What Macedonian Food Has To Offer
Locating Macedonia on the map gives a hint as to what Macedonian food might be like. A southern European nation, bounded by Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, and Albania, its location has given rise to a cuisine that borrows from the cultures of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, Greece, the Slavic nations, and even Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.. There are food preparations of course that can only be described as strictly Macedonian. For a nation of approximately 2 million people there is a surprising variety of cultures, languages, and ethnic groups, sometimes making Macedonian and for that matter Macedonian food a little difficult to pin down. About two-thirds of the inhabitants of the country do claim to be Macedonian, the rest being mostly Albanian, Serbs, Turks, or Gypsies. There are however, many food dishes that are distinctly Macedonian.
Beverages - Starting out with beverages, coffee is a vital part of Macedonian life, with the coffee being mostly Turkish, a holdover from the days when Macedonia was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Italian coffee is making inroads however and one can purchase espresso, lattes, and coffee mocha in many of not most restaurants and coffee houses. Macedonia has its share of breweries, but the country is better known for its fine wines and many mountain side vineyards, not to mention a few somewhat potent liqueurs.
Barbeque - Macedonians don't take a back seat to Americans when it comes to the barbeque. While you may not find Sirloin steaks on Macedonian grills, you'll find a variety of beef or pork sausages, usually minced with garlic. Grilling is also a favorite way of preparing peppers, and the variety of shush-kabob recopies is practically endless. A Macedonian meal usually includes a salad, with cucumber salad, Macedonian tomato salad, Cabbage salad, or a national dish called Shopska salad most often served.
Moussaka - For a main course, Macedonian meatballs, consisting of beef, onion, garlic, bread, wine, plus mint and oregano, are probably as tasty as are the meatballs of any other country. You probably won't be served many meals in Macedonia without sampling what may be the best known Macedonia food item of all, moussaka. This lamb and eggplant dish is usually thought of as a Greek dish, and is perhaps the Greek national dish, but the Macedonians have taken it as their own.
Capsicum - A number of Macedonian food dishes are based upon the pepper, both the mild bell pepper and the red capsicum. Some of these dishes no doubt are of Hungarian origin, but as is the case with most Macedonian food, trying to trace the dish to a particular country or ethic group isn't always possible, and the real answer simply has to be "It's Macedonian". Whether of Hungarian origin or not, the favored relish in Macedonia is Ajvar, a mixture of spicy red capsicum pepper and eggplant. There are a few other ingredients as well, but peppers and eggplant can take you a long ways as far as preparing Macedonian food is concerned.
Slowly Becoming A Tourist Destination - Since it broke away from what once was Yugoslavia, and is bordered by countries such as Greece, Serbia, and Albania, which have not always been that friendly towards Macedonians, travel to this beautiful little country has been a bit risky in times in the past. It is still off the beaten path, but is becoming more and more of a tourist destination. Macedonia is rich in culture, history, scenery, and perhaps best of all, Macedonian food. A place worth visiting, especially if you like barbecue, eggplant and lamb, peppers, good wine, or just want a cup of good strong Turkish coffee.