The edible dormouse gets its name from the ancient Romans, who grilled and ate this small animals with gusto (and plenty of honey). Today, the edible dormouse is still a traditional dish in Croatia, where it is known as puh, and Slovenia, where it is known as polh. In both countries, edible dormouse is a traditional peasant dish and dormouse trapping is an important event.
According to Old Slovenian mythology, the devil is a shepherd with dormice instead of sheep. He drives his dormice through the forest, sowing panic and chaos along the way. The edible dormouse is very similar to squirrel, with a rich, greasy flavor and only a few mouthfuls of meat on each one. In Croatia, particularly on the island of Hvar, they are grilled over an open flame and served on bread. In Slovenia, they can be baked with buckwheat, or cooked in a goulash or stew. They can be difficult to find, and require a trip off the beaten path, but are well worth the effort.
Need to Know
The village of Dol on Hvar island hosts a dormouse festival, Puhijada, every summer.