Dolac underground market, Zagreb / Croatia

  • Pork head
    Pork head
The three sections of Dolac market

Dolac market is the most famous one in Zagreb and consists of three sections:

  • the outdoor market – see post
  • the fish market – see post
  • and the “underground” market which is situated below the outdoor market and is basically a market hall

To my embarrassment I missed the “underground” section of the market which is indeed a market hall. I only got to know about it as I watched a documentary on Dolac. The entrance is indeed not obvious enough for me, but the many customers show that this is not a true barrier.

The market hall is a bit dark when you enter it giving it a slightly spooky touch. While the outdoor market above is more focused on fresh produce, in the market hall meat and cheese lovers will find here all the Croatian specialties. Still fresh produce and pickles are available as well.

The offering

The offering is focused on the local population but culinary tourists can make discoveries as well and bring back home some goodies.

The many butchers offer mainly pork cuts and adhere to the nose to tail philosophy. Besides traditional cuts whole pork heads are available, dried/smoked pig ears etc. Fat is not seen as unnecessary bi-product but is presented in many ways to be used for cooking. Popular is the Čvarci, basically pork fat crisps with a very pleasant taste – certainly not the healthiest food but good to bring back home. All the meat makes you feel that it is easy to survive a cold winter, with hearty tasteful dishes.

The cheeses are mainly fresh or harder cheeses, soft cheeses are not really available. There is a lot of sheep and cow milk cheeses available, I had not seen goat milk ones. One stall sells an award winning sheep cheese from the Island of Pag sold as Paški sir (see also photo gallery above). As this cheese is available vacuumed packages of different sizes, I can only recommend to bring it back home as a souvenir or to eat it on the go. Fortunately enough some vendors speak English and are willing to share their knowledge.

Next to the fresh produce were the pickles as they may be found elsewhere in central Europe, e.g. in Bratislava or Tirana. Those are always great to look at and it would have been worth to grab a portion and eat them on the spot. The pickles were made out of any kind of veggies: peppers, cauliflower, onion, cucumbers and more, often mixed all together. I was very much impressed by the fermented cabbage leaves which are put together to make them look almost like whole heads of cabbage.

All in all: A nice market hall to discover ingredients of the hearty part of the Croatian cuisine and to get culinary souvenirs.

A little link list:

  • How to make Croatian Čvarci
  • The markets in Zagreb – in Croatian but easy to grasp
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