Recently I spent a week in Croatia on holiday and thought in the interests of the site I would check out the local snack foods and report on the most interesting ones.
First up are the Paprenjak, which are a Croatian traditional biscuit made with honey, black pepper & spices and are similar to the German Pfeffernusse biscuits or a spicier, crisper gingerbread. As we were given the biscuits on both of our Croatia airways flights into the country we presumed they would be the equivalent of Shortbread & Scotland and in every tourist shop available. This wasn't the case and we didn't see any of these biscuits until the airport shop on our return at which point we stocked up.
The biscuits themselves come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are really only eaten by locals as a Christmas thing. The flavour is strange, but after the first bite you really get used to it. The spices and pepper give a nice warming effect and the crumb of the biscuit itself is really smooth and yet feels more like a hob-nob than a shortbread. We both really liked these and brought some back as gifts, but also for ourselves. It seems quite a simple traditional recipe according to the internet so might be a nice one to try for next Christmas.
UK health food shops have always extolled the virtue of the simple rose-hip. Despite growing naturally in this country it's fairly inedible in its natural state, but once turned into syrups and preserves has a nice sweet flavour with a natural dose of vitamin C to boot. This led to me being fed large quantities of the stuff in syrup form as a child. I'm not complaining about this mind, it's like Ribena in that once you introduce a child to it you never have to worry about their vitamin C levels again (just their lack of teeth).
At breakfast on the first morning in the hotel we were presented with a box of tea bags including Indian tea (a harsher English breakfast but still nice) and various fruit infusions. As with much of Europe Croatia is of the opinion that hot water is sufficient to make drinks with, and while this is true of coffee it never quite gets the full flavour of tea. Herbal infusions such as fruit teas (which are not true teas being made with different plants) do not have this problem, and are often a wiser choice when out and about. I spotted the rose-hip and decided to give it a go.
The ingredients listed are rose-hips and hibiscus flowers, nothing else. When brewed from the provided t-bags it is drinkable without lemon or sugar, but as with any hot drink you can add to taste. The flavour is very sweet but not too sickly, and it was a welcome discovery and my hot drink of choice throughout the trip. Boxes of these were very common in the supermarkets, but I decided to stick with the brand from the hotel as it seemed to be the one the cafe's also went for. I even brought a box home for at work.
I'm sure that similar is available in UK health shops as they do have a wide range of herbal infusions. I will have to explore.