Sunday, June 13, 2010

Serbia - The 2010 FIFA World Cup Bites and Boozes


In today's World Cup action, Serbia squared off against Ghana in a great match that saw a red card, a goal on a penalty kick, and the first win for and African country in an African-hosted World Cup.  While I'll get to the victorious Ghana later, this post will be about the classics of Serbian cuisine and beverages.  I'm really excited for this blog post because we're getting into some cultural foods and local beverages that many of my readers likely don't know by name.  Today we'll take a look at the Serbian favorites: Pecenje and Rakija!

I thought it might be most interesting to share a couple videos that I found while doing my research on Serbia.  First, let me explain that pecenje has a close bond to Louisiana cuisine and those familiar with the cochon-de-lait.  Pecenje is a slow-cooked whole animal (usually pig), but rather than cook it in a large oven or "Cajun Microwave," pecenje is traditionally cooked on a large rotisserie skewer next to an open flame.  Sounds great to me!  The is animal cleaned and liberally salted, then roasted whole.  After cooking, pecenje meat is usually cut into small square pieces, expect the head which is kept whole or halved.  Unlike whole cooked animals in other countries and cultures, Serbian pecenje is often served cold.

Enjoy the Serbian Music and a Look at Pecenje

Rakija is fruit brandy that has taken over as the unofficial drink of the Balkans.  In Serbia, most rakija is made at homes in small batches rather than commercially produced and sold in stores.  The stiff beverage can be made from any number of fruits such as plums, apples, peaches, cherries, and figs, though the most common fruit in Macedonia is grapes.  However, the national drink of Serbia is a type of rakija called slivovitz, which is made from fermented plum juice. 

Rakija could most easily be compared to American moonshine.  It is typically consumed at room temperature in a sipping glass.  The distilled fruit is strong, sweet, and delivers a delightful burning sensation on the way down.  If you don't understand what I mean by delightful, then rakija might not be the best drink for you.  Let me suggest this: rakija often makes first timers cough upon first sip.  I'd like to take that challenge.  Just to show you how much Serbians like rakija, check out the following music video from the song titled, what else, Rakija!  If that doesn't make you want a sip, I don't know what will!

Rakija!  I'll Take Two!

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Make sure to check out the BR Beer Scene for some thoughts on Serbian beer! 

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  1. If Serbian rakija is anything like Bulgarian rakija (which it probably is, being neighbors and all) then it'll burn all the way down. But it's still delightful!

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