After the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, sometime after the Three Kings’ Day, begins the period of Carnival. During this time, the aroma of popular krafne, as well as other specialties will be spread from house to house.
RITUALS AND TRADITIONS
Carnivals bring with them rituals and traditions. For instance, people with fleas had to eat blooded sausage with sour cabbage at midday on carnival day if they wanted to get rid of them. It was also advised to drink beer on carnival day - for long life! Hmmm, now that explains the merriment about!
In the Hrvatsko zagorje region people still eat prisiljeno zelje (forced cabbage) , which is stirred with garlic and pasta sheets. Also popular is dry pork neck, the so-called lalovka. As for cakes, the self-raising cakes are on the menu as well as the obligatory, kraflini (doughnut). In Zagreb, cabbage is also eaten, as well as polenta, beef, roast turkey or goose, and for dessert donuts. In Samobor, the famous Samobor kremšnite are served, not to mention garlic sausages with mustard and sweet bermet as a beverage. Slavonians enjoy meat leftovers in sausages, čvarci (dried pork fat) and as for the sweet desserts - strudels, švargle, donuts, masnica with walnuts or poppy seed and Greaves pie. From the Kastav and Ćićarija area come the sweet specialty, presnac which is made of dough, old bread, milk, eggs, raisins and cinnamon. The other popular dessert are kroštule with almonds, fanjki, šurlice made of sweet dough, fig-cake made with walnuts and a bit of rakija, and presnac made of fresh sheep cheese and maroon cake. In Gorski kotar, povatica is made from self-raising dough with cheese, apple or walnut filling. Fritule and kroštule are a popular dessert in Split. The obligatory crème-caramel is home in Dubrovnik.
The queen of the carnival table, succulent and hot, fried in a deep oil are krafne/pokladnice or doughnuts; and the pride of each hostess ascends as the dough rises and the beauty of the golden ring encircles them. Some of the ladies would sprinkle lemon or orange zest, vanilla extract or rum, and their centre was filled with delicious homemade jam or dark chocolate. The sweet desserts in northern Croatia are made of similar dough and are called fanjki or poderane gaće, whilst in Southern Croatia kroštule or fritule are popular. Today we also get uštipak (fritters) and its variants are constantly being improved.