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12 Days Wine & Cooking Holiday in Macedonia

  • Skopje - Demi Kapja - Mavrovo - Ohrid - Bitola - Krusevo - Kavardaci - Berovo

Macedonia Culinary Tour

During your culinary holiday in Macedonia, through the country's cuisine, you will experience its rich and proud history and its warm-hearted, welcoming people. You will get to know a region from its wine, a town from its unique spicing of a dish, and a sheep-fold through its cheese. You will visit food markets, buy fresh food and spices, and have hands-on experience as you learn to prepare traditional Macedonian fare. You’ll visit wineries, tour the facilities, and sample the wines. You’ll be wined and dined in traditional Macedonian restaurants. You’ll be guests in a Macedonian home where your host will prepare a traditional Macedonian dish for you. And along the way, you’ll have an opportunity to see some of the history, beauty and majesty of Macedonia.

Highlights

  • Food market visits
  • Traditional Macedonian cuisine
  • Cooking classes and ingredient preparation
  • Sample different dishes and wine from several regions
  • Visits to national park, natural reserve, and heritage sites
  • Boat ride on Matka Lake and Lake Ohrid
  • Guided walking tour of Ohrid
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 11 days with instruction
  • English
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Throughout your holiday, you will be accommodated in four-star hotels.

Much can be learned about a country through its cuisine. Simple things like how a dish is spiced can convey the passion and emotions of a region's inhabitants. The influence of history can be tasted in the characteristics of the local cuisine. Macedonian cuisine reflects its history with culinary influences inherited from Turkish tastes that prevailed during long centuries of Ottoman rule, from neighboring Greece, Albania, and the Mediterranean.

Traditional cooking in Macedonia developed from a rural lifestyle. Fresh ingredients, herbs and spices, olive oil, and an honest yet creative simplicity in the combination of ingredients define the traditional cuisine. A Macedonian dish is not only fresh and inviting, but a peek back into the country's rich and varied history.

For the Macedonians, sharing a meal with someone is a sign of friendship. Welcoming a guest to the family table is an important part of the Macedonian tradition. In accordance to longstanding and ancient customs of hospitality, an honored guest is offered the best that is available in the home. A glass of rakija (fruit brandy), or home made wine, regional cheese, hot bread, richly spiced meat, an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, a sweet dessert, in short, a traditional yet unpretentious meal.

Day 1: Skopje

Meet the group at Skopje Airport and transfer to the hotel in Skopje. In the afternoon, you will go to the Old Bazaar, where you'll enjoy a traditional Macedonian lunch. While enjoying the traditional Macedonian cuisine and regional wine, your guide will explain the origins and history of the ingredients that are used to create the cuisine. Later you'll have an opportunity to explore the Old Bazaar, which gets quite lively in the evenings. It's filled with restaurants, wine bars, pubs, and shops. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2: Skopje: Half-day culinary tour

After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit a typical Macedonian market, called a pazar. You'll be able to browse through a vast variety of local foods, vegetables, and spices. This will allow you the chance to become more familiar with the exotic ingredients that create the Macedonian cuisine. With the ingredients you bought at the market, you'll learn how to prepare three basic Macedonian dishes, such as Makolo, a tasty kind of dipping sauce or gravy; Proja, a type of bread; and cheese in a pot. And of course, after preparing all this food, you'll relax and enjoy your culinary treat. In the afternoon, you'll visit Matka Canyon, a protected natural reserve and home to several monasteries. There, you'll have a chance to enjoy a boat ride on Matka Lake and dinner at a lakeside restaurant. Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Stobi - Demir Kapja - Wine tasting at Popova Kula

You will depart for Demir Kapja after breakfast. On your way to the renowned winery, Popova Kula, you will stop to visit the ancient city of Stobi. Stobi was founded during the Hellenistic period and became part of the Roman provinces in 148 B.C. Due to its location on the crossroads of important trade routes, it became a very prosperous city. Some noteworthy archaeological sites include a Roman theater, built in the 3rd century A.D.; the Temple of Nemezis; the Grand Palace, which contains beautiful frescoes. After your visit to Stobi, you're off to Popova Kula. There, you'll meet with an enologist who will give you a presentation of the winery, a tour of the facilities, and a wine tasting in the cellar. You'll also enjoy lunch at the winery. You will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Skopje - Mavrovo - Ohrid

After breakfast, you will check out of the hotel and leave for Ohrid. On your way, you'll stop for a very special lunch at a restaurant located in Mavrovo National Park. Here, you'll be treated to several different wild game specialties as well as wines and other beverages from the region. Some of the highest mountain peaks in Macedonia are all found in the National Park of Mavrovo, located in the western-central edge of the country. These mountains provide magnificent visual landscapes. After lunch, you'll continue on to Ohrid. Ohrid, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1980, has a vast history and heritage. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and is without a doubt, the jewel in Macedonia's crown. After checking into the hotel in Ohrid, you'll have some time to relax. You will have dinner overlooking the lake on the hotel's terrace.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 5: Ohrid - Sightseeing

After breakfast, you will leave the hotel for a guided walking tour of Ohrid. Among the highlights of the tour will be the Church of Saint Sofia, a striking example of medieval architecture; Plaoshnik Monastery, one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches in Macedonia; the 11th century ruler, Tzar Sauel's Fortress, once one of the most impregnable strongholds in the Balkans; the Ancient Theater, a marvel of Greco-Roman construction, and where you can still see the names of seat holders engraved in the stone; the Church of Saint Jovan Kaneo, built in the 13th century on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid. You'll stop for lunch in Ohrid's old part of town, where you will experience more of Macedonia's traditional cuisine. After lunch, you'll explore the old Ohrid bazaar, one of the liveliest parts of town, its shops are sure to tempt. You will also visit a uniquely rare workshop, one of only seven in the world, where paper is still made the original Chinese way, dating back to the 2nd century B.C. And for those looking for a special gift, you will have an opportunity to see Ohrid pearls. These pearls are created from the scales of the Plasica fish, endemic to Lake Ohrid. Only two families in Ohrid hold the secret to creating these pearls. You'll return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6: Ohrid - Culinary experience and boat ride

