Flavours of Bjelovar-Bilogora county

Simplicity with a touch of nature Bjelovar-Bilogora county is reminiscent of a giant, green carpet peppered with open spaces resting against the mild foothills of Bilogora, Papuk, and Moslavačka Gora mountains. Fields, pastures, forests, glades, vineyards and orchards, streams, lakes and ponds all run one after another, interwoven with a latticework of little roads connecting picturesque towns.  

The region's food has been prepared in the same way for centuries – in open hearths, in cast-iron cauldrons or earthenware pots, in brick ovens, and on small wood-fired ovens. These charming dishes will win you over with their simplicity and exceptionally creative use of ingredients, which give them refined flavours and scents. The region's traditional meals still exude the freshness and wholesomeness of the pristine nature their main ingredients hail from. The enchanting aromas of these dishes will lure you to try them, whether corn polenta with sour milk, boiled pork with sour cabbage or turnip, baked pork with bean and potato salad, pork goulash with vegetables, simple corn zlevanka cake with plum jam, or the traditional sweet holiday bread known as kovrtanj.

These refined flavours and scents, their simplicity, and the charm of dining surrounded by nature make for a truly special experience. Paired with the wide palette of wines from the Bilogora and Daruvar wine routes, the pleasure becomes sublime. Find these pleasures and enjoy them for yourself in select restaurants bearing the standard The Flavours of Croatian Tradition – Flavours of the Bjelovar-Bilogora Region. Enjoy and bon appétit!

Bilogorski kovrtanj

Bilogorski kovrtanj is a sweet bread made with select wheat flour, milk, homemade lard, eggs, a handful of salt and a bit of sugar. This bread is traditionally baked in brick ovens and is always found on the table for holidays. It was almost unimaginable to visit family or attend a wedding, christening, or other special occasion without bringing a loaf. Kovrtanj baked at Christmastime had a special significance. Throughout the holidays, it would stand at the end of the table to bring blessings and good cheer, and every member of the house had to taste it. Kovrtanj is never cut with a knife – instead, the sign of the cross is placed on it first, and then it is torn by hand. Special care is given to its shape. After the dough rises, it is most often woven into a triple or quadruple braid in the shape of a circle, heart, lyre, or the Greek letter omega. It is brushed with egg wash and decorated with designs made from unleavened dough, which remain white after they are baked. A raw egg is traditionally put into Easter kovrtanj, which cooks through as the bread bakes. On Sundays, smaller kovrtanj were traditionally made for children, which they could wear on their wrists and nibble on after the main meal.

Kvargl

The traditional dishes of the region were based on meat, grains, and milk products. Alongside cottage cheese and cream, which were often eaten independently or with polenta as a main course, homemade boiled cheese and kvargl also had a place at the table. Kvargl is an air-dried, semi-hard cheese that is conical in shape. The four basic ingredients of Bjelovar-style kvargl are local cheese from the pastures of Bilogora, paprika, garlic, and salt. It is made by hand, and lumps must be visible in the cheese when it is cut. It was once an unmissable lunch ingredient for farmers working in the field.

Moslavačke brašnjače

Moslavačka brašnjača, known also as brašnjenka, bijela kobasica, or bijela devenica in various parts of Moslavina, is a unique traditional speciality – a sausage made with homemade corn flour. They are usually made with fatty, juicy cuts of pork not used for drying, which are sliced into long strips and aged briefly in a dry marinade. There are many variations on this sausage, from a version that uses nothing besides salt, fat, and flour to those that add sweet or spicy paprika, garlic, onion, and leek. These sausages were once eaten for lunch or dinner. Boiled and sometimes smoked, they were served with bean salad or pickled beet, cucumber, and bell pepper. They were also often boiled with sour cabbage, sour turnip, or beans.

Bramborak

For those who might not know, bramborak are potato fritters. These salty, crispy treats go great with beer. They are quite filling and are often eaten as an independent main course. Although the original recipe contains only grated potato, milk, egg, salt, and garlic, they are also made with added bacon and minced onion. They are served alongside sautéed cabbage or cottage cheese and cream. This traditional Czech dish has made a home here thanks to the Czech national minority that lives in the region.

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