The traditional Easter table in Croatia boasts the same elements in all parts of the country: cooked ham served with horseradish sauce, spring onions, nicely decorated Easter eggs, Olivier salad and the typical sweet Easter bread, locally known as Pinca. There is a range of Easter breads available in Croatia days before Easter: some are sweet (with or without raisins), some are savoury – such as the Greek Easter Bread – featuring brightly coloured eggs and little plastic bird decorations.

While the abovementioned delicacies are served as breakfast on Easter day in other European countries as well, there are traditional Croatian meals, whose recipes have almost become forgotten, as they have lost their place in the hierarchy of the national dishes.

However, in the mountainous region of the western Croatia known as Gorski kotar there is an unbroken tradition of preparing a very special old dish called Goranski nadjev, which translates as “the mountain stuffing”. This ancient farm worker dish is made of several basic ingredients: diced ham and white bread, fresh eggs, sliced spring onions, salt and pepper. All stuffing ingredients are mixed together and boiled inside a smoked beef tripe casing for two hours. There may be local differences when it comes to additional ingredients, such as boiled beef chunks, raisins or butter, but all experts agree about one thing: the stuffing should be chilled before serving, in order to form a nice roll that can be cut into neat slices.  For that reason the local women used to prepare this dish several days ahead of Easter, usually on Good Friday.

Although Goranski nadjev is a typical Easter dish, many local restaurants and taverns serve it throughout the year as a traditional side dish to accompany roasts or stews, so the visitors of Delnice and Mrkopalj can take delight in it even if they are not around on Easter Day.

AUTHOR: Flavours of Croatia
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