The land of sun is the land of the tastes. Macedonia is the land of the gourmands and true fans of a good meal. This biblical country still preserves the aromas and flavorings that you may very well remember from childhood, from a time when fruit and vegetables were not sold in the supermarkets, neatly packaged in boxes, with the same size and color, and had a recognizable slightly-sour taste of tomato, pepper, sometimes steaming hot, sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet as a fruit; crunching cucumber, the bringer of freshness and fragrance throughout all summer. In these vegetables the Macedonian soil has imprisoned sun and water.
Here, every good meal starts with fresh salad. We call it “meze”, and whenever you mention meze in Macedonia, it means a perfect combination of fresh salad, all white cheeses, whether that be cow, sheep, goat, buffalo… other kinds of cheese which have sharp aromas and tastes that linger on the palate during the whole lunch, a real typhoon of aromas. Furthermore, different variations of eggplant, zucchinis, brine, cream… All of this inevitably accompanied by rakiya or mastika – strong aperitif which is a must for starting a meal – some drink it for “better circulation”, others for “better food digestion”, but most drink it simply because rakiya and salad is a combination which is necessary for beginning a meal in Macedonia; fiery liquid that slides so easily through the throat, all the way to the stomach, where you finally feel the flame, but also the taste and the aroma of the grape, or plum, or pear… And, of course, this is done to raise your mood or to treat an ailment (provided it is consumed in limited quantities).
What comes next, depending on the taste and the season, will broaden your horizons with Macedonian pies, with cheese, spinach, poppy, leeks, pumpkin, potato, in countless flavors and variations, with sour milk or Macedonian “matenica”.
And Macedonian meals cooked in pans such as cooked combinations of meat and vegetables will give you a completely new perspective: “turlitava” with eggplants, okra, potato, rice and mixture of meat; rice-pan with its incredible combination of chicken meat and rice from Kochani. “Sarma”, prepared with regular cabbage or with leaves of grapes, trout stuffed with tomatoes, peppers, carrot and apple; cooked beans with peppers; specialty from Kumanovo called “mezaluk” prepared with meat, kidneys and heart of a lamb, cooked with vegetables, parsley, mushrooms, garlic, basil, pepper…
A completely new chapter in the food story involves the soups and stews – countless ways and variations, countless spices and ingredients; stew made of roe, lamb stew, tripe stew.
However, the story of the Macedonian cuisine is incomplete without the mention of “ajvar” and one of its variations, “pinjur”. Much more than winter food, it carries the charm of the whole Macedonian cuisine.
And finally, the inevitable. Ask for baklava with walnuts and raisins… and Turkish coffee, which, despite its name, it is mostly consumed in Macedonia.
To all our guests who have visited Macedonia and have requested the recipes, but also to all those who are yet to delve into the secrets of Macedonia, we would like to present some of our favorite recipes.
Stip meat pie
Vine leaf dolmades
Lamb Stew, by a recipe from Shar Planina
Vine Leafs Kapaama
Carp by a recipe from Dojran
River Trout Stew with Sorrel
Prilep’s (butcher’s) pan
Mezaluk by a recipe from Kumanovo