Serbian food is all about winter comfort, although some consume it even when it is not that cold outside. Our winter break was the perfect time to indulge in warm, tasty bites typically served in Serbian traditional restaurants called “kafana“.
We had some good food in few kafanas. One of the oldest ones, called”Znak Pitanja” (“question mark”in translation) located close to the Orthodox Cathedral of St Michael’s located in Kosancicev venac (old, downtown part of the city) and the Patriarchate (where the head of the Serbian Christian Orthodox church sits)
Typical “kafana” meal starts off with a platter of cured meats, white cheese and cheese spread called kajmak (made of cow milk cream, so pretty rich).
Followed by our family favorite – teleca corba – creamy veal soup served with some wooden-oven baked bread.
Kafanas usually offer simple, cozy settings, particularly appealing on a cold, winter day. Exposed wooden beams, fireplace and red checkered table cloths typically make up the decor.
Then comes the platter of grilled meats – the staple! We have vesalice (grilled pork chops), cevapi (veal-pork kebabs), sausages (preferably a bit spicy), grilled chicken, pork neck and
All served with finely chopped onion, ajvar (roasted red pepper spread) and some kind of salad (well some fresh veggies do make it to the table occasionally) – raw or pickled green cabbage salad is very popular.
Prebranac, or stewed beans with onion and garlic, baked in the oven accompany the meal too on occasion, as well as sarme (ground pork belly and beef with rice wrapped in picked cabbage leaves and bakes in the oven for hours with bacon and bay leaf).
The meal is topped off with some inevitable rakija – distilled brandy made of various locally grown fruits, most common being plum, quince and apricot.
Even with all the richness of the food, meals are about sharing some good quality food with family and friends and cheering to the good health and good life! Cheers – or Nazdravlje!