The cuisine of northwest Croatia is characterized by many simple, delicious dishes. Bread is mostly made from maize, barley, or a mixture of the two, and cakes are often similar in texture to bread (kukuruznjaca - made from maize; periaca, zelevanka, buhtli, doughnuts, walnut and poppy-seed loaves). A profusion of pasta dishes, dairy products (made mostly from cow’s milk), as well as plenty of vegetables (beans, potatoes, cabbage, etc.), often mixed with meat to form a broth (zucchini, cucumbers, runner beans, broad beans, peas in the summer, and beans with pickled cabbage in winter, beans with barley porridge) and salads (fresh cucumbers with sour cream and garlic, lettuce, tomato salad, peppers and onions). This is where food provision for the winter is still made in the traditional manner (pickled cabbage, cucumbers boiled in vinegar, pickled peppers, red beet, as well as sweet dishes - plum jam, rosehip jam, bottled fruit, etc.).
In the same way that southern cuisine differs from island to island, so does the cuisine in this part of the country differ from one region to the next. In the region of Medjimurje one really must sample buckwheat porridge with meat from fat meat or blood-sausages, as well as side dishes of baked beans or potatoes, formed in cones, with rich spices, or smoked or dried cow’s cheese turas, known in the region of Podravina as prge. Turkey with mlinci (a boiled pasta dish), strudels of various kinds, as well as pumpkin cake with poppy seeds, have spread from the region of Zagorje throughout Croatia. It is hard to find more delicious geese and ducks than those from the region of Turopolje, or baked carp (krapec na procep) than those from the regions of Moslavina and Posavina. The region of Banovina became famous for its winter salami (Gavrilovic salami). blood-sausages, garlic-sausages and other special sausages, for baking with pickled cabbage, boiled smoked pork leg with potato or bean salad with onion, are favourite dishes almost everywhere.
Samobor, a small town near Zagreb, is an ideal venue for a gastronomic excursion. Its picturesque restaurants offer Samobor Steak, Samobor custard slices, salami and kotlovina - port and potato stew - hermet (sweet, spicy wine) and mustards which have been prepared here for almost two hundred years. The cuisine of Varazdin, and in particular of Zagreb, represents urban, metropolitan cuisine, related to the more famous cuisine of Venice. Of course, Zagreb has also its steak (bread-crumbed veal stuffed with cheese), and it also offers a variety of roast dishes (beef, pork and fowl) served with potatoes, vegetables and horseradish, as well as various stews (wine goulash, bacon and tripe, lungs "sour art"), grilled meat, pasta… Delicious sweets continue a tradition hundreds of years old – a tradition of the "baking woman of Gric" and bishops’ pastry-cooks, revealing Croatian dessert cuisine in its entirety (Croatian pancakes, Zagorje strudel, strudel stuffed with cottage cheese, or apple strudel, bucanica, various cakes, ice-creams).
Zagreb’s contemporary cuisine is international, with the finest Italian cuisine widely represented. Restaurants frequently offer better quality fish than those available on the coast, more delicious lamb than in the region of Lika, and better kulen than in Slavonia. One should savour the following wines from this region: Portugizac from Plesivica and Jastrebarsko, Rhine Riesling, Chardonnay from Strigovan, Muscat Otonel, Turk's sparkling wines, as well as wines from the wine-cellars in Bozjakovina, Pinot Blanc from Sveti Ivan Zelina, Moslovina Skrlet from Voloder, as well as many other wines, but also the traditional drink, gvirc (gvirc, mead) sipped with gingerbread biscuits.