Historically, Serbian food is characterized by a mixture of Byzantine–Greek, Mediterranean, Turkish–Oriental and cuisine of Austro–Hungarian Empire, as well as medieval Slavic influences. Serbian law bans production and import of Genetically modified food (GMO), which has caused a long ongoing dispute with World Trade Organization, preventing the country to become a member of the organization. That policy on the other hand got applauded for Serbia’s seasonal eating, naturally organic heritage and fresh products.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Meals
- 4 Drinks
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The national dishes include pljeskavica (a ground beef/pork patty), ćevapi (grilled minced meat), and Karađorđeva šnicla (Karageorge's schniztel). The national drink is the plum brandy šljivovica or Homemade rakija .
With Serbia being located at the crossroads between East and West, its cuisine has gathered elements from different cooking styles across the Middle East and Europe to develop its own hearty gastronomy with an intricate balance of rich meats, vegetables, cheese, fresh pastries and desserts. It has much in common with the cuisines of neighboring Balkan countries, as well as, to a smaller extent, with cuisines of countries as far north as Germany and as far east as Iran and Pakistan. Its flavours are mild, fresh and natural. Seasonings are light, while ingredients are fresh and of good quality. Eating seasonal food is very important, and many dishes are strongly associated with a specific time of the year.
Serbia's plentiful rivers, fertile soils and a mild climate represent a good environment for a flourishing agriculture that provides the cuisine with quality foodstuff.
Most people in Serbia will have three meals daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with lunch being the largest. However, traditionally, only lunch and dinner existed, with breakfast being introduced in the second half of the 19th century.
A number of foods which are simply bought in the West, are often made at home in Serbia. These include rakija (fruit brandy), slatko, jam, jelly, various pickled foods, notably sauerkraut, ajvar or sausages. The reasons for this range from economical to cultural. Food preparation is a strong part of the Serbian family tradition.
William, archbishop of Tyre, who visited Constantinople in 1179, described the Serbs: "They are rich in herds and flocks and unusually well supplied with milk, cheese, butter, meat, honey and wax".
The first published cookbook in Serbia is The Big Serbian Cookbook (Велики српски кувар), written by Katarina Popović-Midzina in 1877.
The best known Serbian cookbook is Pata's Cookbook (Патин кувар), written by Spasenija Pata Marković in 1907; the book remains in publication even today.
An old Serbian legend says that during the time of the 14th-century Serbian Empire, under the rule of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, meals in the Serbian palace were eaten with golden spoons and forks. Historians say that mediaeval Serbian cuisine mainly consisted of milk, dairy produce and vegetables. Not a lot of bread was eaten, but when it was, the rich ate bread made from wheat and the poor ate bread made from oats and rye. The only meat consumed was game, with cattle kept for agricultural use.
Breakfast in Serbia is an early but hearty meal, rich in calories and carbohydrates, meant to provide one with enough energy to start the day well. Bread is frequently eaten, served with butter, jam, yogurt, sour cream or cheese, accompanied by bacon, sausages, salami, eggs or kajmak. Many people would stop by a bakery in the morning to enjoy fresh pastries, such as pogačice, paštete, kifle (which in Serbian usage may or may not be crescent shaped and may be sweet, but may also be sprinkled with salt crystals), kiflice, perece, buhtle, pletenice, štapići, zemičke, djevreci, mekike and uštipci. Other common breakfast dishes include burek, kačamak and cicvara (types of polenta), popara, proja (cornbread) and čalabrca. Before breakfast most people usually take a cup of coffee, in modern times maybe an espresso. With the breakfast itself either a tea, milk, milk coffee, or chocolate milk is served.
Burek with yogurt
Meze is an assortment of small dishes and appetizers, though, unlike the Middle Eastern meze, it does not usually include cooked dishes, and is therefore more similar to Italian antipasto. A Serbian meze typically includes slices of cured meats and sausages, cheeses, olives, fresh vegetables and Turšija. Meze is served either to accompany alcoholic drinks or as a starter before a soup on bigger meals.
