January 21, 2019 — In this article of the Made in Croatia series, learn more about Zagorski puran, the domestic breed of turkey from the Croatian Uplands.
Zagorski puran — the only Croatian native turkey breed — was registered as a product of a protected geographical indication in 2016, and as of 2000, it has been on the World Watch List for domestic animal diversity.
The ancestors of this prized bird hailing from the Croatian Uplands were brought to the region by the Pauline Fathers in the 15th century, while some sources claim they first arrived to Zagorje in 1523 as a gift from Italian bishop Alessandro Geraldini.
Zagorje turkeys are pasture-raised in a traditional way, on small family farms just outside Zagreb, mainly around Krapina and Varaždin. The average weight of the male gobbler is 6 kilos, whereas females reach about 4 kilos. Turkeys from Zagorje are particularly sought after around Christmastime and the best choice for a traditional holiday spread are female birds not older than 8 months.
Zagorski puran is today a protected Croatian brand, and behind this initiative is the Puran zagorskih brega agricultural cooperative. The geographical origin of the Zagorje turkey breed is protected at both the national and European level, meaning the birds can only be raised in Krapina-Zagorje and Varaždin county.
The most popular recipe is Zagorski puran s mlincima, a festive turkey roast dish sided with pasta tatters. In Croatia, turkey with mlinci is traditionally served as the main course during Christmas lunch or dinner.
If you’d like to know more about protected Croatian products, make sure you’re following TCN’s dedicated gourmet page.