Food Glorious Food

Bosnian & Herzegovinian lifestyle can be described with a single word: Ćejf, easy-going enjoyment of fine things in life, with eating and drinking on the top of the list! The best way to a Bosnian’s heart is through their stomach. Bosnians and Herzegovinians love and appreciate good food, so rest assured that it is natural and often organically grown. Menu items such as veal stew and a special type of fried dough known as uštipci are favorites almost anywhere you visit in the mountains. 

The pita, or pies made from cheese, spinach, potato, or meat are also high on the list of most sought-after meals. The clean air, lush forests, and great drinking water definitely whets one’s appetite when visiting the mountains around the country. So even if you have gone for the day for a good hike, be sure to leave yourself time to sit and enjoy the delicious delights of highland cuisine.

National Dishes

Bosnian and Herzegovinian cuisine is a delightful fusion of Mediterranean and continental flavors, offering a diverse range of traditional dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Let’s take a closer look at some of the mouthwatering delicacies you must try during your visit below.

Ćevapi

A national specialty, ćevapi have been enjoyed in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Ottoman era. Savory and succulent, they are typically made from minced meat and grilled to perfection. The best kebabs can be found in Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Travnik, and Tuzla, each with its own unique twist on this beloved dish.

Pie

Pie in Bosnia and Herzegovina is filled with a variety of fillings such as meat, cheese, potatoes, or greens. It arrived in the region with the Ottomans and has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Make sure to sample different types of pie, including popular Burek (meat pie), sirnica, krompiruša, and zeljanica, to experience the full range of flavors.

Bosnian Pot

Originating from medieval times, Bosnian pot is a hearty and complex dish cooked in an earthen pot. It consists of a medley of meat, vegetables, and spices, slow-cooked to perfection. The long cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a rich and satisfying culinary experience.

Bey's Soup

A renowned Bosnian delicacy, Beg’s soup is a thick white soup made from chicken or chicken meat, root vegetables, and okra. Its distinguishing feature is the white sprinkle of a mixture of sour cream, eggs, and lemon juice, which adds a creamy and tangy element to the soup. It is often served as a starter during festive occasions.

Tarhana

Tarhana is a dried scraped dough mixed with flour, salt, and eggs. It is cooked with vegetables and meat, and there are two varieties: plain and sour. This traditional soup, brought by the Turks, is known as tarhana or tarana in most areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but is called trahana in the Krajina region.

Klepe

Klepe, also known as kulaks, are boiled dumplings filled with minced meat and often served with a generous topping of sour cream and garlic. These small triangular delights are reminiscent of Italian ravioli but possess a distinct and irresistible flavor that sets them apart.

Sarma & Japrak

Sarma, meaning “wrapped” in Turkish, is a popular dish comprising a mixture of rice and minced or chopped meat wrapped in pickled or fresh cabbage leaves. Similarly, japrak is the same mixture wrapped in vine leaves. Both dishes offer a delightful combination of savory flavors and are true delights for the taste buds.

Lamb on a Spit

A highlight of any rich table, young lamb cooked on a spit is a culinary delight. The best lamb comes from areas where the herds graze on aromatic herbs. One such place is Jablanica, known for its excellent skewered delicacies and inviting aroma.

Trout

Considered the uncrowned queen of fish, trout is widely adored for its exceptional taste. Even those who are not typically fond of fish are often won over by its flavors. Make sure to savor this culinary delight, which can be prepared in various mouthwatering ways all around the country, fresh from Bosnian and Herzegovinian clean rivers. 

Pura sa lučnicom

Pura sa lučnicom is a Herzegovinian classic, prepared using cornmeal freshly milled at a watermill. Once cooked and combined with water, it’s generously topped with a blend of homemade sour milk, butter, and garlic. This culinary delight is versatile, suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and stands as an enduring symbol of the region’s time-honored tradition, which has sustained generations. 

Kvrguša

Kvrguša is a specialty from the Krajina region, consisting of dough made from flour, milk, and eggs, topped with fried chicken, and baked together in the oven. A luscious sour cream topping is added to enhance the flavors. The name “kvrguša” (from “kvrga”, meaning “bump”) comes from the bumps that the chicken creates on top of the dish.  

Meze/Cold Plates

When it comes to enjoying a delightful array of appetizers alongside your drinks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, meze is the way to go. Similar to tapas, these small, flavorful bites are commonly served in bars and kafanas as a prelude to the main dish. Among the various meze options, an assortment of cheeses takes center stage, each with its own unique characteristics.

Cured Meat

Explore the world of cured meat products, which have a long history in the region. Indulge in prosciutto, bacon, dry neck, dry pork roast, dry pork loin, and sausage, which make for a perfect appetizer when paired with cheese and hot scones.

Vlašić (Travnik) Cheese

Known for its distinct flavor, Vlašić or Travnik cheese is made from fresh sheep’s milk, often on the Vlašić Mountain itself. This white whey cheese is highly regarded and matures for 2-3 months, offering a delightful taste experience. It is also available in a cow’s milk variety for those who prefer a milder aroma.

