Zagreb is rich with various events, but food festivals are becoming more and more popular. It is also a unique opportunity for the inhabitants of the Croatian capital and their guests to taste some half-forgotten Croatian foods. One such simple, authentic and delicious meal is soparnik. Almost mythical, it appears from the hand of family farm Čorić in Tugare, a small place in the vicinity of Split. It is proudly presented at the Food Film Festival in Zagreb.
This famous food is at the same time very simple to make. The dough is made with flour and water and is used to make a circle bigger than the ordinary jumbo pizza. It is filled with chopped Swiss chard, covered with another layer of dough and is baked in a traditional oven. Afterwards, soparnik is covered with garlic and olive oil. The simplicity gives a rich flavour of Dalmatinska Zagora (Dalmatian Hinterland) and Mediterranean, reminiscent of the past and forgotten times. It is not inconceivable this kind of soparnik was eaten by the old Romans, inducing the famous emperor Diocletian, who dwelled in Split.
In Zagreb, soparnik was an offer by two young and kind members of the Čorić family, who also stressed that Swiss chard, garlic, and olive oil used in their soparnik come from the family homestead as well. Soparnik has been eaten anytime, but no festival or party can be held without soparnik on the table. The Čorić family makes it well: after all, they have more than 30 years of proud experience in making soparnik, and tradition stems from generations before.
Tugare is one of the picturesque villages in the hinterland of Omiš and part of the medieval Republic of Poljica, an autonomous community which existed in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period in central Dalmatia. It was organized as a peasants’ republic and is best known because of the Poljica Statute, first written in 1440. Basically, it survived because of the hard terrain of the surrounding mountain Mosor and Tugare is a place right in the middle of it, between two hills, Mošnica and Očura. It is here where soparnik is part of the everyday diet for generations.
Because of its simple ingredients, soparnik was once a favourite meal for the poor, but today it has become a brand of the traditional Dalmatian cuisine. But in all its simplicity, it has a great taste of homemade chard and garlic, not to mention beautiful olive oil and the sense of the traditional baking technique. Indeed, soparnik should be one of the best reasons to visit Poljica and the family homestead Čorić!