About the food of Kosovo

Kosovo boldly proclaimed independence in 2008. Apparently the deal was highly contentious, but as you know…

I’m not here for the politics.
I’m here for the food.

What does this mean? It means I’ll take any chance I can get to cook food from around the world. So, with that being said – welcome to Kosovo week at the Global Table. Let’s eat!

Desivojca. Photo by Durim Shkodra.

If you weren’t paying close attention when you sat down, you might think you were in America during Thanksgiving. You’ll find a spread of pumpkin pie, meat and potatoes, and – speaking of meat – there’ll be meat, meat, and more meat. Even their traditional beef and rice stuffed peppers [recipe] show up in American cookbooks as “traditionally American.” Did I mention they like meat in Kosovo? While more than one country can certainly have similar traditional food, I find it fascinating that nearly all of southeast Europe shares the affinity for the stuffed pepper with America. (They also stuff eggplants and tomatoes). Then there’s the shopska salad which we made for Bosnia [recipe], which is like a cousin to the Greek salad [recipe].

We really do have more in common that we might think. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Maps and flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook. Children in traditional costume by Zeke. Girl and boy by Arianit Dobroshi.

If, while sitting at the Kosovo Global Table, we fast forward through the fall, past the cold winters, and come out the other side on a balmy Kosovo summer, you’ll more than likely run across Flija [recipe], a pastry that is as much a pastime as it is a meal. Literally made layer by excruciating layer, all while standing around outside chitter-chattering near a campfire, flija is a treat that can take hours to complete.

If that sounds like too much work, you can enjoy happy breads or pastries stuffed with spinach and cheese (similar to the Banitsa [recipe] we made for Bulgaria).

There’s no shortage of wonderful food – that’s just a sampling.

What are your favorite foods from the area?

Just remember – no eating in the library.

National Library in Kosovo. Photo by A Dombrowski.


  1. How interesting that you mentioned flija (or”filija”, as my Kosovo relatives call it:) – I just made a version of it yesterday – simplified and modernized, as I do not have an open hearth, nor several hours necessary for the real thing:)
    My father’s family is from Kosovo (five generations back they were Orthodox priests there – my dad broke the tradition and became a surgeon:) and I love the food from the area. Yes, it all revolves around meat (I assume because animal protein was scarce until recently), but the best part are the pastries, savory and sweet.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’d love to see your version – I made one (see my recipe on from Thurs), but not sure I got it right…

  2. I’m so pleased to see flija and Kosovo included in your world tour. I’ve lived in Kosovo for five years and I love the food (particularly the honey – I’ve written a book called ‘Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo’ with plenty of recipes in it). My favourite (and one that Ava would enjoy watching being made I’m sure) is ‘llokuma’ – deep fried puffs of dough that can be eaten sweet with jam or honey, or savoury with yoghurt and garlic, or with white cheese. I can send you the recipe if you like 🙂

  3. BesiNeziraj says

    I second Ms. Gowing’s idea. They are good and easy especially for breakfast.

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