Memorable Zagreb Souvenirs by History and Taste
I'm sure you're familiar with the saying: "Food is culture." So is there a better way to experience Zagreb, than through indulging in its flavours and aromas? I don't think there is, especially when years of tradition and history stand behind them.
Many Zagrebian treats are souvenir-worthy, as they represent the city's heritage, with incredible craftsmanship and impeccable tastes that will bring back memories of Zagreb, no matter where you might find yourself!
The crumbly heart of Zagreb
If you have ever taken a stroll in the center of Zagreb, you must've noticed its most recognizable symbol in window stores – Licitar. This colourfully decorated biscuit consists of sweet honey dough made simply from honey, flour, eggs and water. After baking, colouring and drying, which takes up to a few weeks, Licitars are decorated with a swirling outline, small flowers and a mirror in the middle.
Image credit: Shutterstock
The tradition of making and serving Licitars dates back to the 16th century. The creators of Licitar, known as Medičari, were highly respected in society, with their special dessert being high in demand. Even today, this tradition is maintained by a select few, who pursue the art of making Licitars in the secrecy of their families, with little change in the way they make them.
Besides souvenirs, Licitars are used as decorative gifts and are often given at weddings or love celebrations such as Valentine's Day. They are even listed in the UNESCO "Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage" for Croatian culture. Quite impressive, don't you agree?
Spices and flavours rich in the city's history
If we are talking about traditional Zagrebian delights, we can't leave out gingerbread cookies! The name of this tasty pastry in Croatian translates to „peppery biscuit“, which comes from the fact that pepper was an extremely rare and expensive spice to get a hold of. Zagrebian gingerbread was even mentioned in the literary work of the famous Croatian novelist August Šenoa in the 19th century.
This crispy biscuit is especially popular during the winter, with warm and flavorful seasonings that light up the holiday cheer. The recipe contains sugar, honey, butter or oil, nuts such as walnuts, with various spices – pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove as the star ingredients. They can be moulded into many shapes, such as houses, hearts, snowflakes... The choices are really endless! I'm already hungry just thinking about it!
Image credit: CroChef, TZGZ
A similar version in which honey is the main ingredient is the honey gingerbread, a soft biscuit filled with spicy components such as nutmeg, saffron, lemon zest, cinnamon and many more! The secret to the unique honey aroma is using sage honey, instead of regular honey, which is heated and added to the dough before kneading it. Depending on which honey is used in the process of baking, the colour of the biscuit may vary. The biscuits are decorated with delicious sugary icing that gives them a special touch when they are done. Sounds yummy if you ask me!
Zagreb's very own sweet spot
When it comes to sweets and Zagreb, Kraš products are a must-try! Originating in Zagreb since 1911, this producer of all things chocolate, cookies, and candies, is beloved by generations and generations. From premium boxes of chocolates to everyday favourite tea biscuits, there truly is a treat for everyone's liking. So if you wish to satisfy your sweet tooth like a true Zagrabian, you won't go wrong with Kraš!
Image credit: J. Duval, TZGZ
If you are looking for a perfectly memorable souvenir, Kraš is your ideal stop. Their exceptional collection "Croatian heritage" is made of confectionery products paying homage to the most famous and historic Croatian landmarks, all hand-made by expert Kraš chocolatiers. They have recently introduced the white chocolate version of the famous Zagreb Cathedral, one of the city's most recognizable symbols. A lot of thought and planning has gone into making this special treat. The chocolate was designed and shaped using special custom-made moulds for an authentic remake. To bring a luxurious experience with attention to detail, the packaging contains gold details that also appear on the cathedral's stained-glass windows. Being socially conscious, Kraš will also donate a part of the proceedings towards the Cathedrals' rebuilding.
Image credit: Damjan Tadić / CROPIX
Next time you find yourself on the quest for the perfect souvenir to remember Zagreb by, check out these yummy suggestions. I'm sure you won't regret it! Bon appetit!
Header image credit: J. Duval, TZGZ
Author: Ayna Emina Kapetanović