There are two things I learned first thing when I came to Sarajevo: This city has two football clubs, and you can only support one of them. Making the right choice here is vital. And: Every family has a designated Ćevabdžinica they go to. Be it Hodžić, Željo, Ferhatović or Zmaj – you make your choice and then you stick with it.
You might probably think: Is she talking about Ćevapčići now, after all, there are so many other things to say about Bosnia?! And yes I am, because I feel that they are part of the Balkan soul – just like sausages are part of Germany.
I never thought minced meat sausages could be so special. I tried them in Croatia, Serbia and Romania (where they eat them with a lot of mustard and it’s good!). And they are not. There, I said it: Nothing is special about Ćevapčići, it is simply minced meat on a grill.
I feel they are pretty much like German sausages. We love them – of course, we do – and every region and city has their own. Different sizes, spices, meats – but are they unique? No, for sure not. Sausages are a downright boring business. What makes them unique is a fresh bun and good mustard and – the atmosphere. Ever had a sausage sandwich and an ice-cold beer on a hot summer’s day? It’s hard to beat!
So how come I’m still talking about Ćevapčići when I don’t think they are special? Well, because it’s the things all around them that make them unique. It’s the fresh somun, slightly toasted on the grill; it’s that big dollop of kajmak in the middle of your plate that goes so well with the crispy meat, and it’s the onions that just make a simple dish perfect. I will even go as far as to say that a glass of yoghurt goes better with them than a bottle of beer.
So if coffee is the backbone of Bosnian society, Ćevapčići are the muscles that make it move. And even when Sarajevans might fight about where to find the best ones, as we do with our sausages (Nuremberg does the best ones of course!) in the end it is one thing that connects all of them, the one dish that gives the city its mouthwatering smell and yes – I have to say it: A fresh plate of Ćevapčići with a lot of kajmak might make me drop a German sausage every time!
PS.: I’m Team Željo all the way.