Tradition of Ogulin and Josipdol Gastronomy
The gastronomy in Ogulin is based on its natural surroundings. As it can be seen in the ethnographic department in the local museum, Ogulin has mountainous culture, similar both to the Gorski kotar and Lika regions. Its folklore, folk costumes, way of life, architecture are connected to these regions, although they bear certain specificities of its own. This translates as well in the culinary traditions, cared for in places such as the restaurant Frankopan.
Some gastronomy features are closely connected to Gorski kotar, especially the game dishes (pheasants, bear, deer, wild boar). The scarcity of the mountain life brought on the table „ajnpren“ soup (originally Einbrennsuppe) or „prežgana“ soup, originally from the northern regions. This unique soup „out of nothing“ was staple food for generations and symbol of most simple meal. It comes from German „einbrennen“ meaning fried. In mountainous regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland this soup was everyday breakfast for peasants and poor. Simple use of oil, flour, red pepper, some spices, and few eggs makes the taste of many childhoods.
Another tradition of the northern heritage is „smisni kruh“, a homemade bread baked from five kinds of flour – wheat, millet, corn, barley, and rye. This mix has great aroma and for many is kind of bread our gradmas used to bake. Today, you can still find this kind of bread in various places, as we tried it in the Restaurant Konaci.
Possibly the biggest single food that Ogulin is famous for is the local sauerkraut (ogulinsko kiselo zelje). It is an autochthonous sort of cabbage that is very suitable for pickling and has a specific taste. Healthy food is being produced more and more in this region. We have learned much about it by visiting the Agricultural cooperative Ogulin.
The influences from Lika are seen in cultivating vegetable cultures such as potatoes and in dairy products. Potato is a staple food and grows excellently both in Ogulin and Josipdol area. Together with potato, garlic is also famously adapted to the climate here. We were lucky, as we visited the region exactly in time of potato harvest. In matter of hours one could see grannies sitting in front of their houses and selling fresh potato and garlic for enormous discount. Potato fields are then burned and cleansed, and in the late afternoon one could see the smoke rising from all around.
More or less, the agriculture is based on natural conditions, but the family farm OPG Rendulić is special for its eco-production.
Dairy products abound here, as the area is perfect for extensive animal husbandry. Lush mountain meadows and valley are place where, sadly, fewer and fewer cows enjoy the grassland. This area could have tens of cheese production centres, but only few of them still exist. We have visited two of them: OPG Dušanka Čavrag and OPG Miščević.
Masnica is as traditional cake as you can get in Ogulin. “Ogulinska masnica” is leavened dough filled with a stuffing of stewed onion, eggs and cream. It is made of flour blended with lukewarm water, salt and soaked GERMA. Then the dough is rolled out and smeared with beaten eggs, seasoned with salt, and bent into a horseshoe form. It is smeared with grease in a baking pan, where it is left for half an hour. The top of masnica is covered with beaten egg which gives a nice yellow colour. It is baked for about an hour and eaten hot.