My European Adventure: Visiting my 87-year-old Mother down on our family farm in Croatia

Our store in Lakewood is approximately 4,500 miles from my childhood home in Croatia, but as soon as I arrived in our village, I was instantly back in the land of childhood memories - life on our farm and the joy of locally sourced food. 

Today, I'd like to share my thoughts about some of the homemade meals and foods that I enjoyed on my recent trip. 

Food Facts, Favorites and Recommendations! 

  • Nothing beats Mom’s cooking. My mother’s chickens give us the best eggs - the yolks are so big and orange. Here we are cooking them on an old wood-burning stove- we save the wood ashes for a natural organic fertilizer for our garden (you will see more about this in the next travel log!). Daily breakfast usually involves a day-old egg with these healthy yolks. 

 

  • Growing up we were poor, so we ate a lot of soup. One of my favorites is pickled turnip soup – made with potatoes and beans. I guarantee that if you try it, you will go back for seconds and even thirds!

 

  • Our version of ravioli is round, not square! This dish has cheese, lemon and raisins inside...it may sound like a weird combination, but after a second one you just want more! 

 

  • Thumbprint cookies are famous here – they are made with jelly and walnuts. 
  • We make beignets - like little donuts - deep fried with raisins inside. I consider this a delicacy and it is one of my favorite desserts! 

 

  • At the end of the season, we make fruit jellies. The common flavors are peach, plum, fig and quince. We don’t add any sugar to it because the fruit is already so sweet! Homemade crepes with jelly make an excellent midday snack! 

 

  • White Swiss Chard is in season now- here is a dish with White Swiss Chard and mashed potatoes, which is a must paired with fish. 

 

  • My brother-in-law bartered some of his homemade wine for some fresh Mediterranean Sea Bass, which is one of the most expensive but delicious fish in my country. It melts in your mouth like butter and has a mild, not-fishy taste. It tastes the best with fresh green lettuce, homemade bread and a glass of wine. 

 

  • Once a week, we eat gnocchi with meat or mushroom sauce. We grow a lot of potatoes in my region, so this is a common dish. 

 

  • We bake fresh bread, and we sometimes add bacon and garlic for extra flavor. 

 

Next time, I’ll share more details about farming and food in Croatia. 

Thanks for reading.  

Ines 

 


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