BalkanFresh Blog

Mezze (Meze): Traditional Balkan Appetizer

Mezze (Meze): Traditional Balkan Appetizer

  • 24 Apr, 2022
  • Posted By : Content
  • translation missing: en.blogs.comments.comments_with_count

Balkan food is a hidden gem many people don't get to appreciate in their lifetime. The culinary masterpieces from this part of the world can leave you speechless in just a few bites. But, to be amazed, you have to get your hands on some mezze, proja, kajmak, tourshi, or some other Balkan miracle.

What are those, you might be wondering? But, don't worry, we'll get you introduced to one of the most recognizable Balkan foods, mezze. It's an appetizer that you'll never want to skip after trying it for the first time.

So, wait no more. Keep reading and see how a platter of smoked meats and some homemade raki can change your perspective on appetizers.

Smoked Meats

Most parts of the Balkans go through a fairly rough winter, and to prepare for that, they smoke a variety of meats. 

In the Mediterranean areas, you'll see smoked fish saved for the entire year. In the regions with harsher weather, smoked pork, beef, and lamb are usually stacked up for the season.

The meats are smoked over a slow-burning fire for a couple of weeks and treated with nothing but salt and maybe a few garlic cloves. 

These smoked meats are an essential part of every mezze plater. They are cut into thin slices and served with proja and a glass of Raki to be enjoyed to perfection.


Kajmak is a Balkan treat that most resembles cream cheese and sour cream. Technically, it is unripened cheese made from unpasteurized milk. 

Once you have it with a piece of warm proja, you'll see why people appreciate both of them so much. Proja is cornbread made in the Balkans. 

Combining these two melts the kajmak and makes the piece of proja juicier than ever. Give this combo a try with a glass of Raki.


Serving smoked meats, kajmak, and raki with nothing pickled wouldn't feel right. You need something sour to complete the mezze.

Most likely, that would be tourshi. These jars of pickled vegetables are prepared in the autumn and consumed during the following months. If you've never heard about it, you don't know what you're missing.

Inside the jars, you'll most likely find pickled carrots, green tomatoes, pickles, cauliflower, and so on.


Skipping these might be your safest bet if you're on a calorie-restricted diet. However, if you wish to enjoy life at its finest, you can't look over cvarci.

Cvarci are a vital part of many mezze platters and for a reason. These pork belly scratchings might be caloric, but they are worth every gained pound.

Having them with tourshi and proja will taste like heaven. Try it once and see how the Balkan people eat.

Roasted Paprika

Roasted Red Peppers on the Grill

We needed some more vegetables to even out the meal. Luckily, the people of Balkan have the most amazing recipe. 

Red sweet paprika roasted on the grill is a delicacy many cultures don't consume. However, when correctly prepared, it can be a real culinary masterpiece. 

The key is to remove the skin and the seeds, then marinate and preserve the peppers in oil and garlic. Only then will you'll get the flavor and the aroma no other dish can match.

Visit the BalkanFresh Website

Shopping for Balkan foods in the states was never easier. With BalkanFresh, you can have delicacies that were unavailable to you for so long. Visit our website and order your first batch in seconds.

Learn how to enjoy a mezze platter just like people from the Balkans do. And, order everything you need to make it from the BalkanFresh website.

Leave a comment