Serbian cuisine, tasty and provocative, finds its place among the most desirable menus in the world. One gets easily hooked on Serbian traditional hospitality and generous portions of inviting home made food.
Serbian cuisine is derived from mixture of tradition under the influence mostly from the Mediterranean, Oriental, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian cuisine, customized to fit Serbian gourmet taste.
Commonly, Serbs eat three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was introduced to Serbian people rather late – in 19th century; even now, many Serbs skip breakfast, while lunch is most voluminous meal and family “gathering time”, whenever possible.
Serbian families will often invite guests for lunch or dinner and gallantly present traditional dishes made with love and experience, trying to share as much as possible and making every guest feel like at home. Beware though: Serbian dishes are highly nutritious; a proud host will usually serve three dishes for lunch and at least two for dinner. Be hungry, ’cause you’ll eat a lot!
An advice is also to announce if you do not eat meat, because in Serbian cuisine everything is about meat (there can be more than one meat type per course). Roasts (on spits), barbeque, all sorts of grilling or frying; meat with vegetable garnish or vegetables stuffed with meat…
Specific domestic dishes are kaymak (sort of milk cream without equivalent anywhere in the world), gibanica (specifically prepared cheese pie), corn bread, pihtije (aspik-like appetizer with meat), original and unique smoked ham, bacon and sausage recipes, cracklings, corn polenta with cheese, ajvar and many long cooked meat-vegetables combinations, fruit or vegetable jam, just to name few.
Serbs traditionally serve home made fruit brandy or home made liqueur before lunch; wine (can also be home made) or beer with the lunch and black coffee and sparkling mineral water after the lunch.
Fertile lands on North are ideal for growing of wheat, sunflower and other grains. Accordingly, northern specialties are all kinds of pastries, cakes and on the top of all – all sorts of bread and pastas (one of most popular traditional meals are pasta with poppy seeds and potato dumplings).
There is, however, something that connects far North and far South in Serbia and that are peppers. Peppers are one of the most consumed ingredients in this cuisine. Most popular traditional meal are bell peppers stuffed with meat in tomato juice. Most popular salads are grilled red peppers or chilly peppers (also grilled), served in salad dressing with finely chopped garlic and one of the most tasty, traditional salad – ajvar, which gets prepared in late summer for winter storage and is eaten all year around, or at least until fresh veggies grow in Springtime.
Fruit is used in probably all known forms – from raw to baked and grilled – solely (grilled pumpkins or apples), in various cakes and cookies, as side dish in meat courses (usually stewed cherries or dried plums), dried or stewed (most popular are dried plums, grapes, figs and appricots and stewed cherries, quinces, peaches and so on…). Fruits are even used to produce various types of brandy, drank cold in Summer and hot in Winter. Making fruit brandy is part of Serbian tradition and culture.
Serbian rivers are rich in fish and forests in wild life, forest fruits and mushrooms, especially in herbs even in medicinal herbs.
Serbian spas are rich in mineral waters for various needs. Some are used as digestives, others for pure refreshment and there are some which can help in certain conditions.
Serbian people drink a lot of coffee which is mostly home cooked black coffee. Some often drink various teas and domestic herbal teas as well. Serbia is a home for number of medicinal plants which are often used for various conditions or just for refreshment. Most common are mint, chamomile and domestic hibiscus.
Basil, parsley, dill, rosemary, thyme are commonly used domestic spices that grow on fertile Serbian land.
Rich and hedonistic, it irresistibly increases appetite. Serbian cuisine is a diet buster.