Soups are eaten as an entrée at almost every lunch. They are considered to be very important for good health. There are two types of soups in Serbian cuisine: thin soups called supa, and thicker soups with roux or eggs called čorba. The most common ones are simple pottages made of beef or poultry with added noodles. Lamb, veal and fish soups are considered delicacies.
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Notes|
|Consommé||Домаћа супа||Domaća supa||A simple chicken or beef soup with noodles or dumplings. The most common entrée in home cooking.|
|Veal soup||Телећа чорба||Teleća čorba|
|Lamb soup||Јагњећа чорба||Jagnjeća čorba|
|Fisherman's soup||Рибља чорба||Riblja čorba||A paprika-spiced fish soup, common in the Panonian region.|
|Green soup||Чорба од зеља||Čorba od zelja|
|Tomato soup||Парадајз чорба||Paradajz čorba|
|Cauliflower soup||Чорба од карфиола||Čorba od karfiola|
|Egg drop soup||Супа с јајима (супа с дроњцима)||Supa s jajima (supa s dronjcima|
The main course is most commonly a meat dish. Besides roštilj (barbecue) which is very popular, braising, stewing and roasting in an oven are the most common cooking methods.
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Notes|
|Rotisserie||Печење||Pečenje||A whole pig or lamb roasted on a skewer over a fire.|
|Đuveč||Ђувеч||Đuveč||A vegetable dish similar to Ratatouille. Either stewed or baked as a casserole.|
|Karađorđeva šnicla||Карађорђева шницла||Karađorđeva šnicla||A breaded rolled steak stuffed with kajmak, sliced ham and cheese.|
|Kavurma||Кавурма||Kavurma||Pig intestines, not to be confused with turkish Kavurma.|
|Moussaka||Мусака||Musaka||A mince and potato, zucchini or eggplant casserole, common through the Balkans.|
|Mućkalica||Мућкалица||Mućkalica||A spicy stew of pork, tomatoes and peppers. Typical of southern Serbia.|
|Goulash||Гулаш||Gulaš||A paprika-spiced meat stew originating in Hungary that is popular throughout Central Europe and the Balkans.|
|Rinflajš||Ринфлајш||Rinflajš||A beef dish from Vojvodina. Similar to Tafelspitz.|
|Podvarak||Подварак||Podvarak||A sauerkraut casserole, usually with meat and bacon.|
|Prebranac||Пребранац||Prebranac||A bean casserole.|
|Sarma||Сарма||Sarma||Cabbage or vine leaves, stuffed with rice and minced meat.|
|Škembići||Шкембићи||Škembići||A tripe stew.|
|Beans||Пасуљ||Pasulj||A bean stew.|
|Stuffed peppers||Пуњене паприке||Punjene paprike||Peppers stuffed with rice and minced meat.|
|Stuffed zucchini||Пуњене тиквице||Punjene tikvice||Zucchini stuffed with rice and minced meat.|
|Peas||Грашак||Grašak||A pea stew.|
|Green beans||Боранија||Boranija||A green bean stew.|
|Wedding cabbage||Свадбарски купус||Svadbarski kupus||Cabbage cooked with smoked pork and other types of meat in a large clay pot. Usually prepared on festive occasions such as weddings.|
|Noodles with cabbage||Флекице с купусом||Flekice s kupusom|
|Sač||Сач||Sač||Meat and vegetables cooked under a sač.|
Grilling is very popular in Serbia. Grilled meats are the primary main course dishes offered in restaurants. They are commonly served as mixed grill on large oval plates. They are often also eaten as fast food. The city of Leskovac is especially famous for its barbecue.
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Notes|
|Pljeskavica||Пљескавица||Pljeskavica||A ground pork or beef patty; National Dish|
|Ćevapčići (ćevapi)||Ћевапчићи (ћевапи)||Ćevapčići (ćevapi)||Ground pork or beef meat sticks; National Dish|
|Pork loin||Вешалица||Vešalica||Grilled strips of pork loin.|
|Skewers||Ражњићи||Ražnjići||Chunks of meat and vegetables grilled on skewers.|
|Sausages||Кобасице||Kobasice||Various sausages, usually spicy.|
Bread is the staple of Serbian meals and it is often treated almost ritually. A traditional Serbian welcoming is to offer the guest with bread and salt; bread also plays an important role in religious rituals. Many people believe that it is sinful to throw away bread regardless of how old it is. Although pasta, rice, potato and similar side dishes did enter the everyday cuisine over time, many Serbs still eat bread with meals.
