On the Balkan Peninsula, the spicy cuisine of the Orient meets the fresh ingredients of the Mediterranean culinary tradition. As versatile as the individual countries of the Balkans are – so is their cuisine. In order to understand Balkan culinary art, we need to take a brief look into the past. Food culture in the Balkans has been influenced by many other cultures over the centuries. Thus, in this country, you can find Ottoman or Turkish, Hungarian, Greek as well as Austrian and Italian influences. This cultural mix makes Balkan cuisine unique, versatile, and extremely popular!
Cozy and sociable: that’s how you know the atmosphere in the Balkans. Here, people like to get together over food and drink to celebrate good food together. Here you can find out what should not be missing from a traditional evening of enjoyment on the Eastern European peninsula!
APPETIZERS AKA MEZA OR MEZZE
The wide-ranging finger food platter is an important part of the Balkan culinary tradition. The Meza introduces a convivial and cozy evening and is universally popular due to its versatility. On the cold plate, you can find the basics, such as fresh uštipci (fried yeast rolls) or freshly baked flatbread, as well as dried meats, such as pastırma and sudžuk. The countrymen love to dip warm bread into various sauces and creams – that’s why the plate is often spiced up with hand-scooped kajmak (sour cream), homemade ajvar, and various cheeses.
THE HEARTY MAIN COURSE
The Main Course often comes straight from the grill. Hearty meat variations such as raznjići (meat skewers), Ćevapćići, or stuffed Pljeskavice are the focus. Freshly made pita is served as a side dish, prepared in various ways (potatoes, meat, spinach, or cheese). Homemade (often fermented) salad, stews, and soups, such as sarma (cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat in a paprika sauce) are also on the menu and are very popular.
Balkan cuisine is not only convincing with hearty dishes, but also knows how to delight with sweet desserts: juicy baklava and many sweet pastries such as Čupavci, delicious chocolate-coconut cubes, or tulumbe (sweet, deep-fried dough rolls in sauce) are among the Balkan delicacies. This is accompanied by freshly brewed coffee with warm milk and a thick layer of kajmak on top.
THE STARDRINK: RAKIJA
Depending on the region and country, the choice of drinks in the Balkans varies. From home-distilled plum brandy to regional wine and beer, you’ll find plenty to choose from. What whiskey is in Ireland and vodka in Russia – that’s rakija in the Balkans. Rakija is often homemade and can be made from a variety of fruits. The most popular variety is the one made from plums and is drunk from early morning until late at night.
Fun fact: in the Balkans people also believe in the healing power of rakija. The liquid is a natural remedy that relieves pain and cures diseases!
Traditional, meat-heavy dishes are on the menu every day in the Balkans and are seen as true soul food. Those who want to embark on a pleasure trip through the Balkan countries are in good hands in our hotels in the east: the Falkensteiner Hotel Belgrade, the Falkensteiner Resort Punta Skala, or the Falkensteiner Hotel Montenegro offer exquisite culinary delights in the midst of the most beautiful regions of the Balkans.