Macedonia's friendly food

 

Listen up, food- lovers! Sitting due north of Greece and near to Turkey, is Macedonia, a yet-to-be-discovered country popping up on the culinary radar thanks to cheese, wine and wild game. Now there’s an opportunity to taste and tour this ancient world that has a 95 percent literacy rate with free internet in most places.

Macedonia Experience introduces Culinary Experience, a 10-day/9-night sampler with hands-on demonstrations of traditional Macedonian cuisine combining Balkan and Mediterranean characteristics of fresh fruits and veggies, mountain-grown herbs and local wines. Toss in Turkish tastes that prevailed during long centuries of Ottoman rule, a few wild game dishes and gustatory senses will be overjoyed.

This pepper-spiked adventure begins in the historic town of Skopje, inhabited since 4000 BC. Here the culinary games begin. Lunch is in a restaurant built in a traditional style with live Macedonian music surrounded by the mystery of the Old Bazaar where wines and spirits (mainly rakija, a typical Macedonian spirit made by distillation of fermented fruits) and cheese are served in bars and eateries. The next day a pre-breakfast visit to a pazar (typical market) introduces foods and spices before a traditional breakfast of pastry with chorba (a minestrone-type soup). Guests learn how to prepare makalo (gravy), pot cheese and proja (preparation of cornmeal into a type of bread). Later comes a wine and cheese tasting before dinner at a winery near Skopje.

The tour includes sampling wild game specialties, a market tour to purchase ingredients to prepare selsko meso (Macedonian and Balkan pork and mushroom dish) and pastrmajlija (Macedonian bread pie made from dough and meat). Later, gquests learn how to make lokum (traditional sweets) before sampling region-wide famous Krusevo sausage and kebab. Next come Krusevo pies filled with cheese, leeks, cabbage and spinach. An enologist meets the tour in the Tikvesh wine regionand another time, guests dine in a traditional sheepfold on ingredients sourced locally before departing the next day.

Fun Facts about Macedonia (along with Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo) belonging to the less-developed southern region of the former Yugoslavia. 

  • There are no tourist shops to be found
  • Being a shepherd is still a legitimate profession
  • Donkey/horse drawn carts still haul products into the villages
  • Visitors are allowed to be up close and personal with icons and paintings from the 13th century and older
  • The Cyrillic Alphabet is the alphabet of the country
  • Macedonia is the birthplace of Mother Teresa and Alexander the Great
  • Lake Ohrid (on this tour) is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Muslims and Christians live peacefully side by side
  • Macedonians eat minimal processed foods; they eat what they grow and raise

 


 

 

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