In most bakeries and shops, white wheat bread loafs (typically 0.5 kg) are sold. In modern times, black bread and various graham bread variations regain popularity. In many rural households, bread is still baked in ovens, usually in bigger loafs.
In Serbia, salads are eaten as a side dish with the main course. The simplest of salads are made of sliced lettuce, cabbage, sauerkraut, tomato, cucumber or carrot with oil, vinegar and salt. Some, such as beetroot or potato salads, require cooking.
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Description|
|Serbian salad||Српска салата||Srpska salata||Diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with a simple dressing of oil and vinegar.|
|Shop salad||Шопска салата||Šopska salata||Similar to the above Serbian salad, but topped with white cheese.|
|Greek salad||Грчка салата||Grčka salata||Diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, topped with olives and feta cheese, and dressed with olive oil. Originally from Greece, but quite popular in Serbia.|
|Cabbage salad||Купус салата||Kupus salata||Shredded cabbage with a vinegar dressing.|
|Sauerkraut salad||Салата од киселог купуса||Salata od kiselog kupusa||Shredded fermented cabbage topped with paprika.|
|Russian salad||Руска салата||Ruska salata||Diced boiled potatoes, carrots, pickles, green peas, eggs and ham, dressed with mayonnaise.|
|Tarator||Тартар||Tartar||Yogurt with cucumber.|
|Urnebes||Урнебес||Urnebes||Made of cheese and hot pepper.|
|Ajvar||Ајвар||Ajvar||A pepper-based condiment made from red bell peppers. It can be mild or spicy.|
|Ljutenica||Љутеница||Ljutenica||A spicy relish. Ingredients include peppers, carrots, eggplant, onion, garlic and tomatoes. It can be smooth or with chunks. Spicier than ajvar. However, different regions and countries have substantially different interpretations of these relishes.|
|Pinđur||Пинђур||Pinđur||Similar to ajvar but generally made with eggplant. In some regions the words are used interchangeably.|
Dairy and meat products
Dairy products are an important part of the Serbian diet. Fermented products such as sour milk, kajmak, yogurt and pavlaka are common breakfast foods, consumed daily. White cheese, called sir are much more common in Serbia than yellow cheeses. There are numerous varieties, some of which have been awarded for their quality, such as the white cheese with walnuts from Babine, which won the 2012 "best autochtonic cheese" award. Serbian Pule cheese, made from donkey milk, is the most expensive cheese in the world. Although less common, several yellow cheese are locally produced.
Every autumn or early winter, on an event called svinjokolj pigs are slaughtered and meat is dried in the cold air, cured and preserved for winter. Cured meats, bacon, salo, čvarci, Sausages such as krvavica and kulen are produced. Offal and cheaper cutts of meat are utilized as well, made into processed products such as švargla.
In Serbia, pies are very popular. They are eaten either for breakfast, dinner, or as a snack. Most commonly they are made with thin layers of phyllo dough. There are several preparation methods and numerous types of fillings, both sweet and savory. Usually, pies are named after either the preparation method, or the filling.
|↓ Filling||Form →||Ruffled phyllo||Rolled phyllo||Layered phyllo||Rolled dough|
|↓ Serbian name →||Бурек||Савијача||Штрудла|
|white cheese||Пита са сиром/Сирница|
|white cheese and eggs||Гибаница||Gibanica|
|meat||Пита с месом|
|potatoes||Пита с кромпиром/Кромпируша|
|spinach, greens||Пита са зељем/Зељаница|
|mushrooms||Пита с печуркама|
|sour cherries||Пита са вишњама|
|apples||Пита с јабукама|
|pumpkin||Пита с бундевом/Бундевара|
|poppy seeds||Штрудла с маком/Маковњача|
|walnuts||Штрудла са орасима/Орасница||Česnica (in Vojvodina)|
Sweets and desserts
Sweets are served at the end of meals. Sweets and desserts enjoyed in Serbia include both typically Middle Eastern and typically European ones, as well as some authentically Serbian ones. Besides the ones mentioned here, pies with sweet fruit fillings are also commonly eaten as desserts.
