A Christmas table in Croatia

We still have a severe ‘aftertaste’ after everything we’ve eaten in recent days. But that’s not the end …It will continue for maybe even 10 next days … Throwing away food is not an option, so we’ll eat!
But, until next Christmas, we may not eat some of these delicacies … so, it is not a sacrifice.
Preparations for Christmas begin weeks earlier…and we have eaten since then.

Cod on broth, photo by Croatian Attractions
Cod on broth, photo by Croatian Attractions

We have already introduced you to some of Croatia’s best winter sweets, but what about the other tasty holiday dishes?

Whether you are a believer or not, on Christmas Eve dinner table in Croatia, you can expect fish dishes, seasoned meals, and various salads because on Christmas we enjoy way more than one course of a meal, along with a main roasted course that depends on the region in Croatia.

Everyone has a favorite Christmas dish, probably from the part of Croatia, we come from. We can’t imagine Christmas without it!

 Different types of fish (freshwater fish or sea fish) are served on Christmas Eve dinner in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Also, it is common to find a squid on the holiday table in the most attractive Advent destination in Europe. Bean salad, cabbage salad, or French salad (although this salad has nothing in common with France; the author’s remark) is often served with roasting on a Christmas.

When we say Christmas roasting in Zagreb, we usually mean turkey, chicken, or pig roast less often. Turkey is followed by popular flatbread or roasted potatoes. The famous Christmas dessert is Poppyseed roll or Walnut roll with many small biscuits.

Poppy cake

In Slavonia, Christmas Eve begins with honey brandy and seasonal dishes. The old habit was not to eat anything until dinner that was abundant but today people often prepare fiš paprikaš for lunch. Except for the Fiš Paprikaš, some freshwater fish can also be found on the menu. One of the most famous Slavonian fish specialties is carp. You will usually find roasted beef in sauce or chicken roast on a Christmas table. There will be a lot of cakes on the table – we all know that Slavonian cakes are the best! Poppyseed roll, Walnut roll, a lot of small biscuits… and you can even find a delicious cake!


What about Central Croatia? Delicious fish dishes, primarily freshwater fish and various salads, are served on Christmas Eve. Roast duck is prepared in Međimurje County, and south of Međimurje, pig roast is more popular. After Christmas, locals love to prepare cabbage rolls – a traditional Croatian dish.


The Roast Turkey with flatbread, from Zagorje, Croatia, Croatian cuisine

Istria and Kvarner adore fish soup! Except for sea fish, Istrians will also prepare Bakalar (Cod) on Christmas Eve and other fish specialties or pasta, but without meat. For Christmas, the Istrians will have turkey and often homemade bread. The most popular dessert is walnut roll and bishop’s bread – dried fruit biscuit.

In Lika, you can expect sea fish dishes on Christmas Eve. Cabbage rolls are served first for Christmas lunch and later pig or lamb roast, followed by roasted potatoes.


Dalmatia is famous for its delicious Cod and Luganiga sausage. It is interesting how the Cod found itself as an inevitable dish of Dalmatian cuisine on Christmas Eve. Maritime tradition, characteristic of Mediterranean countries, made Cod a symbol of well-being. It is prepared with white wine, spices, and potatoes.

Cod Šibenik is famous for Luganiga sausage simply because Christmas without Luganinga sausage is not Christmas for people from Šibenik. It is a special kind of sausage with plenty of spices popular in this area. Roasted turkey and Pašticada made from the finest beef meat are also favorite Christmas dishes in Dalmatia! Cakes are often made of dried fruit, and everyone loves Fritule – a festive Croatian pastry that resembles little doughnuts.

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