We are at out last stop for this holiday with Vanja’s parents. We are in Northern Serbia, 3 kilometres shy of the Romanian boarder in a little village called Kozarci.Â The closest known town would be Kikinda. Here is where the story of Pava’s life began as her elder brother, then eleven, Niko, took his four siblings under his wing when they were all orphaned, and raised them in this Northern village where they were placed after WWII. Niko still lives in the same location; though, he has completely rebuilt his house, brick by hand made brick with his son, Cici. Niko lives on the main floor, and Cici, his wife Vesna and their two children live on the second floor. This was a homecoming.
Table set. Brother ready in the yard, with tears, and hugs. Vesna in the kitchen with the most amazing food hot and ready immediately at our arrival. But, first coffee, sljiva, and hugs.
The familiar chicken soup. This one was so lush and toothsome! I had seconds, and I never do that.
Vesna made a spinach with sir and a sir (cheese) pita with homemade pastry! It is as thin as phyllo, but not layered with butter. I am going to get a lesson in Tuzla from Ako’s wife, so I will know more about this them. I do know it is extremely difficult to make and was absolutely the best I have ever eaten . (Sorry, Pava. XO) Can you see how light and yet rich it is all at the same time? Pitas (pies like this) are very traditional throughout the Balkans. They make both sweet, and savoury, but savoury is by far most common. Vanja’s favourite is Burek (meat pie).
Then there was stuffed peppers. I know they are traditional in this region, and I make them, but I have never eaten them from a person’s home. I was thrilled. They were pork, and so yummy.
After the table was set with the food, let’s not forget more sljiva! It is customary to welcome our guests!
Niko sits at the head, in this cool kitchen on the lower floor of the main house. Prijatno! Bon Appetite!
And, as if that was not enough, as soon as the sun went down, or as soon as it cooled down, rather, around nine, Cici borrowed the neighbour’s paella pan and set to grilling up a mess of meat and vegetables. I have never seen anything like it. Fantastic!
Pork chops, and beef burgers stuffed with herbs and cheese accompanied by potatoes, peppers, and onions. Two massive platters filled for two tables: the old, and the young! This is the first time in years that I found myself sitting at the “œyoung” table! Loved it.
Did I forget the sljiva? Silly me! Niko toasts to his family and happiness and prosperity, always!
Vesna cooked in the third kitchen which keeps her home cool. See the lights on in it? It is attached to the house and the barn, both. The elders ate in the downstairs kitchen; we kids ate in the garden in the covered patio.
Ziveli! Cheers to a phenomenal feast that lasted all day long! I’ll drink to that!