Macedonian cuisine extensively reflects gastronomical influences from the Middle East and other Balkan countries. And these influences make Macedonian cuisine all the more interesting.
Dairy products, wine, and coffee figure prominently in Macedonian cuisine, while stews and soups are traditionally served.
When in Macedonia, make sure to have a taste of the following:
Tavče gravče is a baked beans dish and is the national Macedonian food. This dish can be found in other Balkan countries, but since tavče gravče is originally Macedonian, trying tavče gravče in Macedonia should be part of your gastronomical itinerary.
Traditionally cooked and served in earthenware, tavče gravče means “beans in a skillet.”
There are now several recipe variations of tavče gravče, but the basic recipe includes boiling beans twice before baking them with other ingredients such as meat, tomato, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Normally, tavče gravče is eaten with pita bread.
Tulumba is a dessert popular in Bulgaria,Turkey, and Greece but is also a favorite in Macedonia. In fact, it is considered a traditional Macedonian dessert.
This dish can take a long time to prepare, but it is delectably appetizing when done right.
It is prepared by first stuffing an icing bag with unleavened dough. The icing bag must have a special nozzle to form ridged, oblong dough pieces.
The dough pieces will then be fried, then steeped in cold sugar syrup, resulting in a delicious dessert.
Ajvar is a bell pepper relish that originated in Serbia, reached Yugoslavia, and eventually became part of Macedonian cuisine.
Called Serbian vegetable caviar, it is traditionally prepared at home.
However, it is a little tedious to make. Bell peppers, together with eggplants, have to be roasted and peeled. The bell peppers are then deseeded. Careful removal of the charred skin and the seeds is necessary to prevent any bitter taste.
Bell peppers and eggplants are then mashed and cooked with sautéed onion and garlic. Salt and usually vinegar are also added.
While still hot, ajvar should be transferred into a jar and sealed. This can be eaten as a salad, side dish, or spread.
Widely available in bakeries, burek is a baked or fried pastry popular in Macedonia.
Burek is made of layered dough with fillings in between layers. The fillings are usually minced meat or cheese, although other filling variations can also be used – potato, mushroom, apple, etc.
Rakija is a traditional alcoholic beverage that originated in Bulgaria but is now also popular in other Balkan countries, including Macedonia.
This brandy-like drink is made from distilled fermented fruits such as plums, grapes, apricots, and pears.
Usually homemade, rakija has an alcohol content of 50 to 60%. InMacedonia, this drink is often served with salad.