What is a licitar?

  Licitar is colorfully decorated cake made of honey dough. From the distant past the secrecy of licitar making has been preserved within the family of gingerbread crafts from the central and lowland of Croatia. Although entirely made of edible ingredients, at first it brings joy for eyes and soul. Traditionally it is of bright red color and produced in various shapes and sizes. Small size licitars (heart, cherry, doll, small bird, mushroom, horse-shoe, small wreath, horse) are favorite decoration of Christmas trees in Croatian homes, whereas the large size licitars are created for giving as a gift to the loved ones at special occasions. A young man giving a heart shaped licitars to his girlfriend to express this love and devotion to her is a custom deeply rooted in the Croatian traditional heritage. The St. Valentine’s Day, the largest holiday of those in love, is a special occasion for such sign of attention. This custom has been portrayed in the famous baler “Licitar heart” by Krešimir Baranović performed on stages throughout the world.




The tradition of licitar making dates back to the Middle Ages, especially to the 16th and 17th century when cakes in richly decorated wooden moulds were made in many European convents. In the Easter Alps region, such tradition of cake making soon grew into a craft, which was gradually spreading to the other Central European regions, when it also came to the Pannonian parts of Croatia. In the 18th and 19th Century, in the towns of Zagreb, Karlovac, Koprivnica, Samobor, Varaždin and elsewhere, licitar makers were reputable craftsmen, and their products favorite among members of all social classes. Here, craftsmen were making dough and wax products such as licitars, gingerbread cakes, candles, wax votive gifts and drinks such as “gvirc” and mead. Since their early days, these products have been sold at fairs and parish fairs related to church festivals. Thanks to licitars producers, the stalls with gingerbread and mead products provided picturesqueness and special atmosphere.

How to make licitars? You can also try your creativity and make licitars on your own. Find our how! More …


Croatian Licitars. Colorfully decorated cakes made of honey dough, such as licitars, one may find throughout central Europe, and even further. In Austria and Germany these cakes are named Lebkuchen or Lebzelter (this is where the Croatian word “licitars” originates from), in Check Republic it is perník, in Slovakia medovník, Slovenia lect and so on. Although all of them have the common origin, licitars from the Northwest Croatia assumed with the time specific and unique features, such as bight red glaze and characteristic decoration. Therefore, it is no wonder why licitars today grew into a unique symbol not only of the Northwest Croatia, then also the symbol of the entire Croatia.

Croatian licitars (left) and German Lebkuchen (right) - the difference is evident!

In that manner, one may find licitars, ever more often, apart from fairs and parish fairs, also in souvenir shops and exclusive traditional gifts shops, which was – at the time of establishing the company Licitar – our objective, far away from realization at that time.
The confirmation of these words are also the attempts of the Croatian Government to include licitars into the UNESCO list of the world nonmaterial cultural heritage.