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Description|
|Plazma cake||Плазма торта||Plazma torta||A cake made with ground Plazma biscuits as the primary ingredient.|
|Vasa's cake||Васина торта||Vasina torta||A walnut and chocolate cake. Amongst the most popular Serbian desserts.|
|Dobos cake||Добош торта||Doboš torta||A five-layer sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with thin caramel slices.|
|Reforma cake||Реформа торта||Reforma torta||A layered cake with chocolate butter-cream filling.|
|Slatko||Слатко||Slatko||A fruit preserve.|
|Halva||Алва||Alva||Dense flour or nut-based sweet confections.|
|Baklava||Баклава||Baklava||Sweet pastry made from layers of phyllo dough, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.|
|Tulumbe||Тулумбе||Tulumbe||A fried batter soaked in syrup.|
|Tufahije||Туфахије||Tufahije||A dessert made of walnut-stuffed apples stewed in water with sugar.|
|Kompot||Компот||Kompot||Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage, that may be served hot or cold. It is obtained by cooking fruit in a large volume of water, together with sugar or raisins as additional sweeteners.|
|Quince cheese||Сир од дуња||Sir od dunja||A sweet, thick jelly made of the pulp of the quince fruit.|
|Knedle||Кнедле са шљивама||Knedle sa šljivama||Boiled potato-dough dumplings filled with plums. Called gomboce in Vojvodina.|
|Krofne||Крофне||Krofne||Airy doughnuts filled with chocolate or jam.|
|Krempita||Кремпита||Krempita||A chantilly and custard cream cake dessert.|
|Šampita||Шампита||Šampita||A whipped marshmallow-type dessert with fillo dough crust.|
|Ruske kape||Руске капе||Ruske kape|
|Uštipci||Уштипци||Uštipci||Doughnut-like fried dough balls.|
|Type||Image||Serbian Cyrillic||Serbian Latin||Occasion||Description|
|Česnica||Чесница||Česnica||Christmas||Plays a central role in a ritual. A coin is put inside it, and it's then rotated, broken into pieces and each family member takes one. The one who gets the coin will have a lucky and blessed following year.|
|Koljivo||Кољиво||Koljivo||Slava||Boiled wheat - ritual food during slava.|
|Slava's kolač||Славски колач||Slavski kolač||Slava|
Domestic coffee (or Turkish coffee) is the most commonly consumed non-alcoholic beverage in Serbia. It is mostly prepared at home, rather than bought in coffee shops, and preferably consumed in the company of friends or family. Slatko, ratluk and rakija may be served alongside coffee. The majority of the Serbian population starts a day with a cup of coffee in the morning. Herbal teas are consumed as a medication, rather than a beverage. Yogurt and kefir are commonly consumed dairy beverages. They frequently accompany savory pastries. A beverage made from maize, called boza, used to be popular in the past. Today it is rarely consumed.
Rakija is a general term for distilled beverages made from fruits. There are numerous varieties, which are usually named after the type of fruit they are made from. Comparatively many people brew their own rakija. Šljivovica, made from plum, is considered the national drink.
Beer is widely enjoyed in Serbia. There are 14 breweries in the country.
There are nearly 70,000 hectares of vineyards in Serbia, producing about 425,000 tons of grapes annually. Despite that, Serbia still has little international recognition as a wine producer.
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- Alwynne Gwilt (3 June 2013). "Serve Up a Serbian Spread". The Independent. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Antonić, Dragomir (2006-07-23). Царство за гибаницу. Politika 33300 (in Serbian). Politika. p. 11.
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- William of Tyre, Historia Transmarina 20.4.
- Poglaviti majstori svakog krkanluka
- Istorija pisanja kuvara u Srbiji
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- Press Online :: Društvo :: Srpski sir pobedio švajcarski
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Cookbook:Cuisine of Serbia|