Cheese in a Sack

An authentic cheese from Eastern Herzegovina, bellows cheese has been a part of the local culinary tradition for centuries. It is named after the traditional method of preservation, where curdled cheese is placed in a dried sheepskin, covered with butter, and left to age for at least three months. This technique allows the cheese to develop its unique characteristics and flavors. 

Cheese in Olive Oil

 A culinary specialty of Herzegovina, cheese in olive oil is a delectable treat. Full-fat, dried cheese made from cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk is submerged in olive oil and allowed to mature for approximately two months. This combination creates a harmonious blend of flavors, especially when enjoyed with Herzegovinian prosciutto and hot chips. 

Cheese Squeaker/Škripavac

Hailing from the southern region of Herzegovina, cheese squeaker, or skripavac, gets its name from the delightful squeaky sound it makes when eaten. Made from cow’s milk, this cheese can be consumed just a few hours after being made and offers a mild, mozzarella-like taste. Look for homemade skripavac at the market in Trebinje for an authentic experience. 

Livno Cheese

Hailing from the vicinity of Livno, this cheese draws inspiration from French grojer cheese. This hard, golden-yellow, full-fat cheese is primarily made from a mixture of sheep’s and cow’s milk, with sheep’s milk being the predominant component. It boasts a strong and expressive taste, providing a flavorful addition to any meze platter.

Trappist Cheese

Originating from the Trappist monastery in Banja Luka, Trappist cheese is a semi-hard slicing cheese made from cow’s milk. Its yellowish color, sweet and moderately salty taste, and soft, delicate, and elastic texture make it an authentic and sought-after dish. The recipe for Trappist cheese remains a well-guarded secret known only to a single monk.

Desserts

Indulge your sweet tooth with the delectable desserts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From the classic Baklava to the beloved Tufahije, these sweet treats will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more. Let’s explore the delightful world of Bosnian desserts.

Baklava

A rich and sweet treat, Baklava consists of layers of stretched crusts filled with chopped or ground nuts, all held together by a sweet mixture of sugar and water. Served cold and cut into rhombus shapes, this calorie-packed delight is irresistible.

Hurmašice

These incredibly sweet treats are topped with a generous sugar syrup. Made from flour, sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, and walnut kernels, they are baked in the oven and covered with a sweet dressing. Introduced by the Ottomans, Hurmašice have become one of the most popular desserts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

Tufahije

A favorite traditional delicacy alongside Baklava, Tufahije were brought to the region by the Ottomans. Tufahije are boiled apples stuffed with a mixture of ground walnuts, sweet cream, and sugar. Topped with whipped cream and delectable syrup, these irresistible desserts are a must-try.

Smokvara

Herzegovinian Fig Cake is a mouthwatering dessert that showcases the luscious flavors of fig jam. This rustic treat features a moist and tender cake infused with pureed figs, delivering a delightful burst of sweetness in every bite. Whether enjoyed as an afternoon indulgence or a delightful ending to a meal, Herzegovinian Fig Cake captures the essence of the region’s culinary heritage.

Kadaif

Originating from Palestine and introduced by the Ottomans, Kadaif features dried, thin noodles made from flour and eggs as its base. Layered and baked with butter, this dessert is topped with sugar syrup and served cold. Try the version with walnuts and apples for a delightful combination of flavors. 

Halva

Meaning “sweet” in Arabic, Halva is a dessert that made its way to Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Middle East. It is made from fried flour, butter, and honey or sugar, and can be enriched with various additives like nuts. The phrase “it goes like halva” is used to describe something being sold quickly, reflecting the popularity and deliciousness of this sweet treat. 

Drinks

Coffee

Bosnian coffee, brought to the region by the Ottomans, and adapted to the local ways is more than just a drink—it is a cultural experience. Served in a traditional dzezva with a cup or mug called fildžan, Bosnian coffee is enjoyed slowly, often accompanied by water and rahatlokum. It is a ritualistic start to the day and a cherished part of Bosnian hospitality.

Wine

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wine production focuses on high-quality wines, with Žilavka (white), Blatina (red), Trnjak and Vranac being notable varieties. Grown according to local traditions and considered part of the cultural heritage, these wines are predominantly produced in Herzegovina, particularly in the Neretva and Trebišnjica regions. Take the opportunity to visit renowned wineries and savor the flavors of these exceptional wines.

Rakija

Rakija is a strong alcoholic drink and holds a significant place in Bosnian and Herzegovinian culture. It is considered a national drink, and within many circles, no meal is complete without at least one shot of rakija. The most famous types include šljivovica (plum brandy) and loza (grape brandy). Additionally, herbal brandies, infused with medicinal herbs, are also highly popular. Pears, quince, apples, and walnuts are often used to create distinctive flavors in rakija. Enjoy this traditional spirit as a symbol of warm hospitality and cultural heritage.