On this stretch of the trip, in a tiny fishing village tucked into a pristine corner of Lake Ohrid (one of the oldest, deepest lakes in the world), we ate almost every meal at “home” -- meaning prepared on a small two-burner electric oven outdoors, on a patio of our house situated right upon the lake and privy to views such as the sunset above. The mountains you see are close-by Albania, but that’s the only detail I’ll give on the location; it’s just too unspoiled a spot to spoil with attention.
We bought our watermelons from these guys at the town entrance at the top of the hill. The extraordinary peaches were purchased from the outdoor produce market a lengthy bus ride away in the town of Ohrid. Of course the peach is perfect as a hot-weather refreshment on its’ own, but I also used some for a cool sangria -- along with Ohrid mountain strawberries (a delicacy), rosé wine, a touch of blueberry juice and spiked with Leblon Brazilian rum that I brought along from the states. If the folks at Leblon see this, they can thank me by sending a case of the stuff care of New Times; the Marlboros, on the other hand, were an unintended prop. The serving carafe was crafted from a Rosa water bottle with the neck cut off. Talk about product placement!
Below: Mojitos that Lidija whipped up late one afternoon -- a drink that’s gaining momentum here. There is also a popular Cuban restaurant that opened last year in the center of Skopje -- although it is not owned or operated by Cubans.
We finally got our perennial taste of Lidija’s famous roast peppers, pictured below while cooking, and then finished. Turns out I had bought LIdija the wrong shape of peppers in the market, but I did get the butcher to grind up the proper cuts of pork and beef. These tasted far better than they photographed.
One of our final meals was the renowned Macedonian specialty known as chicken cacciatore. Just kidding -- I mean it was indeed chicken cacciatore, but I made it for lunch one day.
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As we were set to leave the first clouds of the trip rolled in.
-- Lee Klein