Once a cheap rustic countryside specialty, the Croatian pork scratching ‘Čvarci’ have become an expensive delicacy in Croatia, and also now fetch astronomical prices abroad as well.
It was not too long ago in Croatia that the cost of čvarci were around £2 a kilo, but today at Croatian markets they are close to £10 a kilo.
Čvarci from the region of Slavonia have started to make an impact on markets in Europe, and in particular the UK, where a kilo fetches over £60.
One spot in London where the čvarci are selling well are the famous London Borough Markets.
Preparation of čvarci involves melting the lard. Lard is cut in blocks of about one inch (2 cm) in size and slowly fried in their own fat. Milk may be added at this point in order to obtain the caramel colour.
The process lasts until all fat melts away and only a kind of tough crispy pork rind remains. Onion or garlic may be added as a spice and salt is always used as condiment. Pieces of skin may or may not be attached. In most common varieties of čvarci, some percentage of pork fat remains.
In Croatia čvarci are sold usually by the kilo at the markets. Whilst packaged čvarci are available at stores, snack-sized packs or flavoured čvarci have not been around.
Local Croatian producer Podravka have this month released new ‘on-the-go’ homemade ‘chvarci’ packs in three unique flavours – salty, spicy, and with garlic and onion.
The packaging has been designed by agency Unex.