Zagreb at the Dinner Table: Traditional Flavours and Best Wishes

Holidays are a time when family gathers at the dinner table. It will happen once again this year, even though with additional caution and care for the most vulnerable groups. This Christmas, tasty flavours and best wishes will certainly be abundant at the dinner table in Zagreb.

Decorating the tree, presents and a traditional holiday menu are part of customs upheld by families and eateries in Zagreb during the holiday season surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The tradition will continue this year, although adhering to the necessary precautions. Luckily, restrictions this year, which is particular in many aspects, will not refer to the abundance of delicacies at the dinner table. Christmas Eve is traditionally a time for fish specialities whose preparation can take up to several days. Zagreb’s markets are supplied with excellent fish from the Adriatic on regular basis, and those who choose riverine fish or cod, which is a tradition, will not be disappointed either. In any case Christmas Eve will be filled with scents of fish specialities followed by tree decoration. Under the tree presents will be waiting for everyone, especially the youngest members of families. A typical Christmas menu in Zagreb consists of a turkey roast, side dish made of dry flatbread called “mlinci” and traditional desserts, walnut and poppyseed rolls as well as mini pastries. Of course, what should be added to this list are some personal specialities and excellent wines from the area surrounding Zagreb and other Croatian regions.

While Christmas is traditionally celebrated with family, New Year’s Eve used to be spent in loud surroundings, in squares, clubs and hotels in which festive programme is accompanied by a suitable menu. However, this year will be an exception, so a goodbye to 2020 will be much quieter and often celebrated within a close-knit circle of friends. New Year’s Eve menu traditionally consists of a roast and a salad similar to Olivier salad, a traditional dish consisting of sauerkrauts meet rolls called “sarma” as well as many pastries. Among them let us mention “štrukli”, a sweet or savoury specialty made of dough with a cheese and cream filling, which is baked or cooked. This is a speciality of Zagreb and its surroundings; it can be sweet or savoury and is served as a starter or a dessert. Of course, wines, whose quality contributes to the fame of Zagreb and the entire country, are also found at the dinner table.

Whatever your chosen dishes or beverages will be for this year’s holidays, which are special in many respects, one thing is certain – all of us will toast to a nicer, happier and healthier 2021 sincerely, cordially and more loudly than ever. 

Published: 07.12.2020