Čvarci (singular Čvarak) (Serbian Cyrillic: Чварци / Чварак) is a specialty of west Balkan cuisine, a variant of pork rinds. They are a kind of pork 'crisps', with fat thermally extracted from the lard.
Čvarci are a kind of rustic countryside specialty, common to Serbia and lowland Pannonian regions of Croatia. They can also be found in other countries from Southeastern Europe. They are usually homemade, with industrial production not as pronounced. In larger cities they can be obtained on farmer markets or in supermarkets.
Preparation of čvarci involves melting the lard. Lard is cut in blocks of about one inch (2 cm) in size and slowly fried in their own fat. Process lasts until all fat melts away and only a kind of tough crispy pork rind remains. Onion or garlic can be added as a spice. Pieces of skin may or may not be attached. In most common variety of čvarci, some percentage of pork fat remains.
A special variety of čvarci, known as Duvan Čvarci are produced in Šumadija region of central Serbia and especially around the town of Valjevo. In case of duvan čvarci process of slow fat frying/cooking is prolonged until completely all fat is extracted. The remainder is a mass of delicate fibers which resembles finely chopped tobacco, thus giving the name to the variety: 'Duvan' is a Serbian word for tobacco.
Indications for 'Duvan čvarci' had been registered and protected in Serbian intellectual property office by Slavoljub Batoćanin.
As with most traditional pork products, they are considered to be winter food. Traditional time for pork processing in the Balkans is late autumn, and čvarci are consumed throughout the winter. They can be eaten on their own as a snack, combined with heated fruit brandy common to the same region, called rakija, or they can be used as an ingredient in other food recipes. If consumed as a snack, they are very often combined with beer.
Recipes with čvarci include various sorts of pastry.