The first thing that comes to a Croatian’s mind when they hear the name Pag is sheep. The second is salt. The barren, sun-baked terrain means that the herbs that the sheep munch on are salty and highly aromatic, lending a special flavour to their milk. Which makes great cheese. A good Pag cheese is mature, strong tasting and hard, a little like Parmesan. Many restaurants pass off rubbery, bland cheese resembling Edam as Pag cheese and thus deserve a good slapping. The real Pag cheese is expensive, so don’t be surprised if cheaper offerings disappoint. We recommend being adventurous and trying to get hold of some home made stuff on the island itself. Ask your hosts to recommend someone, or look out for signs saying Paški sir.
Pršut is to Croatia what Prosciutto di Parma is to Italy. (And they are essentially the same thing: cured ham – a tastebud-tingling delicacy).
Dalmatian Pršut can be dry and salty or butter-soft and mild. It’s difficult to go wrong, they’re all good, but the factory at Posedarje (just inland from Zadar) has been collecting international awards left, right and centre for its offering. Give yourself a lunchtime treat of pršut with fresh white bread, butter, home-grown tomatoes, local olive oil, a handful of olives and a good glass of red wine.