B is for Burek
It would have been a more obvious choice to have chosen Bled, Bohinj or perhaps Bovec for letter B of our A-Ž of Reasons I live in Slovenia. But though I do love all those B locations (Bohinj especially), I have already showcased some of their beauty in the A is for Akvarel entry. And as Slovenia’s poster boys, pictures of both are already widespread, to the point of cliché.
So instead, I choose burek. Though not exclusively a Slovene food (it’s popular all over ex-YU and beyond), it’s a tasty snack, available in every supermarket and bakery in the country. A simple food, it is made from layers of thin, flaky pastry that contain a filling, normally rolled into a sausage shape (and then often curled up like a nautilus) and then baked.
It comes in both sweet (apple, sweet cheese) and savoury varieties. I used to love burek mesni (minced meat) but now I’m really into burek špinačni, a mix of spinach and cheese. There are even some newer varieties such as pizza burek.
Whilst living in other countries and I have often discovered snack foods that I think would sell well in the UK. Whilst living in rural Japan I came to know and love little steamed buns with different fillings – called man. I suspect burek would also find a market in the UK as a quick, tasty, snack food, likely to be especially popular with the post-boozing crowd.
One thing I would like to see is the further innovation of burek fillings. Almost every burek vendor I have ever seen sells the same four or five varieties. Sometimes I think Slovenia is too rooted in ‘tradition’, too set in its ways to try something new and I think the burek industry could benefit from experimenting with new varieties. You can put almost any filling in to burek – so why not try some new things?
If I owned a burek bakery, I would test the following burek varieties:
- Pesto chicken burek
- Spicy beef burek
- Feta and olive burek
- Caramelised onion and goats’ cheese burek
So the question for burek lovers is: would you like to see new burek varieties or do you think any recipes that veer from the traditional would just be bastardising burek?