It is interesting how once simple and poor peasants’ food nowadays becomes a specialty. It is the case all over the world so is in Dalmatia as well. Higher standard and the development of gastronomy made those old recipes true delicacies, which are now served in finest restaurants. What once was a holiday meal, is nowadays served as the ordinary food just like some really basic and simple dishes now refer to unique starters or appetizers. The most common starter in Dalmatia would be cold plate of ham and cheese. Slightly smoked and air-dried Dalmatian ham is called pršut (similar to Italian prosciutto) while cheese is often made of sheep milk. This meal is also in most of the cases garnished with marinated olives. Many restaurant owners would emphasize that ham, cheese and olives are domestic.
Due to poor knowledge of English, the word ‘domestic’ means that the food is not industrial, but homemade. Don’t forget that every decent Dalmatian from the coast has cousins in the backgrounds, who produce finest pršut and sheep cheese…
Those who do not eat meat would be offered salted and marinated sardines or anchovies. Do not underestimate this meal. Although sardines and anchovies are small fish, this is plentiful and very ‘thirsty’ meal, so be careful.
Octopus salad or cod/tuna pate can be served either instead of above mentioned or as the extension of the starters’ menu.
As a warm starter we highly recommend fish soup. One can taste the entire Dalmatia only through the freshness of the fish, local spices and genuine virgin olive oil this meal is prepared of. Don’t miss the soup!
The typical main course is usually grilled fish or squids. Nothing tastes better than fresh fish cooked on the coals of old vine, olive or Dalmatia pine tree. Steaming on your plate, flavoured with few drops of fresh lemon juice and virgin olive oil, grilled fish makes the central point of your sailing holidays’ meal. Do not forget that a fish swims three times in its life: in the sea, in the oil and in the wine.
The dessert in Dalmatia differs regarding the mood of the grandma or the family tradition. In most of the cases you will be offered a grappa (vine brandy) or prošek (sweet wine similar to port), or some other herb brandy. Such liquor in Dalmatia is considered a cure rather than a shot so treat it like one.
Enjoy your stay aboard!