The sweetest Croatian souvenir of the island of Hvar: Dalmatian "nuns" prepared indigenous pepperoni this way

The Old Town is rightfully considered the historical jewel of the sunniest Croatian island of Hvar. Cultural landmarks such as the Dominican monastery and the Tvrdalj building, which was built by the famous Hvar poet Petar Hektorović as a fortress to defend against the Turks, leave every visitor who finds himself in this tourist destination breathless.

the old town on Hvar
Old Town, photo: Fran Dekkers/ Pixabay

But what Stari Grad is also proud of, when we talk about gastronomy, is the old Croatian paprenjok (pepper dish). The same poet mentioned them in his famous work "Fishing and fishing complaints", where he invites his friends to a snack with pepperoni and wine. Starogroj paprenjok was included in the intangible cultural treasure in 2008, and many visitors today "up and down" visit this town, which the locals call Stori Grod, in order to take this irresistible, edible souvenir with them.

Although the name pepperjack indicates that one of the ingredients is pepper, this could not be further from the truth. Namely, it is honey is one of the main and dominant ingredients of this cake. It is believed that the peppercorns got their name from the mixture of spices "papor", which consists of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. The mixture was used in dishes until the middle of the 20th century in Stari Grad.

On the island of Hvar, the inhabitants stick to tradition, and mothers and wives used to prepare paprenjak for their sons and husbands who were going sailing. The tradition of preparing this cake it was passed down from generation to generation. In the past, only a few women knew how to prepare real peppers in the city.

Today, paprenjaci are prepared for various occasions such as weddings, baptisms, birthdays or giving a child as a gift. Rarely can an island wedding go by without serving this delicacy. Peppers have become recognizable Croatian souvenir which is prepared in various forms, although it is believed that the original peppers were made in the shape of a horseshoe or a four-leaf clover.

honey peppers
Photo: Pixabay

In order for you to enjoy this original Croatian dessert for a moment, which can be kept for several days, we bring you a recipe for real, original paprenjaka, as used by grandmothers and great-grandmothers from Dalmatia.

Original old Croatian paprenjok - recipe


2 kg of smooth flour
1 kg of honey
250 g of olive oil
300 ml of prosecco
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nuts
1 teaspoon cloves
1 g of saffron

old Croatian paprenjok
Paprenjaci, source: Tourist board of the town of Hvar

<strong>Preparation: </strong>

Boil the honey and let it cool. Put the cloves and prosecco in another pot and bring to a boil and cool. Soak the saffron in prosecco and wait for the honey to cool. Then add baking soda, walnuts, vanilla sugar and cinnamon to the cooled honey. Strain the cloves and prosecco and pour the saffron with the prosecco. Mix the mixture well and knead with the previously added flour. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for two to three hours. Shape the chilled dough as you wish into butterflies, flowers, clovers, hearts or the like, then put it in an oven heated to 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.

If you want to decorate the peppers, we suggest whipping the snow with egg whites and powdered sugar and a few drops of lemon juice and pour over the cookies.


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