Fried snacks made from pig rind (pork scratchings), known to Croats as čvarci, are one of the most famous dishes in Slavonia and an unmissable part of Croatian cooking tradition. For the preparation of this filling dish the fat and rind from a pig’s back are used, the slightly speckled meat which gives the čvarci a special aroma.
Čvarci are traditionally made after the pig is slaughtered, from the fat and rind remaining after the preparation of numerous sausages in which the fat is added because of the juiciness. After butchering the čvarci are prepared in the open air and cold in order that the rind will be easier to cut, and also so that in an uncovered metal caldron the mass of cubes can be fried without worrying about the intense smell which evaporates from it.
The rind obtained during butchering should be cut into equally sized pieces of two to three centimetres, in order that they are fried uniformly during preparation. With the addition of a little water, this way the chopped up rind gradually dissolves in large cauldrons along with constant stirring. When the fat softens, the housewives then add a little milk to the cauldron which is responsible for the čvarci’s distinctive brown colour. Before the cooking is finished, a red onion is added to the mixture. The čvarci then have to be sieved and pressed, and depending on the force of the pressing meatier or thin and crispy čvarci are made which are eaten as a snack. To prepare them special sieves for čvarci are used, but in the absence of specialised utensils, a potato press can also be used. The remaining liquid in the cauldron can also be sieved and then poured into a special pot. As it cools, this liquid solidifies and turns into fat, an ingredient gladly used for the preparation of savoury and sweet dishes throughout the year.
Immediately before serving the čvarci should be salted, and in order that they do not dry out, the čvarci should be kept in a sealed container. Apart from with bread, čvarci are often eaten with various types of rolls of which the most famous are čvarkuše, soft scones in which chopped up čvarci are hidden, and they are frequently served in pubs and restaurants.