Photo by DAVOR ROSTUHAR / ZAGREB TOURIST BOARD

Eat Like a Local, Feel Like a Local

Every day we find out about a new food trend. But there are places where for centuries now they have been serving organic, fresh, locally grown produce in keeping with the seasons – namely, the Croatian markets. Baskets full of fresh produce, the ritual of drinking coffee before or after shopping, tasting the food on the stands, bargaining and exchanging recipes and the rhapsody of smells and flavours spreading throughout the city, are part of the Croatian market tradition, creating a real experience of a diverse gastronomical offer of this small country. They say that a culture is best discovered through a nation’s food, and there is no better place for it than the local markets which can be found even in the smallest towns! We will introduce you to the most famous ones.

DOLAC

This is the most famous and largest market where the best products from all over Croatia come – from the famous Slavonian kulen sausage, Zagorje turkey, Pag cheese to sea specialties. A unique symbol of the city of Zagreb, it captivates with the richness of tastes and smells and tradition that make for a wonderful postcard of the capital with the main motif – the red Šestine parasol. Dolac consists of an open part of the market where you will find fruit and vegetable sellers, the closed part where you will find butchers and dairy sellers, as well as homemade pasta, while the fish market is situated in a separate building. The main symbol of Dolac are its kumice, women from the surrounding area of Zagreb who grow their own fruit  and vegetables or make homemade cheese  and  cream  that they then sell on the market.

At the entrance to the market, in 2006, the monument Kumica Barica was erected in memory of them, carrying a basket on her head because these women really carried, on a daily basis, fresh food to the city in baskets on their heads, creating the habits and history of the city.

PAZAR

The Pazar, located just outside the eastern wall of Diocletian’s Palace and around the church of Saint Dominic, is one of the most central places of life in Split, but also an increasingly popular destination among tourists eager to immerse themselves in local colour. This charming place is part of the city core and a true bloodline of the city of Split. The mixture of Dalmatia and the Mediterranean, their colours, flavours and the fragrances of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as the sounds, the shouting and the bargaining are visible at every turn. Taste all that Split offers and then, like a real local, taste the magic of the fjaka – the Dalmatian version of the siesta. Because a good meal is followed by a good rest.

TRŽNICA

The unique secession beauty is located in the centre of Pula. Its construction began in 1902 during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It was a place that connected the rural and urban populations and has remained thus to this day. The place where today’s green outdoor market is located was used by farmers from the surrounding villages and fishing villages for selling their vegetables, milk, eggs and small livestock. The market nowadays meets all the demands of modern shopping in a pleasant ambience providing a romantic spirit retained especially on the first floor of the building. This is where the most modern fish market in Croatia is situated. In addition to fresh meat, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, you can also find Istrian delicacies such as Istrian mushrooms, as well as the most famous one from the soil of Istria – the black and white Istrian truffles used in the preparation of top delicacies.

PIJACA

The Osijek markets, or as the locals call them pijace, are urban areas that are among the first to wake in the morning, where many Osijek locals are happy to start their day with a coffee and buy fresh produce from the sellers they already know well. Green markets can be found throughout the city, while the main one – on Gaj Square, has the richest offer. There is nothing you cannot find in the market: it offers various hard cheeses, fresh eggs, fresh and smoked meat such as the Slavonian ham and kulen sausage, freshwater and sea fish, homemade bakery products, homemade medicinal herb preparations, food seasoning such as paprika, which is the main ingredient in almost all the traditional Slavonian dishes, seasonal fruits and vegetables, preserves…

Stands have certificates confirming their authentic origin and high quality products. “Green Thursday” is the day when special tastings are held, and delicacies offered, but the friendly sellers will surely offer you a taste of their precious specialties any day!

RIBARNICA – FISH MARKET

The Rijeka Market is best known for its rich fish market, full of seafood. The main town market has been a favourite place of the Rijeka locals since the end of the 19th century. It was built by the sea shore, not far from a wooden pier where local fishermen unloaded their catch and took it in baskets to sell. Fish, crabs and shellfish were originally sold outdoors, and since 1866 indoors, in a fish market located in two beautiful pavilions. The fish market still resembles a “Babylonian” market, full of all kinds of treasure: from sardines and other oily fish, gigantic sea bream and beautiful specimens of the finest white fish, shellfish, scampi, octopus and other sea treasures. Along with tasty delicacies, you are sure to also get a secret or two for preparing them from seasoned fishermen!

Discover new food trends that you can incorporate into your menu at home, so you can experience the daily lives of Croatians and their (nutritional) habits.