After breakfast, you will go to the local market, the pazar. Once there, you will shop for the ingredients needed to prepare your lunch. On the menu: Selsko Meso (a favorite Macedonian pork and mushroom dish) and Pastrmajlija (an extremely popular specialty made with dough and ground meat). Back at the hotel, you'll all be involved in the preparation and cooking of these dishes. There's truth to the saying: you learn by doing. After lunch, you'll spend some leisure time on the lake. Your private boat ride will give you the opportunity to experience the beauty of Lake Ohrid. The oldest lake in Europe, it is also one of the deepest and has a unique aquatic ecosystem with more than 200 endemic species. The lake was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979. Dinner will be at a traditional Macedonian restaurant, where you'll be entertained with live Macedonian folk music. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7: Ohrid - Bitola - Krusevo

After breakfast, you will check out of the hotel; your destination of the day is Krusevo. But first you'll stop in Bitola, the second largest city in Macedonia. Known during the Ottoman period as a city of the councils, that reputation still holds true today. Countries that have their consulates in Bitola include Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Romania, and Serbia. Your destination is the most famous street in Bitola, the Shirok Sokak, where all the cafes, boutiques, casinos, and bars are located. It's the place to see and be seen. You will have lunch there and sample different dishes and wine from the region. Later in the afternoon you'll depart for Krusevo. After checking into the Hotel Montana Palas in Krusevo, you'll be regaled with a feast that includes a special culinary delight created solely for the hotel's dining room. The evening's menu has been designed to complement the wine tasting you enjoyed earlier in the day. Along with the hotel's culinary dish, you'll have Sarma, a specially spiced minced meat rolled in cabbage leaves, which is a specialty of the region. The hotel's dining room has a wonderful view of the city's lights. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 8: Krusevo

This morning, you will be treated to a special buffet breakfast that the hotel will prepare just for you. After breakfast, you'll walk through the small town of Krusevo. Known not only for its traditional architecture and cultural sites, the town's high elevation makes it a perfect spot for enjoying winter sports. Krusevo is also the site of the great 1903 Ilinden uprising against Ottoman domination. Though the rebellion failed, its memory is still revered by Macedonians today. You'll visit the Makedonium, monument to the rebellion, and the Museum of the National Liberation War. For lunch, you'll be treated to traditional Krusevo cuisine, which blends Balkan and Mediterranean characteristics and was influenced by the Turkish tastes that prevailed during Ottoman rule. After lunch, you'll visit a traditional shop where you get to watch a presentation of the authentic process of making sweets. In the evening, you will have another extraordinary culinary experience at the Hotel Montana Palas. You'll enjoy a special presentation of homemade wines from accomplished local producers in the Prilep region. Along with the wine tasting, you'll sample Krusevo's famous sausage. The secret of the special flavor lies in the mastery of mixing the spices. Also on the evening's menu will be fruit rolled in prosciutto, Pohovana Zdenka, a special Macedonian version of chicken fingers encrusted in sesame seeds, salad, and dessert.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 9: Krusevo - Kavardaci - Berovo

After breakfast, you will check out of the hotel and go visit a Macedonian home. Your host will show you how to make a traditional Macedonian dish. You will also have the opportunity to sample different pies made with leeks, cabbage, spinach, and local cheeses. After your visit, you leave for Tikvesh Winery, the oldest winery in Macedonia. Established in 1885, Tikvesh Winery is well known throughout the country for its quality wines. You'll have a walking tour of the vineyards, visit the wine cellars, and meet with an enologist who will give you a presentation of the wines produced at Tikvesh. And of course, you'll sample the different wines. You'll also enjoy lunch at the winery. After lunch, you depart for Berovo. Located in the Maleshevo Mountains, this small town retains its traditional culture, historical heritage, music and crafts. After settling into the hotel, you'll meet on the 'cardak', one of the hotel's summer terraces. Built in the traditional Macedonian style, the cardak has a bakery where you will make your own dinner, using local, organic ingredients.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 10: Berovo

After breakfast, you'll go to nearby Lake Berovo where you will have an opportunity to meet some local people. You'll have a chance to learn more about the customs of the region, see some of their handicrafts, musical instruments, and watch and listen to traditional songs and dances that are centuries old. Lunch will be a rare opportunity to see and experience more rural traditions. You'll visit a sheep-fold hut in the mountains, and your meal will be prepared from local ingredients. In the afternoon, you'll return to the hotel, and have some time to relax. Dinner will be at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 11: Skopje

After breakfast, you will check out and depart for Skopje. Some sightseeing and overnight in Skopje.

Day 12: Departure

You will depart for the airport after breakfast.

Meals included: Breakfast

Please note that due to local events such as seasonal festivals, holidays, etc., the order of activities is subject to change.

This culinary vacation takes place at several regions in Macedonia.

Meals will be served as indicated in the itinerary.

  • 10 nights accommodations in four-star hotels
  • Airport transfers
  • All activities and entrance tickets
  • All meals where indicated
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned transportation throughout the journey
  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Additional beverages
  • Departure and custom fees
  • Gratuities and individual daily expenses
  • International airfare (unless otherwise arranged)
  • Medical and luggage insurance (recommended for coverage against unforeseen circumstances)
  • Travel insurance
  • Trip cancellation