Belgrade. Food is the easiest way of entering a culture I don’t know and haven’t nailed yet. It’s a language that crosses borders. The fruit seller in the little neighborhood market knew from my face that he had the most amazing figs. The vendor kept offering us different cheese whose language is goat or cow, fresh or salty; always delicious. I recognized a very specific smell of spiced cured meat from Pittsburgh where many Serbs emigrated.
On the other end of the spectrum was the Ottolenghi of Belgrade, a showy riverside restaurant where I was completely attuned to their spin on a food culture, call it Mediterranean/Ottoman/Levantine with a dose of Slav. History of migrations, empires and settlements shows deliciously through the food culture. How the street names keep changing with each regime – that’s for another day!