The Paulines started raising black and green turkey on their estates in Lepoglava in mid- 16th century.
The turkey was domesticated in North America and Mexico even before the „Columbus time“ so the first colonizers soon enjoyed the delicious meat of Indian chickens. Soon the turkey became a part of the precious goods coming into the European harbours from the New World.
The exotic delicacy arrived to our tables surprisingly fast. Less than forty years after the turkey's arrival to England, our nobles enjoyed the delicious meat of the „Indian chicken“.
A Venetian magistrate wrote that the first roast turkeys were served by the Paulines on the Nativity of Mary holiday in 1561. It is assumed that the first turkeys had been brought a few years earlier from Italy as a gift from Bishop Geraldini to one of our nobles.
Eventhough it was the Paulines who started raising turkeys, soon pheasants started raising them too. Because of free grazing they did not present an expense to poor village households, and they brought extra money, which made them ideal for small flock raising, which has lasted in Croatia for centuries.
Because of its high-quality meat and special flavour, these turkeys have been known all over Europe and one of our most attractive exported products in the early 20th century.
200 000 turkeys were put on the markets of Great Britain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. Each turkey was left with three feathers on its body so buyers all over the world knew it was the turkey from Zagorje.