby Međimurje Štrigova is poured into glasses, the wines gurgle and clinking of the goblets full of indigenous Međimurje Pušipel and golden Muškat blend with aromas and flavours of excellent and original dishes listed in the famous 17th century cookbook from the palace of the Zrinski family in Čakovec, in which for each recipe, the original baroque culinary experience is explained. The dishes were cooked in the kitchens of this powerful family and relied equally on European influences, especially those from Italy, Hungary and Austria, Germany, Portugal and even Spain. Zagorje, Zagreb’s entrance hall, scattered villages spread over hills is home to baked and fried chicken, turkey with dumplings, strong flavoured soups made with poultry and mushrooms, venison in wine sauces, cooked smoked meat served with a stew of beans and pumpkin, sauerkraut and nettle soup, which accompanied the famous garlic sausage and black pudding, sausage seasoned with garlic and blood. It is also an ancient oenological area whose exquisite varieties such as Riesling, Graševina (a sort
Published on Nov 26, 2012
In Europe it is hard to find a country in which, in such a small area, so much diversity exists as in Croatia. Its geographically curved sha...