Historically on the crossroads between East and West, the twin state Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the heart of the western Balkans. Herzegovina, the southern portion (which in medieval times was a separate state), has a classic Mediterranean climate of long, hot summers and a landscape full of vineyards, herb-covered hillsides and ancient villages of stone houses and bright red roofs. Bosnia forms the central and northern portion and has a continental climate with warm (sometimes hot) summers and cold, snowy winters. It is a land of soaring, heavily forested mountains punctuated by many picturesque valleys, crystal clear rivers and lakes. More remote areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina still see people wear traditional dress of which there are many styles, and live a way of life that has changed little through the centuries.
The cuisine of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a true fusion of both Eastern and Western cooking styles that have come together through the centuries of its turbulent history. The long rule of the Ottoman Empire (1463-1878) introduced Turkish/Middle Eastern culture and cooking styles to the country, while the subsequent rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1878-1918) in turn bought central European influences.
The old Ottoman quarters of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s towns, with their beautifully domed mosques and cobbled streets, are awash with scents of ćevapćići (mini grilled kebabs), lepina (unleavened pita bread), dolma (stuffed peppers with rice and spices), Turkish coffee, walnut and lemon baklava and other Middle Eastern influenced specialities. Elaborate locally made Austrian cakes, often generously flavoured with morello cherry, walnuts and cream, and other bakes are often on full display right next door to these dishes. Local top quality wine, honey, cheeses and prosciutto and other products being in abundance across the country, usually made with home grown, organic produce.