9 August 2011

On holiday in Venice and Sarajevo

I've not been ignoring the blog I promise. I've been on a summer holiday. First we were in Venice for their art festival the Biennale and then on (via overnight trains and a day of zombie-transit in Zagreb) to Sarajevo to the superb, yearly film festival. Here are some food highlights and snapshots.

coloured pasta in the tourist shops in Venice

no escape from the kebab

 a wonderful marble like statue - actually a giant candle

Italy is of course well famous for its food; the Balkans less so. Even now the Balkans in general and Sarajevo in particular make people think of the 1992-96 war  that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia and was the most biggest conflict in Europe since WWII.

15 years later and of course the city is very different, although you can still see the bullet trails on the buildings. It's definitely changed in the year I've been coming  to the film festival.

Bosnians love coffee. Every corner has a place selling it. Often you can get an espresso or a Bosnian coffee which is brewed in little copper pots with the grounds like its Turkish cousin. You can also get a cappuccino in lots of places should that be your wish.

One of the other things Sarajevo does very well is pastries. The ubiquitous boreks are everywhere - a bit like giant coiled sausage rolls but with lamb - but the vegetarian equivalents are probably a bit nicer and definitely less greasy. Buying a sirnica will get you the same pastry with a mashed up cheese filling (like feta), zeljanica is the same cheese with spinach and krompiruĊĦa contains potato. The tried and tested spinach and cheese combo is delicious, whilst the potato is a bit hard going when combined with the pastry.

You can buy corn on the street for one KM (convertible mark).

Pizza in Sarajevo is the business! there are a few places in the centre where you can get slices of the proper stone-baked stuff

The Balkans are not great if you don't eat meat. Omelette, lots of cheese, some nice simple salads, pastas and sandwiches are all available for vegetarians but if you sit down to a proper meal and are after proper evening food its a bit thin on the ground. Typical Bosnian food includes hearty meat stews as above. A little bit of spice, lots of tomato and onion and some beef or veal cooked for quite a long time.

Best enjoyed with salad and a delicious unsweetened yoghurt drink.

As well as coffee (and despite a large Muslim population, many of whom are pretty secular) beer is also everywhere. At the Saraveo Pivara, an old brewery, you can get light, un-filtered light and dark beer in about five sizes ranging from 0.1l to one litre bad boy steins.

Bosnian bread is so much better than Italian! This is somun  and is the absolute business. Elastic, pure white dough with a slight blackening on the bottom and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds on top.

The bakeries in Sarajevo are amazing, loads of top-notch fresh stuff every morning.

We enjoyed it with some spreadable cheese that was also wicked.

On the last day we kept things simple.


  1. Bosnian bread? Better than Italian!? Wowee wowzers. I've not had much experience of Eastern European countries but what I have had shows they sure do like their meat stews.

  2. Yeah that was a bit of a claim wasn't it! I suppose I was talking about the bread we had on the holiday, couldn't find any nice stuff in Venice for some reason...