Have you ever tried the Balkan Specialties? If not, then this is a great opportunity for you to do that while in Croatia! If you are traveling to the Balkan Peninsula and have a passion for gastronomy, you should get a taste of the most delicious dishes you will find in every Balkan country! Balkan Cuisine has its roots in the Ottoman Empire, as that was where it originally came from.With the passage of time, each country added a variety of different ingredients adjusting them to their local cuisines. So, it is fair to say that balkan cuisine is a unique blend of European and Western Asian influences. However, If you come from a balkan country, don’t worry! You still have the chance to try and explore a diverse variation of your own local food!
Musakka is a greek casserole dish that consists of layers of potato and sauteed or fried eggplant at the bottom, followed by beef meat and bechamel cream on top, baked until it becomes bubbly and gets crusty. It can be found in all Balkan countries with different variations. However, in Croatia and Serbia instead of Eggplant it is common to use only potatoes (Musaka Od Krumpira) as well as egg custard topping making it equally delicious! The Greek Moussaka contains both eggplant and potatoes as the groundwork. Last but not least, grated cheese may be added on top of the bechamel cream. The secret of a flavorful Musakka lies in the freshness and the quality of the ingredients. It is the ultimate food for mood!
The dish of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls or most commonly known as Sarma is one of the most known Traditional Balkan Specialities. Wondering what Sarma is? The word ‘Sarma’ is actually a Turkish word which means ‘To be wrapped’. It is usually made of minced meat, rolled into sour cabbage leaves cooked with wine and more sour cabbage. Each country has invented different versions of Sarma adjusting them to their own traditional unique cuisine. Some people use a mixture of pork and beef while some put more spices in it. The original Sarma was meat free, made with wine leaves and filled with rice. This kind of Sarma is more common in Western Asia and Muslim countries. In the South Croatia and Bosnia they use wild bilva leaves called Raštika. When planning to visit Croatia especially at winter time, don't forget to try this delicious dish that is loved by all generations in Croatia!
Stuffed Peppers (Punjene Paprike) is a colorful dish that might catch your eye with its appealing and bright colors but it will never fail to satisfy you with its delicious taste! Every family in Croatia takes advantage of the bell pepper season during summertime to cook Punjene Paprike. There are many variations for this dish but we will talk about the Croatian way. This beloved plate is made of yellow, green and red bell peppers whose cores are removed and filled with ground beef combined with pork, rice, minced onions, garlic and tomato sauce. Also, Punjene Paprike are usually served with mashed potatoes which add a nice touch to this delicious summer dish. If you love peppers, then without a doubt this traditional balkan dish is for you!
If you find yourself in a Balkan household chances are that they will serve you a slice of fresh Balkan Pita, Burek. What exactly is Burek though? Burek consists of layers of pastry made out of phyllo dough, filled with different kinds of fillings, then rolled and ready for baking! The outcome is a crispy, golden looking pastry sheet. The stuffing can range from feta cheese, spinach to ground beef meat depending on the desires of the cook! The process of making a borek needs a lot of patience as well as love to reach an excellent result! Although, it should be mentioned that in Bosnia, Burek is only filled with ground beef otherwise it is just called Pita. People in Croatia and other Balkan countries, start their day with a warm slice of Burek sometimes accompanied with yogurt.
Shopska Salad is an incredibly refreshing and cool salad for a hot summer day on the Balkan Peninsula! It is very easy to prepare and it resembles the classic Greek salad but the difference lies in the crumbled or grated feta cheese, as it adds a different flavor and texture. The only ingredients needed are slices of juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, freshly cut onions and of course feta cheese on top. For a twist to the flavor, it is usually added slices of green pepper and olives! When it comes to the dressing of the Shopska Salad, less is more as the only dressing you need is olive oil and a little bit of salt! So don’t forget to try the Shopska salad on a summer vacation when visiting the Adriatic coastline!
Ajvar has previously been referred to as the "Balkan Caviar," according to the BBC and it might stem from the 19th century as pepper oils considered to be a luxury in the capital of Serbia.There are many different variations of Ajvar depending on which balkan country you live in. Ajvar includes sweet peppers combined with chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic and sometimes eggplant is added also. In Croatia, Ajvar is a popular dipping sauce accompanied with meat, omelets and pasta. However, it can also be enjoyed by itself, on bread or crackers. Last but not least, Ajvar consists mostly of vegetables so it is considered vegan and gluten free and full of nutritions and vitamins.
Hence, by the time you decide to visit Croatia make sure to try these commonly known Balkan foods to get a glimpse of the variation of Balkan Cuisine!