Brač Gastronomy Guide: 50+ must-try foods and dishes of island Brač

Island Brač cuisine is local, organic and strongly depends on the season. Food culture is, as in the whole Mediterranean, an essential part of the tradition.

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Freshly caught fish and seafood, locally grown fruit and vegetables, olive oil, cheese and excellent homemade red wine. Besides standard Dalmatian dishes, Brač has many of its own culinary specialities, including the star of island gastronomy - lamb and a variety of lamb dishes.

To help you eat your way through island Brač we compiled a list of 50+ must-try dishes and foods, from soups and appetisers to main courses, desserts and drinks.

Getting around Island Brač

Read, learn, memorise and try next time you come to island Brač!

Soups

1. Lamb soup with veggies is made with young lambs, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, tomatoes and potatoes. Soup is served with boiled veggies and young lamb is eaten with boiled potatoes and homemade tomato sauce called šalša.

2. Fish soup is most often made with hake and various vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic and parsley. Soup is most often served with pieces of fish and rice.

Cold appetisers

3. Slane srdele or inćuni (salted sardines or anchovies) are prepared by storing fresh fish in salt for at least 3 months. It is served with olive oil.

4. Fish carpaccio or marinated fish is a good choice for lovers of simple and fresh fish dishes. Carpaccio is a dish of thinly sliced, raw fish, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and finished with capers and onions. Carpaccio is made of fresh white fish like sea bass, swordfish or monkfish but you can also try tuna, anchovies or even scampi and shrimps.

5. Sardines in Savor are fried sardines chilled in a sauce of homemade wine vinegar, wine, mint and seasoning.

6. Octopus salad has many versions but all of them include cooked and well-chilled small pieces of octopus with onions, garlic, parsley, salt, vinegar and olive oil. Some serve it with arugula, tomatoes, potatoes, capers, olives or lemon juice.

7. Brač sheep cheese is another delicacy that we get from this beautiful animal. Brač sheep live freely and feed on Mediterranean herbs that are highly aromatic and often medicinal resulting in milk with unique flavours. The cheese is characterised by a dry and crumbly texture, and a tangy, salty flavour. 

8. Young goat cheese is a soft cheese made of goat milk characterised by aromatic herbs which give it a strong character.

9. Dalmatian prosciutto is cured, smoked, and dried ham that is usually served thinly sliced alongside bread and Brač sheep cheese. Pršut (prosciutto) is not a traditional dish from island Brač but we definitely recommend trying this Dalmatian delicacy.

Warm appetisers

10. Crni rižot (black risotto) is made with fresh cuttlefish. Although each chef has his own variation, the main ingredient is cuttlefish ink that gives the risotto its intimidating black colour.

11. Buzara is a traditional Dalmatian technique of preparing seafood by cooking it in a mixture of olive oil, wine, garlic, parsley and some breadcrumbs. The flavorful sauce can be eaten with bread or spaghetti pasta. The most common choice of seafood is scampi or any clams like mussels or venus clams, but you can find it made even with prawns or lobsters.

12. Lignja na kolutiće (fried calamari rings) are fresh and preferably Adriatic squid coated in flour and quickly deep fried to golden perfection, then served hot with a splash of lemon and any number of dips, most common tartar sauce.

13. Nanar (ogrc) and čuka (priljepak) are sea snails found everywhere across the Adriatic Sea. They are characterised by the intense flavour and scent of the sea. Snails are usually cooked in water, and the meat is extracted from the shell by using needles. The meat is also used for preparing buzara or risotto.

14. Bakalar na bilo is a traditional Christmas Eve dish prepared from just a few ingredients. Codfish, potatoes, garlic, parsley, olive oil and seasoning. Fragrant and intense in taste, cod is a favourite dish of true gourmets.

15. Dalmatian veal risotto is similar to the better-known and popular Skradin Risotto. It is made with veal and some cinnamon, prošek (sweet dessert wine), cloves and other seasonings.

