July 15, 2018 – With millions of people searching for information about Croatia in the wake of World Cup success, could there be a better opportunity to present the country’s charms?
Forget the football for a minute – if you can – this is a great time to be a webmaster of a Croatia-related website.
With such a surge in interest due to Croatia’s success on the football pitch, people are googling Croatia arguably more than at any time in its history. TCN has never seen traffic like this, and while it would be nice to think we were responsible in the increased traffic to the site, the only thing we have done is to have a website well-ranked on Google for Croatia-related keywords.
Looking at the keywords searched is quite instructive, and it tells us how little many people know about this tiny nation aiming to become the second smallest ever to win a World Cup later today. “Where is Croatia”, “is Croatia in Europe” are common searches, and the World Cup success has given Croatia an unprecedented chance to present its offer to the world.
The Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, has also been attracting plenty of attention, with the search term “Croatian president bikini” proving particularly popular, as those mistakenly-attributed images of reality star and model Coco Austin are doing the rounds again – blame the Washington Post for their report a couple of years ago.
But the main thing that shines through in the Google searches is how much thirst for knowledge there is about Croatia and what it has to offer. The players have done a magnificent job on the pitch, the travelling fans have been unbelievable ambassadors for Croatia, winning millions of hearts, and the image of Croatia has been enhanced on the global stage.
So, with so much interest in Croatia at the moment, does it have anything else, apart from a football team in the World Cup Final? Of course. Take food for example. The late, great Anthony Bourdain, visited Croatia back in 2012 and was totally blown away by what he experienced. He said that Croatia would be the next big thing, and that if you hadn’t been to Croatia yet, you were a ******* idiot, that he was a ******* It was one of the finest promotions of Croatia I have ever seen.
And Croatian food is excellent, and very diverse. It would be hard to say that there was a national Croatian cuisine, as its various regional cuisines are so diverse. A menu in Istria will differ considerably from Slavonia or Dalmatia for example. The emphasis is on fresh local products in all cases, and given the regional diversity of Croatian cuisine, this makes it among the most interesting culinary experiences in Europe.
The Mediterranean diet of the islands of Hvar and Brac are listed as intangible UNESCO heritage, olive oil in Istria and cheese from the island of Pag has been named the best in the world, and there are an incredible 130 indigenous grape varieties, including one which has been proven to be the original Zinfandel. And if you are looking for something truly unique, Croatia even has its own edible dormouse festival. For foodies, a gourmet tour of Croatia is a delicious journey into the unknown.
So where to start on your culinary journey of discovery in Croatia?
One of the best new projects I have seen online in recent years is actually Croatian (with a Bulgarian twist), a global food map of local dishes, including the best restaurants to try them as ranked by food critics. Rather than relying on the ratings of TripAdvisor, which ranks restaurants, many of which do not serve local food, TasteAtlas takes local dishes as its key information point, with where to find them as a secondary service. Although it still has not officially launched, it is already proving extremely popular around the world, as travellers can reach a new destination and check out the local specialities and where to try them. There are more than 5,000 dishes online at the moment.
So, for all those of you googling what to eat in Croatia, or looking to learn more about its rich and varied cuisine, there is no better place to start than TasteAtlas Croatia. Perhaps you will discover the secrets of the healthy Croatian diet which has allowed one football team from a tiny nation to reach the biggest stage of all. Check out TasteAtlas Croatia here.