When was the last time you saw a skinny Slavonian, let alone a Slavonian from Srijem? Slavonian cuisine is a delightful blend of aromas coming from things like the delicious ham, kulen (flavored sausage) and kulenova seka (a spicy type of kulen sausage), all the way to the large cast iron stew pots filled with beans, lamb and fish stews. With this kind of “dynamite food”, it’s best to ease its way into the stomach with a glass of home-made šljivovica (plum brandy) or some fine wine. You want to end this kind of a meal on a traditional note, so the home-made salenjak (a type of puff pastry made with pork fat and jam), or an apple and walnut strudel should be the perfect match.
The cuisine in east Croatia is a result of hundreds of years of mixing of cultures and populations, immigrants and locals, conquerors and defenders of the territory. The simple, peasant, home-made dishes are enriched with the influence of the cuisine of the Turkish conquerors and also the special touches of the Austro-Hungarian culinary tradition.
Pork rinds and blood sausages
Pig slaughter is exactly what Srijem is most known for, so the annual Srijem Pig Slaughter attracts many visitors. It involves the manufacture and also the consumption of traditional, well renowned delicacies from Srijem, including sausages, brawn, blood sausages and pork rinds. Of course, a pig slaughter is not complete without home-made rakija (grappa or brandy) and mulled wine. How else are you going to keep warm?
During the pig slaughter, lunch menus usually include the traditional “pig slaughter” pork stew and sweets such as fritters and the salenjak.
One of the famous traditional recipes of the Srijem cuisine is the blood sausage with sauerkraut. This delicacy is traditionally connected to the pig slaughter event, and it is even more delicious when the blood sausages are smoked. The stewed sauerkraut has to be heavily seasoned with crushed red pepper, while the blood sausage is fried so that it will fall apart in the sauerkraut. Anybody hungry?
Ćevapi and sausages
The Srijem ćevap (grilled minced meat, a type of kebab) is unique in these parts and has very little to do with the original recipe: the sliced pork rack should be well roasted, and while you are waiting for it to finish, you can dice the onions, peppers and tomatoes, add salt and mix. Then put both the meat and the vegetables to stew slowly and stir from time to time. The ćevap is done when the vegetables have shrunk to a third of their size in the stew.
The Srijem sausage is fantastic, and it should be prepared immediately following the pig slaughter. The recipe requires no less than ten kilos of meat, five of which are meat from the back, four from the rack, and one is fresh, hard pancetta. Salt, sugar and garlic are added to the coarsely shopped meat, which is stirred and left out to cool for a few hours. Afterwards, the meat is minced, mixed with chili powder and pepper, then stirred again and left for another half hour. Then the sausages are filled and left to dry.
Helping the food “go down easy”
You can find great quality local wines in every corner of Slavonija, but the finest quality wines are to be found in the Srijem region, to be more precise, in Ilok, where the tame slopes of
Fruška gora and the humidity of the Danube have created the perfect microclimate for wine production. This has been true for hundreds of years, and the best proof are the traminac (Gewürztraminer), graševina (Welschriesling), riesling, frankovka (Blaufränkisch), chardonnay and pinot.
And all these attractions are also accompanied by the renowned Slavonian hospitality: the host will welcome you with a roasted pig, trganci (a traditional type of pasta) with cheese and pork rinds, home-made bread, spicy sausage, dried carp, the Ilok ćevap, bazlamača (traditional corn cake) with black jam, chicken soup, and many other specialties.
One thing is for sure, whether you decide on the Srijem sarma (stewed cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice), the Srijem steak or the Srijem pigs’ feet stew, you can’t go wrong, and you will probably ask for seconds!
- Villa Lenije – Vinkovci,
- restoran Orion – Vinkovci,
- hotel Lav – Vukovar,
- hotel Dunav – Ilok,
- Iločki podrumi – Ilok,
- Acin salaš – Tordinci,
- restoran Aquarius – Bošnjaci,
- restoran Gondola – Sotin.