16. Braised artichoke with broad beans is one of the hidden culinary gems of island Brač. Artichoke's health benefits are well known and this is one of the dishes where this delicious plant is the main star. Along with artichokes and broad beans, this simple but tasteful dish has only a few other ingredients: garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and olive oil.

Main courses

17. Janjetina na ražnju (roasted lamb) is a whole roast lamb on a spit or pieces of meat roasted on a spit.

18. Janjetina or teletina ispod peke (lamb or veal under the bell) are pieces of meat baked under a cinder-covered lid. Peka (bell-shaped cooking vessel) is an ancient and traditional technique of baking meat (or seafood) with vegetables like potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions and tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil and white wine.

19. Vitalac is a special and indigenous Brač dish made with lamb or goat innards. The innards are skewered, salted and wrapped in a belly handkerchief and then baked on a spit. This traditional shepherd's dish, prepared while waiting for a roast lamb, is protected as the Croatian non-material cultural heritage.

20. Butalac is another local Brač lamb dish served on Easter. It is made of lamb leg, which is stuffed with Mediterranean herbs and drizzled with wine.

21. Janjetina s bižima (lamb with young peas) is a traditional Dalmatian light lamb stew made with chopped lamb pieces, young peas and potatoes.

22. Lamb tripe (tripice) is a traditional and popular stew made from lamb liver and stomach with boiled potatoes. The stew is characterised by the strong taste of tripe and the vivid red colour of tomato paste.

23. Dolce garbo is very similar to the famous Venetian-style liver dish. It is made of slices of lamb innards with dark and thick, sour-sweet sauce served with mashed potato, polenta or gnocchi.

24. Manistra fažol is a bean soup with cured pork ribs and pasta. It is a traditional Italian dish prepared throughout Dalmatia. Although it is called soup, it is often thicker in texture. There are variations without meat and with the addition of cinnamon which gives a unique flavour.

25. Dalmatinska pašticada is made with beef that is marinated in vinegar and spices, after which it’s cooked in red wine and prošek with bacon, tomatoes, dried prunes and root vegetables. Pašticada served with gnocchi is a traditional wedding and Christmas dish.

26. Hobotnica ispod peke (octopus under the bell) is prepared similarly to lamb or veal under the bell. The whole octopus is slowly cooked in its own juices with vegetables, olive oil and white wine. 

27. Brudet is a true star of traditional Dalmatian cuisine. This fish stew is prepared with a variety of seafood (any white wish, shellfish, scampi and crabs) - the more the better. The most common side dish served with brudet is polenta.

28. Grilled fish, scampi or calamari is a must-try dish on the whole Croatian coast. Grill (a simple metal grate) is in Dalmatia called gradele and grilled fish is served just with olive oil. The most important thing about grilled fish (riba na gradele) is that the fish is fresh from the sea so it keeps its taste.

Side dishes

29. Lešo blitva (Swiss chard) is a super simple and popular side dish often served with grilled fish. It consists of blanched Swiss chard and is combined with boiled potatoes, salt, and olive oil. Instead of Swiss chard, you can use other vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans or cauliflower. 

30. Krumpir iz luga are potatoes baked in a cinder (ash-roasted potatoes). To eat, carefully break a potato open and scoop out the smoky, fluffy flesh with a spoon, seasoning it with salt and olive oil to taste. 

31. Fresh and seasonal salads are the colourful crown of each eating table. You can find fresh seasonal vegetables in almost every garden on island Brač so don’t miss the chance to eat local and fresh salads with every dish.

32. Divlje zelje is wild, edible herbs blanched in hot water. It can be eaten alone or with boiled potatoes or mixed with Swiss chard, spinach, broad beans and fennel. Once this dish was prepared out of necessity to survive, and today it is a little-known speciality that is not easy to find in restaurants.

33. Šalša is a homemade tomato salsa which is prepared in the summer when the tomatoes are full of sun and the most delicious sweet and sour juice. Šalša is very similar to Italian napolitana sauce for the famous pasta napoletana. Šalša can be used as a side dish for cooked meat, with pasta or just with a slice of bread.

