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Gastronomical magic

Category: Gastronomy | Date: 24.06.2014.

The cuisine of a nation reflects its landscape and its history. It's an unwritten rule that the cuisine of a nation or a region is as rich as its history. The more times did a new population settle in the area the more the nations got mixed. A great proof for that is the cuisine of Baranja and Slavonia, which is exciting, colourful and rich just like its history which has been dotted by many events whose traces can still be seen on the plates.

It is a fact that flavours cannot be described properly through words. Instead of arguing about words, we should rely on our taste buds, let's get an impression through them. They are the best judges of all.

This is not a cookbook so we are not going to share recipes or dishes. We are going to mention a few specialities which should definitely be tried by the visitors in the region. Just like I tried them.

'Kulen' is the world-famous trademark of Slavonian delicacies. The king of smoked products. The specially chosen pork is sliced or minced, flavoured with ground paprika, chopped garlic or other spices. The spicy meat is filled up in a natural casing, which is made of pork intestine. The drying process happens in smoke rooms where light, cold smoke is used to mature the meat. It is believed that the ready sausages after being smoked should be further matured on open air (usually on the attic) for 5-7 months.

Other famous smokes products are the 'kobasic', the 'kulenova seka', ham and the recent invention of sausages made of fish. The palette of dried meats is enriched by greaves which is also called the Slavonian truffle, black pudding or 'svargl'.

Kulen, as a smoked product, is listed as an appetizer on the menus. Among the traditional and inevitable dishes you can find the stew, the spicy fish stew, goulash, meat specialities stuffed with different ham and cheese, chicken dishes prepared in many different ways and the numerous types of fish (catfish, carp, pike, bass) cooked in various ways. The most well-known ones are the carp and catfish stew.

Also, it is a 'must' to taste the Slavonian sarma (minced pork and beef with spices rolled in cabbage leaf, cooked over low heat) and the Slavonian aivar, which is consumed both as a side dish and spread on bread (mostly white bread).

From the desserts, it is worth trying gužvara, the milk-loaf with walnut and poppy seed, and savijača, a strudel filled with fresh curd. You can also delight in the desserts and cakes brought in by the Hungarians, like the chocolate cake, the čupavac (coconut squares) or the cream bun.

We have not even talked about the drinks. Wine-lovers can taste exquisite white and red wines in Slavonia and Baranja. Besides, you should not miss out on the national specialities, the rakija (similar to schnapps, made of plums), the different liqueurs and beers.

You can find the most popular Slavonian specialities in restaurants and village catering businesses.

It is worth trying the following ones:

Restoran i vinarija Josić ( Josić Restaurant and Winery) – Traditional Baranja cuisine with a nice and modern touch. The catfish stew and the carp are always on the menu. Taste the local wines which are amongst the best ones of Baranja (Baranja Schiller, Cuvee Ciconia Nigra and the Riesling).

Orlov put (Eagle Flyway) – Traditional flavours, organic and holistic approach, the ingredients are locally grown by the owners. Grilling and roast white fish are excellent. Start the day with the home-made plum schnaps – rakija at the Orlov Put.

Zelena Žaba (Green Frog) – Kopacki Restaurant with fantastic fish stew. The wine list includes home-made wines from Baranja.

Kormoran - According to the 2014 list of 'Dobre hrane' this is the best of the best restaurants in Slavonia. Game, home-made pasta, fish – all are delicious. The wine list offers only Belja wines, unfortunately.

Tri Mudraca (Three wise men) - In the village inn beside the classical Baranja cuisine, some 'off-road' adventures are also offered for those who enjoy the open-air challenges. After having had enough of stumbling across the mud field, you can please yourself with the roast beef, the sarma or the home-made broth. Taste the forgotten sturgeon (for a few months it was protected and prohibited to fish), which is not very nice-looking but its meat is extremely delicious.

Piroš Čizma (Red Boot) - Modern Baranja cuisine, which honours traditional dishes. This is the place you must visit, if you are in Baranja. The home-made meat products, the innovative way of preparing the fish dishes, the lamb confit satisfy the needs of every gourmand. The wine-list is one of the best in Baranja.

Ivica i Marica – In the folklore village this inn with rustic furniture awaits those who want to relax, those who seek leisure in agrotourism, bikers or horse-riders. Classical Baranja dishes, nothing unusual.


Restoran Waldinger – National restaurant whose kitchen unequivocally leans on Slavonia and according to the data it stands at first place in Osijek. The reasons to visit Waldinger Restaurant are the pleasant atmosphere, the well-trained staff, and the excellent wine list. Hotel Waldinger won Europe's best small hotel prize.

Kod Ruže (At the Roses) – The restaurant is located in the centre of Osijek, at the fortress and it has Slavonian-Baranja cuisine. Amazing interior, pleasant atmosphere which is enriched by the gypsy music played at weekends.

Lumiere – Modern, good-quality restaurant in Osijek which satisfies all appetites. Fish, meat, vegetarian dishes – everybody find want they like. Nice interior, but avoid the terrace, because it is too close to the road.

In Beli Manastir taste the pear-flavoured ice cream; rakija is also made form these pears. Reward yourself!

If you are staying in Slavonia and Baranja only for a short time, you will not be able to taste more than a small fragment of the dishes and drinks mentioned above; and you will definitely not be able to taste the ones we haven't even mentioned. It is a pity because you never know how many catering businesses can trap our taste buds. You will only know that if you return to try a new gastronomical star. Or simply to have a second helping...