In college, the only creative nonfiction piece I ever wrote was a short essay about a particular experience in Croatia when my cousins and I took corn from a neighbor’s field. We were hungry and cravin’ some grilled corn. No, we didn’t get caught and yes, we enjoyed every last bit of the stolen corn. By writing this piece I realized that there are just some things I can only fully enjoy in Croatia (such as the aforementioned grilled corn) and other things that are only enjoyable in the U.S, like cupcakes. Sure, I can have grilled corn in the U.S. and cupcakes in Croatia, but there’s just something extra special about having them where I had ‘em first since the feelings and memories they evoke cannot be duplicated in another part of the world.
If you haven’t noticed yet while reading my blog, I am a major list-maker so here’s another one dedicated to the dear foods I can only seem to fully enjoy in Hrvatska.
First on my list is Juha od Šparoga (asparagus soup).
Photo credit: online.konzum.hr
When I can find it in the U.S. at a local ethnic food store, I grab up pretty much all of the packets in the shop. Though I can enjoy the soup’s rich creaminess in the States nothing rivals the warmth it brings me on a cool Croatian night. I’ve been eating it since I was a kid and since then it has continually put a smile on my face as I lap up every last drop. It is by far the best made-from-a-packet soup I’ve ever tasted and everyone I serve it to enthusiastically agrees.
Continuing with soups and new to my obsessions list is Fini Mini Krem Juha od Rajčice s Mozzarellom (cream of tomato soup with mozzarella).
Photo credit: podravka.com
My grandmother here introduced me to the Fini Mini soup line this summer, and I am in love. First, I must applaud the marketing team or individual who came up with the line’s catchy name. Bravo. In English, the name translates into “delicious mini”. They are “mini” soups because there is only one serving in each packet. I haven’t yet tried all of the varieties but my absolute favorite is the tomato soup with mozzarella ribbons. I usually mix one up after a tiring day of work and it really hits the spot.
Also newly added to my obsessions list is Surf’ ‘n Fries.
Photo credit: jatrgovac.com
Though I occasionally indulge in French fries back in the States, I have never felt so strong a pull to fries as I do to those from the Surf’ n’ Fries cart. Everything is fantastic about them. The fries are slightly curved and therefore perfect for scooping up some dip and their carton packaging makes it super easy to dip on-the-go. Moreover, you always get so many fries! I’m usually full before I even finish my pack but I can’t let good fries go to waste so I always keep eating ‘til they’re all gone. Without a doubt, I think these street-cart fries are the best tasting in the world.
Now, onto dessert!
Though I may not be able to have some of my favorite main course dishes (such as stuffed pasta shells, macaroni and cheese, and quesadillas) in Croatia due to the unavailability of certain ingredients, I am quite satisfied in the dessert department here. Croatian desserts are so deliciously irresistible that I barely miss my favorite American ones. I always welcome homemade palačinke, strudel, and bučnica with open-arms when I’m here. I still have yet to learn the ways of the talented Zagorje dessert-makers and so I usually have to do without these scrumptious homemade goodies when I am on my own. I then turn to Croatian grocery stores to satisfy my sweet tooth and I am never disappointed.
Chocolate pudding is the main dessert I eat here and never in the U.S. American pudding is fine, but somehow I just think the Croatian versions taste better (though I’m sure they’re quite similar).
Photo credit: supplycroatia.com
Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed indulging in a cup of pudding while watching a Croatian TV show. Now, my roommate Stephanie and I crack some open at the end of our work week and it’s always oh so good! Chocolate pudding is a perfect way to end the week and begin the weekend. Though I’ll devour pretty much any variety of pudding found in Croatian supermarkets, my favorite is made by Dukat and comes with whipped cream on top. Yum!
My other favorite pre-packed desserts are Domaćica cookies.
Photo credit: globalimportexp.com
I could eat Domaćica cookies all day and I’ve been serving them to all my guests here. Their concept is simple—shortbread tea cookies slathered on one side with chocolate—yet somehow so very addictive. They’re similar to America’s Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, but in my opinion 10x better. They’re always the first cookies I go to grab off of Croatian supermarket shelves. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
Now that I’m finished with this post I am, as expected, hungry. And so off I go to indulge a bit in some of my favorite Croatian foods. Dobar tek (bon appétite) to all!