My favorite part of the cuisine here in Macedonia is the Mixed Salad: vegetables, olives, cheese, sometimes meat, like pastrami, and little mounds of small salads.
This one below is a little different. I had this one in Gevgelija, near the Greek border. One of the little salads was similar to melitzanosalata, the Greek eggplant dip. Instead of potato salad, they served oven-browned potatoes. The cheese was fried, reminding me of saganaki.
The sheep cheese that is on each of these plates is made locally:
The white bucket is full of yogurt that is made first.
It is then put into cheesecloth.
It is tied up, and drains for a while on this drainboard. Then it is hung to finish draining.
In the blue tub are cut blocks of cheese, which are packed into the tins with brine.
The tins are stored for many months before they are ready to be sold.Almost every day here, you can see people on the street selling cheese in these tins.
The Farmers’ Market here is brimming with locally grown vegetables now, which I hear are grown without pesticides. The mixed salad is available year round. Some of the ingredients vary with the season, but most do not, now that greenhouses are used for winter growing. After experiencing the mixed salad here, I know it will always be part of my cuisine, wherever I am.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan