People in the Balkans strongly believe that life is about indulging in pleasure. In their case, these pleasures usually involve a lot of grilled meat and bottomless salads. Oh, and don’t forget to add rakija to the equation.
When talking about celebrating food in the Balkans, you can’t exclude their national drink, right? Due to the fact that you’ll rarely catch them obsessing over calories and cholesterol, the Balkans have become somewhat of a haven for foody travelers and other tourists looking to get away from their worries about fitting in their favorite pair of jeans.
If you’re a proud owner of a traveling stomach and an avid fan of gastronomy tourism, then this article is for you. Mark the Balkans as one of your potential vacation destinations and keep on reading to find out what is all the fuss about Balkan food.
Dishes Infused with Tradition and History
The Balkan Cuisine relies on several century-old recipes that have been slightly tweaked and updated over the years. The Balkan cuisine is a melting pot of different cultures and influences, and while there is undoubtedly a huge Turkish influence present since most of the Balkans were under the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years, the truth is that most of their specialties are a mix of a little bit of everything.
For instance, the love for meat-heavy, flavorful plates, and heavy use of spices is the heritage of Ottoman cuisine. The most popular dough-based desserts are also borrowed from the Ottomans. However, we must not exclude the historical influence of neighboring countries such as Austria, Hungary, and Italy. So if you love a little bit of history as a side dish, you’ll absolutely fall in love with Balkans food.
Doesn’t Exactly Fit the Instagram Food Trend
If you’re looking for visually appealing meals, stick to the French because most of these dishes don’t exactly look good. But that’s exactly what defines this unique cuisine. Balkan dining is not necessarily fine dining, yet it will capture your heart and satisfy your stomach. When asked what is Balkan food about, we like to answer: “it might not look fancy, but it will satisfy your palate like nothing you tried before.”
Nothing Comes Close in Terms of Tenderness
There are various cooking methods for preparing authentic Balkan food, but one stands out as a favorite. Cooking meat “under the bell,” or more commonly known as under the lid, yields the most tender meat you’ll ever have the opportunity to taste. The meat and other ingredients are covered by a terracotta lid, and hot coals are placed on top to achieve a very high temperature. The result is a plate full of juicy flavors and aromas.
Fans of Stuffed Dishes Will Rejoice
There is a vast array of specialties that involve a lot of stuffing vegetables with plenty of meat and other ingredients. This method is hugely popular in the Balkans, and if there’s a vegetable that can be stuffed, you’ll probably find a recipe for it.
One can not discuss stuffed specialties without mentioning Sarma. These stuffed cabbage leaves are a favorite winter dish all across the Balkans and taste better the longer you cook them. Another favorite is stuffed peppers, especially around October. Every authentic Balkan restaurant has to have at least one of these meals on their menu, or else they can’t call themselves a Balkan restaurant
Rakija Is Always Welcome
Whether your having breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a quick snack, rakija is always on the table. It’s an integral part of the region’s culinary identity and an amazing aperitif!
These are just some of the things you should know before visiting this gastronomic region and having a taste of their specialties. However, if a vacation to the Balkans is not possible at the moment, make sure to stop by our restaurant, located in Downtown, Miami, and try out some of the meals we mentioned in this article. As always, our blog section is your number one spot for delicious recipe articles, so make sure to follow it.