In summer there's a fair amount of choice, but most restaurants close from October to April or May, and for winter sustenance you might need to fall back on supermarkets. Don't miss sampling the island's famous cheese.
There’s no other cheese quite like the distinctive paški sir (Pag cheese). Salty and sharp, its taste easily recalls the island that makes it. As sea winds whip through the low slopes of Pag Island, a thin deposit of salt permeates the ground and the flora it sprouts. The 35,000 free-range sheep of Pag Island graze freely on the salty herbs and plants, transmitting the flavour to their meat and milk.
The milk for Pag cheese is gathered in May when the flavour is at its peak. It takes 20L of sheep's milk to make a single wheel and each sheep yields half a litre per day. The milk is left unpasteurised, which allows a stronger flavour to emerge during the fermentation process. When the cheese finally ferments, it’s rubbed with sea salt, coated with olive oil and left to age for anywhere from six months to two years. The result is a tangy, firm product that matures into an aromatic, dry, crumbly cheese. As a starter, it’s served in thin slices with black olives, but it can also be grated and used as a topping instead of parmesan. It's a favourite at Croatian weddings, where it's served with prosciutto and Croatian wine.
The cheesemakers of Pag Island have won numerous awards. Most recently, in 2017 Sirana Gligora's paški sir won, for the third time, the gold medal for 'Best Hard Sheep Cheese' at the International Cheese Awards in the UK.
Otherwise, look out, too, for the ricotta-like skuta, a subtly flavoured (though rare) soft cheese found in restaurants including Boškinac, near Novalja.