Inland Croatian cuisine is invariably a waistline-enhancing affair, with generous helpings of pork, turkey, duck and freshwater fish forming the backbone of most menus. Signature dish of Zagorje and the northeast is roast turkey served with mlinci, sheets of pasta torn into misshapen scraps and covered with tasty juices from the bird.
Paprika is the main characteristic of Slavonia and the Baranja, where meat and fish are cauldron-stewed with generous helpings of the red spice. Carp, catfish and pike-perch from Sava and Drava rivers frequently end up in fiš paprikaš, the spicy, soupy mainstay of most restaurant menus around Osijek and in the southeast. Frequently served with tagliatelle-like noodles, fiš perkelt is a slightly reduced version of the same thing. The meat-eater’s alternative to fiš is čobanac, a goulash-esque paprika-laden stew which is served in vast tureens. Many Slavonian families keep a pig or two, traditionally slaughtered towards the end of November in the annual kolinje, or pig cull. The main pork-based delicacy is kulen, a rich, paprika-flavoured sausage served as a snack or hors d’oeuvre.
The wines of inland Croatia are an increasingly big deal, with excellent Graševina (Welschriesling) and Traminac (Gewurztraminer) on sale in the family-run wineries of Zmajevac and Ilok.