Many Zagreb citizens come to Samobor with an idea to stroll around the city historical centre and sit on the main square to enjoy Samobor kremšnita (a custard slice). By Croatian standards, and certainly by local opinion, to leave Samobor without tasting its prime product, is such a grave sin, it might be better never to return.
Indeed, this favourite dessert is a symbol of the city. A nice light custard cream between puff pastry sheets is what people queue for. Every bakery in Croatia serves kremšnita, but Samobor kremšnita is unique in is preparations, and only two pastry shops make it. One of them is pastry shop Livadić, which we visited, while another is U prolazu.
But Samobor’s sweet tradition is not only in kremšnita. First of all, Samobor is town of carnival, and winter sweets are as typical for this town as creamy dessert. Krafli or krafne is carnival jam doughnut, but it was made also for other occasions, even for weddings. In traditional cuisine, krafli was luxurious sweet as it asks for lot of lard and oil, as it was baked in deep fat. Fašnik is a traditional shrove manifestation and for many the first association is lots of small children running around in their costumes and eating krafli, while the jam slips down their arms, with additional enjoyment of parents.
Today, it can be filled also with chocolate or even vanilla cream, and is dusted with powder sugar. But again, it is no worth of eating it with full enjoyment unless you visit the Fašnik itself. Everything began in 1820ies. Rare written documents from this period show the small Samobor held carnival fun, and municipality house organised costume ball. Since then, every year Fašnik Princess Sraka (Crow), Prince, Fiškal (Treasurer) and Sudac (Judge) proclaim Fašnik Republic. Every day the Samobor centre is place of merry gathering and street fun, with lots of music, food and drink. This might well be the best time to visit Samobor in the cooler part of the year!
Long time ago, when men from Rude (eng. ore) were indeed miners, and their wives were working in the fields and the children playing and watching after goods, a story about Rudarska greblica (Miner’s cake) began. The Miner’s cake is today recognized and accepted in every household in Rude and has become a trademark of every home.
The cake had a great role in modest households of that time. It was served as a main course – the ingredients being affordable to everyone which made its preparation easy. The cake was named Greblica after a tool which was used to clean ash in old stone ovens. The only written document about the making of this cake is contained in a book about Samobor folk life and customs written by Milan Lang, where Greblica was described as a thin cake made of cottage cheese and walnuts. Once it often used to be the only meal the miners had had and today it is treated as a specialty that people, not only in Rude but also in Samobor, pride themselves on. The cake also represents a part of the Rude Tradition Revival Project, aimed at restoring the old Mine, miners’ folk dances and a number of other customs that make Rude very attractive to visitors.
Since 1985 every year you can participate in Rudarska Greblica Days, held in beginning of summer. This is part of a hard work to protect this traditional meal, mostly done by the Association of Rudarska Greblica. This is an association formed in 2016, with an aim to protect this dish, and they succeeded, as Greblica is on the list of non-material heritage of Croatia, with much help of Josip Lebegner, the secretary of KUD Oštrc. This folklore group organises the Greblica Days. Principal partner of the manifestation is Andrejas Nikl, who together with his wife Jelena runs a family bakery that produces Greblica in its original form. Seriousness about their efforts is visible in every way, thus we visited them in their production home in Rude.
Sweet tooth should not forget honey and gingerbread biscuits, another childhood memory of every continental Croat. In family handicraft shops gingerbread biscuits are produced in accordance with old secrets of mead and gingerbread profession. Their products are edible, but first intention is to preserve it due to their beauty and craftsmanship. Samobor honey biscuits are made for eating. The essence is to visit small family craft shops, preserved in times immemorial, and sweet by their own standards.