What do people eat for breakfast in Croatia? Croatians like a hearty meal to start the day, and having spent many breakfasts with my in-laws and my husband's extended family in Croatia, I’m here to give you the inside info.
Croatians don’t generally do a big sweet breakfast, instead they prefer a hearty, savory meal in the morning. If you want to eat like a local, you can say goodbye to pancakes, French toast and sugary cereal, and hello to cured meats, cheeses, fresh bread and strong coffee!
Read on to find out exactly what you can expect when you join a Croatian family for breakfast!
There must be an array of meat. Nothing like starting your day with the meat sweats.
1. Let’s start with Spek (cured or smoked bacon). You cut off the skin, but leave the fat on, then slice it thinly and enjoy. There should be at least as much fat as meat, so don’t cut off too much of the white.
*Raw onion is also commonly cut up and eaten with spek!
I’m not particularly fond of spek, but every Croatian I know seems to love it. My father in law cures his own, he’s very proud of it, and my inlaws put it in everything. Their motto is “A meal isn’t a meal without a little spek.”
Example (this literally happened yesterday): we had turkey for Christmas dinner, and my father in law said, "Hmmm, malo je suha, trebao sam staviti malo speka unutra da bi bila socnije i ukusnije."
2. Some kind of homemade sausage is usually the second type of meat that’s included at the breakfast table (there is also usually some smooth chicken sausage like “Poli” for children).
Seljacki Kruh (village bread) is my personal favorite, although there are 20 different types of bread to choose from at many local bakeries.
You cook the polenta with water to the consistency of a very thick oatmeal, and then pour yoghurt on top, or on the side.
I’ve grown to love this meal, although at first I will admit, it was a little bland and not my favorite.
There is a special pot used to perfect this brew, where you must let coffee rise/boil up 3 times before you serve it. I believe it strengthens the coffee each time it rises.
The coffee is then poured into your cup (along with the grounds that sink to the bottom like sand). Magically you don’t really ever get a mouthful as you sip your coffee (unless you really push your luck with the last few drops).
There you have it, a traditional Croatian breakfast with all of the basics covered. You’ll be able to find a bowl of fruit and granola at a nearby hotel, but if you’re eating with a local family, now you know what to expect!
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If you’re interested in reading a few of our other posts about Croatia:
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- Croatian Culture, Etiquette & Social Norms: A Complete Guide!
- My Kids Don't Speak English: Raising Bilinguals is Tough!
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- How I Learned to Speak Croatian as an Adult (in 7 Steps)
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- Travel to Croatia With a Toddler or Baby (From Experience!)
- Tipping in Croatia: A Complete Guide With Suggested Amounts!