Around the coasts of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montengro and in San Marino you’re going to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and excellent seafood, but the ambiance afforded by a table with an Adriatic view adds that indefinable something to your meal that you’ll never duplicate at home.
Italy has always been a synonym for "good food," offering an e explosion of flavors, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes. World renowned products such as Parmigiano Reggiano (cheese, Parma and San Daniele ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Genoa's pesto, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Alba truffles, and cured meats are just some of the symbols that make Italy the land of good food. And how could anyone forget pasta and pizza, universal synonyms for Italy?
Italy, Austria and Hungary have all influenced the cooking of Slovenia, where 170 dishes are now officially recognized as typically Slovene, from unusual soups and buckwheat porridge to meat dishes and delightful desserts. The main ingredients are cabbage, beans and potatoes; without them there would be no typical dumplings or sautéed potatoes. Slovenia’s inns, or gostilne, are the best place to sample local cuisine. Many of them are family businesses, some going back a hundred years or more, so you can expect a warm, hospitable welcome and service. In the wealth of dishes on offer, you can always find at least three dishes that are typical of the area or region. A tasty meal is often concluded with a rich potica or prekmurska gibanica cake.
Continental cuisine in Croatia is fascinating. Influences inherited from the Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish kitchens during various periods in history to add new dimensions to its Slavic roots. The Slavonian dining table groans with tasty ham and Kulen sausage while the typical Slavonian pot olds shepherd’s bean stew or paprika fish stew, washed down with the not to be missed glass of plum schnapps. In Istria, start first with an aperitif of mistletoe, rue or honey schnapps, followed by cheese and prosciutto accompanied with Istrian soup, and during the spring scrambled egg made from asparagus. Ston oysters and mussels in Dubrovnik, or lamb and veal cooked in embers under an iron bell…the delights of Croatia are hardly limited to the table, but there you’ll find quite a few.
An excellent way to know the heart of Montenegro is through its food. Try lamb or kid meat, pivski kajmak (a special milk cream from Piva), clear fish soup and boiled fish, fried carp and smoked bleak. In the northern region you’ll find lots of dairy products, lamb and cornmeal porridge on the menu, whereas near the seacoast loads of fish are brought to the table, grilled and served with olive oil-drizzled vegetables. And above all, pour some Vranac or Krstac wine after your meal and finish off with something sweet such as cheesecake, a peach or some water melon. If it’s just a little break you need, relax with a Nikšicko beer, and in the early evening invigorate yourself with grape brandy and tidbits of along with smoked ham, goat cheese and tomatoes.