Desserts

34. Bračka škuta is a traditional ricotta-type soft and fresh cheese with a unique mild and gentle flavour very high in healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 

35. Procip is a traditional dessert made of one-day-old sheep cheese or škuta with caramel. This unusual combination is served while still warm.

36. Hrapoćuša is a traditional and indigenous cake from the Dol area. It is named after a unique topping that looks like a rough stone from which local caves were built. The cake is made of a thick biscuit made of nuts, and the filling is made of large pieces of walnuts mixed with egg white.

37. Brač almond cake is a simple yet delicious local dessert made with almonds, of which there are a handful on the island of Brač.

38. Rožata is a custard pudding made with eggs, milk, and sugar that originates from the  Middle Age Dubrovnik. It is served well chilled.

39. Paradižet is a popular dessert originating from France consisting of meringues made from whipped egg whites and poached in vanilla custard. This light dessert is served well chilled so it is perfect for hot summer days.

40. Fritule is a traditional Dalmatian sweet pastry served as a must-have festive treat during the Christmas holidays. Every family on island Brač has its own secret recipe for fritule or as some call it pršurate.

41. Pinca is a traditional Croatian Easter bread. This fragrant pastry is shaped into a large round loaf and brushed with egg wash, decorated with coarse sugar. The top of Pinca is decorated with a symbol of the cross.

42. Mendulat is a traditional super sweet Dalmatian dessert made with honey and almonds.

43. Hroštule is a traditional Croatian pastry made by deep-frying ribbon-shaped dough flavoured with lemon zest and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Drinks

44. Plavac mali is a red grape variety that is indigenous to southern Dalmatia which makes bold, powerful wines that are overwhelmed with ripe fruit and high in tannins.

45. Pošip is an indigenous grape from the island Korčula but it can be found throughout southern Dalmatia. Pošip is golden yellow wine, full-bodied and harmonious with fruity aromas.

46. Homemade liqueurs and herbal grappa (rakija) are traditional and excellent aperitif or digestif that is infused with local aromatic herbs. The choice of herbs varies, but some of the most common options include sage, fennel, mint, chamomile, rosemary, lemon balm, anise, myrtle, thyme, marjoram, wormwood, and bay leaves.

47. Prošek is a sweet Croatian dessert wine often confused with the sparkling Italian wine Prosecco. But it is not the same.

48. Smutica is an unusual combination of red wine and goat milk. The drink is rarely seen nowadays but our grandparents drank it with old bread as refreshments while working in the field cultivating vines and olives.

Other

49. Extra virgin olive oil from island Brač has protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. It is made from the native Oblica olives, which is called Bračka in the World Catalog of Olive Varieties. The flavour of Brač olive oil is mildly bitter, sharp and fruity.

50. Brački varenik is the oldest addition to meals of Mediterranean cuisine. It is reduced wine must from grapes of the local plavac mali variety, used as an addition to a variety of dishes and sauces.

51. Wild asparagus is an irresistible spring treat which can be found from March to May in forests and olive groves. The finest dish is the simplest - blanched wild asparagus drizzled with olive oil and a few drops of homemade wine vinegar. Other must-try dishes with wild asparagus are scrambled eggs and risotto in which you can add prosciutto or even seafood like shrimp.

52. Pickled samphire and capers are a tasty addition to any cold appetisers and seafood. Samphire is a bluish-green plant with thick fleshy leaves which can be found by the sea. Wild capers are piquant buds which can be found hanging on many old stone houses and walls.

53. Kruh ispod peke (bread under the bell) is a traditional method of preparing tasty homemade bread. Best is served fresh and warm.

54. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a must if you want to live long and healthily. On island Brač and the whole Mediterranean, we're lucky enough to grow some fantastic fruit and vegetables.

Fruits common to the traditional Mediterranean Diet include apples, apricots, cherries, clementines, figs, grapefruits, grapes, melons, nectarines, olives, oranges, peaches, pomegranates, strawberries, tangerines, and tomatoes.

Vegetables include artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery,  collard greens, cucumbers,  eggplant, fennel, kale, lemons, lettuce,  nettles, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, shallots, spinach and zucchini.

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