Pag is known for its unique traditional specialties and culinary culture and it makes a delightful destination for anyone who enjoys good food served in the tranquil surroundings of a scenic Mediterranean landscape. Like most places in Dalmatia, the island offers fresh and simple meals with local seafood, fish stews, and other dishes that reflect the region’s culinary traditions. Traditional Pag dishes typically consist of the famed Pag cheese, lamb and other organic, local foods and ingredients that include olives, olive oil, fresh seasonal vegetables, wild herbs, figs, almonds, grapes, citrus fruits, and the locally produced sage blossom honey.
Pag cheese, a hard cheese made from the milk of the local sheep, is widely thought to be Croatia’s best cheese. It is served as an appetizer with local prosciutto, salted anchovies, grapes, black olives and wine or used as an ingredient in various dishes. Some of the popular recipes include the delicious Pag cheese risotto, stuffed calamari, and roasted asparagus with grated cheese. However, even though it makes an excellent addition to any meal, Pag cheese is best served separately from other foods, as this is the best way to fully appreciate its complex, distinctive taste. Additionally, the whey which is left over after making the cheese is boiled and used to prepare fresh cheese, a delicious creamy spread eaten with bread or pancakes, or used as a filling in various cakes.
The unique flavour of the Pag cheese comes from the milk of the indigenous local sheep that graze on the island’s aromatic vegetation, which is salted by strong northern winds tumbling down the slopes of Velebit mountain and across the sea to the island during the cold season. As a result of salt dust being scattered across the island, only the most resilient plants survive, including the fragrant Pag sage, pot marigold, wild thyme, mountain germander and other aromatic herbs that the island is known for.
Lamb seasoned with sage and other local spices is one of Pag’s signature gastronomical specialties. The lamb is typically grilled, cooked, spit-roasted, baked under a baking lid or in an oven and served with potatoes and fresh vegetables. The meat itself has a very specific flavour thanks to the Pag lambs’ steady diet of salted aromatic vegetation. Like the Pag cheese, the lamb has a protected designation of origin and is unique to the island.
Visitors looking to enjoy a unique culinary experience and explore the flavours of traditional Croatian food can book their stay at the Boškinac hotel, which opens its doors for the upcoming season on March 17. The hotel’s restaurant serves the island’s excellent lamb, cheese and fresh fish prepared in a number of unique, creative ways, along with some of the best wines of Croatia, including a fine selection from the Boškinac winery.
Those looking to book their stay in the early spring, from March 17 to April 27, can enjoy the hotel’s weekend gourmet offer and take special gift packages home with them to share some of the flavours of Pag with their friends and family.