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The Story of Baranja Kulen

The Story of Baranja Kulen

Traditional cured meat delicacy

Baranja kulen is a traditional cured meat delicacy that has been produced in Baranja since the end of the 19th century.

For the locals, it is a symbol of prosperity and the pride of the entire region, a spicy delicacy that people enjoy on special occasions.

Although the preparation and recipe are a closely-guarded secret that has been passed down from generation to generation for decades, the Baranja kulen is made in nine steps from carefully selected ingredients – the finest cuts of pork and a unique mixture of spices dominated by pepper and paprika – ingredients responsible for its typical mild spiciness.

From preparing the filling and stuffing it into a natural casing (“katica”), to smoking and curing the product – each Baranja kulen is made by hand, gaining its unique rounded appearance and specific spicy flavour only after several months.

Baranja kulen bears the protected geographical indication at the level of the European Union, which further confirms its quality and exceptionality, long since recognised by all true gourmets.

Carefully selected ingredients

Ideal choice for every occasion

Carefully selected ingredients and care for every piece of Baranja kulen become fully apparent with the first bite. The full, authentic flavour of this delicacy is a favourite for any occasion, be it family gatherings, special celebrations or relaxed moments with friends.

Its exceptional quality becomes a source of inspiration for creating a variety of dishes, including assorted platters and creative finger food that will appeal to all palates and bring true kulen-ary magic to every table.


Carefully preserved century-old secret

For ages, in the picturesque Baranja, kulen makers have kept their secret recipes as their most treasured possession. The story of Baranja kulen began in 1905, when Geza Barnaš, a skilled butcher from the village of Karanac, started making it in his butcher’s shop, likely unaware that it would one day win the hearts of gourmets across the country and beyond its borders.

In Belje, production of Baranja kulen began in 1915 at the Sausage and Salami Plant in Beli Manastir, which started its operation as a large manufacturer. Due to the growing demand over the years, the production of Baranja kulen and the entire range of durable cured meat products shifted to “Mesokombinat Belje,” built in Mece in 1976. Thanks to the new smokehouses and meat curing chambers, Baranja kulen became available year-round. Since demand grew every day, in 1981, construction of the Baranjka began – a specialised plant for producing traditional cured meat products in Beli Manastir. In 1982, the plant was already producing various other delicacies, such as Baranja bacon and Baranja sausage, alongside Baranja kulen.

In 2006, as a result of an investment in the Baranjka production plant, kulen production capacities significantly increased. Belje thus proudly became the largest producer of Baranja kulen in Croatia, and in 2015, we also received well-deserved acknowledgment for it – protected geographical indication, which made it a symbol of the quality and tradition of this beautiful region.


Baranja kulen production begins in the butcher’s shop owned by Geza Barnás in the village of Karanac.


Baranja kulen production begins in Belje.

1915. - 1976.

Baranja kulen is produced based on a traditional recipe, and due to the increase in demand, production is transferred to the newly built “Mesokombinat Belje” in Mece.


New smokehouses for cold smoking and meat curing chambers in the newly built “Mesokombinat Belje” in Mece enable year-round production of Baranja kulen.


The new Baranjka plant in Beli Manastir is built, specialising solely in traditional cured meat products; Baranja kulen is the leading product.


Production of cured meat delicacies becomes focused solely on the production of traditional cured meat delicacies – smoked bacon, Baranja sausage and Baranja kulen, all produced based on traditional recipes from the region. By investing in the Baranjka production plant, the total capacity of kulen production increases and Belje becomes the largest kulen producer in Croatia.


Belje initiates the founding of the Baranja Kulen Producers’ Association with the aim of promoting the kulen production industry and receiving the protected geographical indication of the European Union.


Baranja kulen receives the protected geographical indication of the European Union.


Production and sale of cured meat products made by hand using pork produced from the Black Slavonian pig is initiated; the products soon become the standard for premium Baranja and Slavonia quality.

Protected origin

Protected at the level of the European Union

Baranja kulen is protected and registered at the level of the European Union, which means that it is recognised as an authentic product of the region from which it comes.

The process of protection and registration began in 2010, when the Baranja Kulen Producers’ Association filed an application for the registration of the name “Baranjski kulen” to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia. In 2015, the European Commission entered “Baranjski kulen” in the Register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications.


Tracing the delicacy from A to Z

It all starts with the best cuts of pork from the leg, ground to 8 mm in diameter. Premium quality paprika, salt and pepper are added to the meat. Each piece of Baranja kulen is hand-stuffed, and it owes its specific shape to the natural casing, “katica”. After stuffing, kulen is smoked in the traditional way on beechwood, and then moved to meat curing chambers where, under controlled conditions, it matures for at least three months to achieve a full, well-rounded taste.


Bon appétit!

Old residents of Baranja were true masters of producing top-quality meat delicacies that remain succulent and full of flavour. This craftsmanship is woven into Belje’s Baranja kulen. This kulen is the pride and joy of the entire region, as well as the entire Croatia.

Ingredients and recipes passed down through generations, combined with carefully chosen quality meat and select spices, including a special type of paprika, form the basis of this premium-quality traditional kulen.

The curing process, which can last several months, further enriches its taste and ultimately turns it into a unique gourmet delicacy that brings something special to every table.