One of the pleasures of Croatia is natural, tasty food. So what better gift for those back home than something to nibble?
Ground Wild Fennel The rocky plains of Dalmatia are covered in the grey stems and yellow blooms of wild fennel. Mrs Marica Marasović from the island of Vis sells dried and ground fennel for flavouring soups, salads, stews and dressings. Contact (+385) 91 588 84 09, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grisinia A tasty twist on Italian grissini, these ones from the island of Silba are enriched with pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, with chilli, caraway, truffle or anchovy. Perfect with a nice cold beer or cocktail. Pick them up in Zadar from Ivan Motušić, tel. (+385) 99 771 69 98.
Olive Leaf Tea Olive leaf tea is believed to be rich in antioxidants, thus supporting a healthy heart and immune system. It's a traditional drink from the Croatian islands which you can pick up in Paška sirana cheese shops around the country or on the island of Pag in Vrtovi Lunjskih maslina, Lunj. Open Mon - Fri 08:00 - 15:00.
Koludrica Cake from Rab “Rapska torta” or Rab Cake is a concoction of marzipan wrapped in delicate pastry traditionally reserved for feasts such as weddings. The version made by the Benedictine numbs at St Andrew's Convent in Rab was first made for the visit of Pope Alexander III in 1177 and features their own Rosolio liqueur. Call in to the convent at Ivana Rabljana 6, Rab Mon - Sun 09:00 - 12:30, tel. (+385-51) 72 42 32.
The Captain's Cookies Unique almond cookies have been made for centuries on the Pelješac peninsula, baked to see off sea captains on their voyages. You can pick up a gift-wrapped package at the Croccantino cake shop at Obala pomoraca 30, Orebić (Open 07:00 - 24:00), and in local Antunović bakeries. Contact: email@example.com, tel. (+385-) 98 165 07 77 Marija Antunović.
Pag and Brač Island Cheese Pag island is synonymous with good cheese in Croatia, with two factories supplying great cheese to the whole country. Look out for the Paška sirana and Gligora brands. Brač island cheese is exclusively sold locally. It's not easy to get hold of a round of cheese as it’s a natural seasonal product made in small quantities. But it is well worth the effort. Try the Kuzmanić family, Put Varoša 18, Supetar, Brač, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. (+385-21) 63 04 98, (+385-) 91 594 52 79.
Lumblija Lumblija is a sweet from Korčula island made from wine must, olive oil, almonds, dried fruit and spices. It was apparently the recipe of a French soldier who presented a cake to his island beloved on his departure with the words “n'oubliez” (“don't forget!”). This was Croatianised as lumblija, and the recipe has lived on ever since. You can order a cake from Mrs Vlašić, Obala 2, Vela Luka, Korčula, email@example.com, tel. (+385-) 98 182 84 07.
Krk Island Pršut To make great cured ham you need a brisk north wind laced with plenty of salt and herbs, which is why generations of Krk islanders have prepared their own pršut. This is a product that varies depending on the environment and the recipe, so it's different wherever you go. Try Krk pršut at the Žužić butcher's shop, Zagrebačka bb, Krk, tel. (+385-51) 22 21 38 (Open Jun/Sep 07:00 - 20:00, Jul-Aug 07:00 - 21:00) or at Kuća krčkog pršuta at Bok od Brozića 40, Vrh, Krk, tel. (+385-51) 68 60 98 (Open Jun/Sep 12:00 - 22:00, Jul-Aug 12:00 - 23:00).
Salt Petals Real foodies these days choose from a selection of salts as they cook. A new one to try is cvijet soli (fleur de sel) from Nin's Roman salt pans. Fleur de sel is made of soft, moist flakes harvested gently from the water's surface. Delicious sprinkled on fine foods, the crystals are rich in minerals and created in an ecologically pristine environment. Pick up a box in at the Solane Nin museum shop, Ilirska cesta 7, Nin, tel. (+385-23) 26 40 21 (Open 07:00 - 20:00) or selected shops nationwide. www.solananin.hr
Macaroni Needles One of the best comfort foods from Croatian island cuisine is goulash served with home-made pasta such as makaruni na iglu, pasta wrapped around a skewer to produce an slender tube. Pick up some in the Mahulja bakery, Gundulićeva 4, Novalja, Pag island (Open 06:00 - 12:00), tel. (+385-53) 66 36 57, or during the summer at mobile bakeries in Novalja, Mandra and Stara Novalja (Open 07:00 - 19:00).