Probably the most traditional Croatian dish of all is štrukli. The speciality from the Zagorje region has been inducted on Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage list.
One place in the capital which has been perfecting štrukli for almost 70 years is the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel. Štrukli was first prepared at the Esplanade Hotel in 1951, and it all started with the idea of offering guests something attractive, original and well-proven from different parts of Croatia.
Culinary experts have recognised the value of national dishes as the most attractive invitation for guests who want to enjoy local delicacies, and since then, štrukli has become part of the Esplanade menu.
Crossing the path from rural kitchens to elite restaurants, this delicious treat has reached the top of the range thanks to its quality, handmade craftsmanship and local tradition. Esplanade’s štrukli has also been tasted by many famous guests, including foreign statesmen, royal family members, athletes, actors, singers and others who did not remain indifferent to this traditional Croatian dish.
“Esplanade’s štrukli has been prepared according to a proven recipe since the 1950s and is synonymous with the tradition and quality of homemade gourmet offerings. Today, štrukli is served to our guests for breakfast with other local products such as pršut, Pag cheese, homemade čvarci, olive oil, and local sparkling wine. They are also part of almost every event, gala festivities, and weddings, whether at the buffet or on the menu. However, the strongest link is the legendary Le Bistro, which is impossible to visit without tasting one serving of delicious štrukli or buying the frozen ones that guests can easily bake at home,” said Esplanade’s chef Ana Grgić, before adding.
“They are made by hand and I believe that is why they are especially appreciated. The dough is kneaded and stretched across the table until it is quite thin, like a sheet. It is then filled with fresh cheese and shaped with a thin porcelain plate. It is then steamed and baked with a fine cream in the oven until the štrukli turns golden. They are consumed as an appetiser, main course or as a dessert with sugar, while for me, the finest is the salty ones, and it is during the winter when they are most comforting. Our patisserie is a real small manufactory where our hardworking ladies and men produce thousands of štrukli a year. And this year, especially during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, I believe that Esplanade’s štrukli will be one of the top gourmet treats we will be preparing for our guests.”
During January, Esplanade’s Le Bistro traditionally offer štrukli for the special price of 45 kn a portion. This year the offer lasts until 2 February.
(Photos: Hotel Esplanade/Rajan Milošević/Šimun Šitum)