If you’re looking for an authentic, middle-of-nowhere, back-to-nature, where-the-hell-am-I, give-me-a-break-you-people-don’t-actually-live-like-this, it-must-be-a-movie-set kind of experience, then seek out the Klepalo Sheep Farm near Berovo. I’m still not sure the folks who welcomed us here weren’t actors.
Years from now, when we’re reminiscing on our time in Macedonia, it’s possible that it won’t be the ancient ruins, the nature, nor the villages which we remember most fondly. It will be the food. We enjoyed almost every meal we had in Macedonia. These were our favorite dishes.
We had already spent two great nights in Demir Kapija at the Popova Kula Winery, but our thirst was only growing. So on the way out of town, we stopped by Macedonia’s most historic winery, the Vinarija Elenov.
While visiting Demir Kapija, we spent two nights in Popova Kula, a small winery that also operates as a hotel. We had a chance to tour the grounds, spread across a vine-blanketed hill outside of town, and try out a few of their best wines.
Macedonia’s wine industry is on the rise. The warm Mediterranean climate of the valleys which run through the center of the country has provided perfect grape-growing conditions since the days of the Romans, but the region is only now being discovered by the world at large. In the final weeks of our stay, we set off to explore Macedonia’s vineyards. First stop: Štip and the Imako Vino Winery.
On the western coast of Lake Ohrid, not far from the border with Albania, is the town of Radožda. On a normal weekday, this must be a sleepy village on the shore. But when we visited on a weekend toward the end of summer, “sleep” was the last thing on Radožda’s mind. Radožda was ready to party.
Filled with savory ingredients like cheese and spinach, twisted into a spiral shape, and baked to flaky perfection, pita is one of Macedonia’s favorite traditional dishes. One Sunday morning, we visited the popular restaurant Oreov Lad in order to learn how it’s made.
The Skopsko Brewing Company has been providing Macedonia with its favorite beer since its establishment in 1924. We had the opportunity to tour the plant, see how Skopsko is brewed, and learn about the country’s beer market.
For four days in July, the central Macedonian town of Prilep is taken over by Pivofest: an annual celebration of beer which has become the nation’s biggest festival. It’s not exactly the most traditional event on the calendar, but that wasn’t going to deter us from attending. We’re talking about a giant beer party, after all. Tradition can wait.