Guardians of tradition, taste and smell of Varaždin area

5. March 2022. Nikola Vido

What is rožata for Dubrovnik, pašticada for Dalmatia, fuži with truffles for Istria, and kremšnita for Samobor, for Varaždin are: Varaždin klipič, Zagorski štrukli, Vabučin, Trnovečka makovnjača, Varaždinski medenjaci…

The word “tradition” just like “love” is truly misused today. Although we can present to tourists and the local population many traditional recipes that have been left to us as a legacy, we still offer “homemade” ‘ćevapi’ and ‘pie’, pizzas and desserts that do not even belong to our area. Well, isn’t this a shame?

Yes, it is, and Varaždin County recognized that. The County recognized that traditional products are the pearl of every region that needs to be talked about, whose quality must be preserved and history nurtured. Varaždin County conceived this through a project called “Guardians of tradition, taste and smell of Varaždin area”, through which family farmers have the opportunity to present their products.

Year after year, the project records an increasing number of visitors, interested tourists, and local gourmets who stand in line waiting for their ‘5 minutes’ in some of the best restaurants.

As part of the culture, heritage, customs and daily life of the people, local gastronomy with its flavours and aromas stands out as an indispensable component of the tourist offer. In addition to 13 agri-food products protected by a geographical indication, the people of Varaždin do not have to blush when asked “What local specialities can you offer us?”. In their gastronomic basket you will find: Varaždinsko zelje, Zagorski puran and mlinci, Varaždinski klipič, Varaždin pumpkin oil, Ludbreg horseradish, Zagorske štrukle, Zagorje acacia honey, Vabučin, Kučanski koščičjak, Trnovečka makovnjača, Šemovečka kelešica, Varaždin honey cookie, Vidovečki gibanik, Medena rakija and Mlinčani kolač.

Varaždinsko bučino ulje - OPG Darko Šipek

We have already written about some of them, and today is the time for you to get know:

  • Varaždin klipič
  • Zagorje štruklji
  • Vabučin
  • Trnovečka makovnjača
  • Varaždin honey cookie
  • Varaždinski klipič

Every beagle is a beagle, but not every beagle is a Varaždin beagle / Varaždinski klipič. It was named after a type of spikelet resembling a small mallet, and it was first mentioned in the 18th century. Soft and fluffy on the inside, dark yellow to golden on the outside, coated with eggs and sprinkled with cumin seeds and spices, klipič has the exact recipe for making and rolling dough (it has 4 folds on each side), and it is protected with a geographical indication.

It is difficult to get the original recipe, and if you succeed, make sure that its length is at least 25 cm,
because otherwise, you will make beagle, but not ‘Varaždinski klipič’.

  • Zagorje štrukli

Flour, eggs, oil, salt, cheese and cream – sometimes less is really more. The well-known Zagorje štrukli/štruklji also have a Protected designation of origin. Thanks to its quality, handmade production and local tradition, crossing the path from country kitchens to elite restaurants, this delicious delicacy has reached the top Croatia gastronomic offer. Numerous media from all over the world write about
them, and at the first bite it is clear to us why this is so.

Čuvari tradicije, okusa i mirisa varaždinskoga kraja

The dough as thin as a sheet is kneaded and spread all over the table, then filled with fresh cheese, shaped with a thin porcelain plate, and at the very end, depending on your preferences, steamed or baked with cream in the oven, until golden.

Sprinkle with sugar or not, Zagorje štrukli will not leave you indifferent.

And while a lot of people heard of them, we can’t say the same for the next product.

  • Vabučin

“The smell of homemade bread and the morning sun shyly peeking out the windows. It is a description of a perfect morning. And the Vabučin is already ready to complete the experience. It is the most perfect spread of the best pumpkin seeds. If you haven’t already, give it a try. Every morning. ”- This is the description of the Tourist Board of Varaždin County for a Vabučin, and we are copying it because we couldn’t write it better ourselves.

After all, who knows ‘local’ better than the local population?

Only the people of Varaždin recognize with their eyes closed the taste of real Varaždin pumpkin oil, Varaždin pumpkin seeds.., and Vabučin is prepared exclusively from foods produced in the Varaždin County. It was designed by Mrs Ivanka Pust, and many palates have enjoyed it and will enjoy it.

  • Trnovečka makovnjača

We can thank the Turks that the poppy arrived in the Varaždin region and the KUD “Mak” and the Association of Women “Trnovečko srce” for preserving the rich tradition of the Trnovec to this day. Every year, they organize the “Harvest Festival” (Žetvene svečanosti), an event where we have the opportunity to try this ‘simple’ dessert called Trnovečka makovnjača, which dates from the 18th century. This simple poppy seed cake differs from the ordinary poppy seed cake in the dough. It is stretched as thin as for strudels, mixed only with wheat flour, eggs, oil and salt, and folded many, many times. We believe that even real Trnovec women do not know the right number.

  • Varaždin honey cookie

Indispensable on the holiday table of the people of Varaždin, soft as ‘soul’ and sweet as sugar, Varaždin honey cookie dessert is, as the name suggests, prepared from honey. Numerous emotions and childhood memories of many people from Varaždin are woven into just one piece of this cookie. The recipe is passed down from generation to generation, and each family thinks for their own that it is the ‘original’ one.

The tastes of the cuisine of the Varaždin region will bring you closer to the history and tradition, the richness and variety of dishes created by the simplicity of preparation and ingenuity of rural housewives. Therefore, on our first visit to the Varaždin region, we will cross the “Trnovečka makovnjača” from our gastronomic “wish list”.

Until the next reading,

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