Soparnik Pie: The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Croatia

Food & wine

If you’re looking for a meal with history, take a bite out of this delicious pie.

Poljički soparnik, also called zeljanik or uljenak is a savory pie made with swiss chard.

This traditional Croatian food is said to have originated from the period of the Ottoman Empire but its home is Poljica, a collection of villages under the Mosor mountain in Dalmatia, where its simple ingredients were baked to perfection.

This unique pie has such significance in Croatian culture, that it has been declared an intangible cultural heritage by the Croatian ministry of culture.

It is round and its diameter is around 100 cm, prompting some to compare with pizza.

Soparnik recipe

As its background, the ingredients are simple. Flour, oil, water and salt for the dough. Swiss chard, parsley, olive oil, salt, onion and garlic for the filling. First the cook makes the dough. It is traditionally kneaded on a short wooden table called stinija, and left to rest.

In the meantime, the cook gets the brick oven nice and toasty. It takes about an hour for it to be the right temperature for the soparnik to bake properly.

The swiss chard is washed, dried and seasoned with onion, olive oil, salt and parsley. The dough is then separated into two equal parts and spread out using rolling pins, lazanjure. From there on, the cook spreads the swiss chard mix onto the one dough and simply covers it with the second dough. The ends of this spherical simple cake are “closed” so that the filling would seep out and the entire cake is dusted with some cornflour so it wouldn’t stick to the brick oven. The soparnik goes in the oven where it is covered with ash and amber. After 15 minutes, the soparnik is taken out of the oven and washed over with olive oil and chopped garlic. It is always cut and served in a diamond shape.

This beautiful meal can be tasted in bakeries in Dalmatia, as well as various seasonal events. It has had such a revival that it even has its own festival in Dugi Rat.

Soparnik is a perfect example of the principles of typical Croatian food: simple, healthy and delicious. Give it a taste by booking a holiday in Camping Village Šimuni!