My Balkans, wherever you are…
The Balkans is a region in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea to the west,the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea to the south, and the Sea ofMarmara and the Black Sea in the east.
The Western Balkans, where I come from, was once known as Yugoslavia but is today comprised of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro. Yugoslavs, or South Slavs, are a people whose origins can be traced back to areas inwhat today is Ukraine. The Western Balkans can be divided into the continental lowlands, the continental mountain areas and the Adriatic coastal areas.
Agriculture plays a central part in the continental regions where the breeding of livestock such as sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and cattle is very common, while corn, wheat and poppy are popular crops. The fertile valleys are very suitable for vineyards and home to many great wines.
The continental lowlands begin north of the Balkan Mountains and this is where you find the largest cultivated areas. Vast fields of corn and wheat dominate the landscape, but also alot of oat, barley and rye are grown here. There are also orchards aplenty in this region. Walnuts, apples, pears and plums are most common and often used to produce different sorts of rakija – the Balkan fruit brandy.
In the mountainous part of the Dinaric Alps sheep farming is important and consequently a lot of dairy products are eaten here, especially kajmak (cream cheese) and a variety of cheeses, as well as cornbread and porridge. Lamb and sheep are roasted whole. A lot of the meat is air-dried and consumed as cold cuts all year round. Vegetables are pickled in vinegar and stored for the often long and cold winters.
“A meal without meat, is not a meal”, is a Balkan saying. Preferably, you roast on a spit but various kinds of minced meat are also typical. Ćevapčići and pljeskavica, also known as pljeska, are dishes that nowadays you may find in restaurants all over the world.
Needless to say, you will find the recipes in the book ” My Balkans – Food and people”.
The Adriatic Coastal areas provide grapes for wine production, but also olives, citrus fruit, spices, figs, peaches and fish represent a large part of the production.
This is a chapter from the book “My Balkans Food and people”
YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK HERE:
Love & share/ Jovan B.F.C.