In Romania, first country, we started or gastronomic trip, thanks to the wedding of Pierre and Oana. There is lot of grilled pork meat sometimes served with polenta, corn semolina with cream. We tasted several times Sarmale, cabbage leaves filled with meat. On the table, there is often an assortment of marinated peppers. With all of this, people drink good beer and very fruity plum brandy: palincă.
Our food discoveries in Serbia and in Montenegro are similar. We could eat good bread which we can buy in “pekara”. Here we could also find pastries filled with chocolate or jam and with lot of ice sugar. Our breakfasts or lunches were often with Burek or Borek. It’s a puff pastry filled with cheese, spinach, tomato or meat. It’s very good and very cheap. There was lot of salami. During Easter in Serbia, we ate lot of boiled eggs. It’s traditional, people gave us them everywhere, lot of proteins ! Along the road, beekeepers sold their honey. We drank some beers. It’s a speciality and their price is very low. We found Jelen from Serbia and Niksico from Montenegro. We tasted Rakia, alcohol from grape or plum.
With our pasta, a local sauce based of peppers, tomato, eggplant and garlic named Ajvar was very appropriate. We tasted also a dish of beans and meat called Possul. It looks like the french “cassoulet”.
In Albania, we can know that Italy is not far with food. For example, we ate very good pizzas. Excellent burek are a legacy of ottoman empire. Here we tasted again rakia. It’s very famous with fresh cheese.
In Greece, we tasted Dolmadacia, grappe leaves rolled and filled with rice. It’s excellent. We drank ouzo, aniseed alcohol, served with water and ice. Like others, those specialities are common with Turkey.
One Sunday noon, during the climb of a mountain, we saw numerous cars turn and stop. Arrested, we followed them. What a good idea! We could buy a piece of a good cake with lot of butter and sugar. We enjoyed this excellent desert without knowing what is it exactly.
As good french, we were afraid to not find bread to our taste. We were surprised to find in each country good and sometimes excellent bread. The best ones were in Zitsa and on Chios island in Greece. It was our staple food before we found lot of good vegetables and fruits thanks to the mediterranean climate. In the street, we saw often people shell and eat sunflower seeds.
Turkish coffee can be find everywhere in the Balkans but it is not always good. The ground coffee is boiled with water and stay in the cup bottom. Albanian people influenced by Italy, drink espresso or macchiato. In Greece where it’s hot, people drink “café frappé”: cold coffee with ice, water or milk. Fanchon didn’t like the tea in cafes or in supermarkets. So she drank hot chocolates which are very thick and very good.