Travel 1 minute 20 December 2021

Gastronomic celebration of Christmas in the Croatian capital

As the Christmas lights sparkle over the snow-covered rooftops of Zagreb, the historic centre of the Croatian capital takes on a magical feel. With the onset of Advent and the approach of the Christmas festivities, the Zagreb Mingles project and it’s Christmas edition Zagreb Jingle Mingles provide an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to explore the city’s attractions through a whole host of traditional events and delicious gourmet treats in its many restaurants, bistros and pastry shops.

Gourmet venues participating in Zagreb Mingles, a project created to promote social interaction through the discovery of Zagreb’s cultural, historical and gastronomic attractions throughout the year, include a selection of different food outlets dotted around the city. Some of the restaurants taking part in the initiative, such as the trendy Michelin-listed Boban (owned by former footballer Zvonimir Boban), have prepared festive fare especially for the occasion, including ricotta-filled cappellacci pasta with pumpkin and pancetta, roast sausage with mashed potato and cabbage, pumpkin pancakes, chestnut tart, apple crumble, hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.

Cappellacci ©lucagavagnaiStock
Cappellacci ©lucagavagnaiStock

Other notable Bib Gourmand restaurants where to enjoy local cuisine include Agava situated in the picturesque pedestrian Tkalčićeva street, where dishes on offer range from risotto with Pag cheese, thyme and pear, to black suckling pig from the Slavonia region served with lentils, ginger, chutney and Madeira jus.

In addition to its appraised culinary selection of bistrots and restaurants, the Zagreb Mingles website also features an interactive Advent calendar where a different culinary tradition is highlighted each day, as well as information on the rituals and legends relating to the history of Christmas. It also has an interesting Stories section, highlighting fascinating anecdotes and unusual facts relating to subjects such as Christmas carols (did you know that there are 733 different versions of Silent Night?); places in which to enjoy a glass of mulled wine (apparently much loved by Queen Victoria); as well as lots of information about the iconographic figure of Santa Claus.

The importance of the spirit of Christmas for Zagreb, as symbolised by this much-loved character, is emphasised by the work of native chefs that at this time of the year, enhance their efforts to add further depth and intensity to the city’s typical recipes, transforming them into warm, comfort food.

In Zagreb, December is hence a month full of positive vibration and energy: Crowds throng the streets, restaurants are very busy, rooftops are covered in glistening snow and Christmas markets are full of people looking for gifts and tasting the delicious treats on offer, while warming themselves with a glass of warm mulled wine.

Advent in Zagreb - I. Pavlović
Advent in Zagreb - I. Pavlović

Hero image: Advent in Zagreb 2019 - J. Duval