Croatian Seafood: 6 Delicious Pairings with Local Wines

Croatia’s stunning coastline and rich maritime heritage are reflected in its exceptional seafood cuisine, which comes to life especially as the weather turns warmer. From the fresh catch of the Adriatic to the vibrant flavours of local herbs and olive oils, Croatian seafood dishes are a true gastronomic delight. Pairing these dishes with the perfect local wine elevates the experience, creating a harmonious blend of flavours that capture the essence of the Croatian summer. Here’s your guide to matching Croatia’s seafood specialties with the ideal wines, complete with tips for at-home cooking and wine selection.

Grilled Fish & Pošip

Simple yet sublime, grilled fish is a staple along the Croatian coast. The high heat of the grill brings out the natural flavours of the fish, while olive oil and a hint of garlic add depth. Pair this with a glass of Pošip from Korčula or the Pelješac Peninsula. Its full body and crisp acidity complement the richness of the fish, enhancing the charred and herbal notes.

Cooking Tip: Choose fresh, local fish like sea bass or sea bream. Keep the seasoning simple to let the natural flavours shine.

Black Risotto & Plavac Mali

Black risotto, or crni rižot, gets its distinctive colour and rich flavour from cuttlefish or squid ink. This dish, with its deep flavours and creamy texture, pairs beautifully with Plavac Mali, a robust red wine with notes of dark berries and a hint of pepper. The wine’s boldness stands up to the intensity of the risotto, creating a balanced and indulgent pairing.

Cooking Tip: Ensure the risotto remains creamy and al dente, balancing the ink’s richness with a touch of lemon zest for brightness.

Scampi na buzaru & Malvazija Istriana

Scampi na buzaru, scampi cooked in a savoury broth with wine, garlic, and breadcrumbs, is a beloved Adriatic dish. The subtle sweetness of the scampi and the richness of the sauce are perfectly matched by Malvazija Istriana from Istria. This white wine, with its floral aromatics and mineral finish, complements the dish’s flavours without overpowering them.

Cooking Tip: Use fresh scampi for the best flavour and don’t skimp on the quality of olive oil for cooking.

Octopus Salad & Teran

A refreshing octopus salad, dressed with olive oil, lemon, and herbs, captures the essence of the Mediterranean. Pair it with Teran, a vibrant red wine from Istria. Its lively acidity and berry notes make it a surprisingly fitting companion to the tender octopus and crisp vegetables, adding a layer of complexity to the dish.

Cooking Tip: Tenderise the octopus by simmering it slowly before slicing it thinly for the salad.

Oysters & Sauvignon Blanc

The Adriatic oyster, with its distinctive flavour, is a delicacy best enjoyed with minimal adornment. Pair these raw oysters with Sauvignon Blanc, a light and fresh white wine. The wine’s subtle floral notes and crisp finish enhance the oysters’ natural brininess, creating an exquisite taste of the sea.

Cooking Tip: Serve oysters chilled on the half shell with just a squeeze of lemon to highlight their natural flavours.

Seafood Pasta & Grk

A dish of seafood pasta, brimming with the flavours of mussels, clams, and shrimp, encapsulated in a light tomato and wine sauce, is a celebration of the sea. Pair it with Grk from the island of Korčula, a rare and intriguing white wine that offers citrus and herbal notes. Its balanced acidity and complexity make it an ideal match for the richness of the seafood and the freshness of the sauce.

Cooking Tip: Use a variety of seafood for depth of flavour, and finish the dish with fresh parsley and a drizzle of quality olive oil.

Croatian seafood and wine are a match made in culinary heaven, reflecting the country’s rich cultural heritage and the bounty of its natural landscapes. Whether you’re dining out along the Adriatic coast or bringing a taste of Croatia into your home kitchen, these pairings will transport you to a world of exquisite flavours and unforgettable dining experiences.


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