National Geographic

Top five culinary experiences

  1. On a hilltop overlooking Sarajevo, the Panjeta family host cooking lessons and dinners. Apart from the meat, all ingredients come from the organic garden, including the grapes that go into the family’s potent rakija brandy. 

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The Guardian (UK)

‘Tourism can offer us hope’: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s staggering scenery and beautiful towns

That evening Mustafa and Mersiha welcome us into their home high above town, for a cooking lesson. We feast on burek – pastries filled with meat or spinach and cheese – stuffed vegetables and spicy tarhana soup.

“We want to share our home, our food and our country with visitors,” says Mustafa, who started Bosnian Cooking Lessons in 2018. “Tourism can offer us hope, give jobs so people don’t have to go abroad, and bring them together to work for the future.”

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Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)

Am eindrücklichsten sind aber jene Momente, in denen man den Menschen begegnet und ihnen zuhört. Häufig kommt
die Sprache dann doch wieder auf den Krieg. Etwa im Wohnzimmer von Mersiha Panjeta, als sie ihren Gästen zeigt, wie man einen Börek backt. Ihr Haus liegt auf einem Hügel am Stadtrand von Sarajevo, gemeinsam mit ihrem Mann gibt sie hier Kochkurse. Vor dem Fenster funkeln die Lichter der Stadt und während sie den Börek-Teig knetet, erzählt Panjeta, wie sie als Kind jeden einzelnen Handgriff perfektioniert hat, weil es während der Belagerung kaum Lebensmittel gab. „Wenn man etwas falsch machte, hatte man keinen zweiten Versuch.“ …read more

Travel Weekly (UK)

Natural beauty and cultural heritage: the undiscovered gem of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our hosts that evening, Mustafa and Mersiha, are living embodiments of that hope, as they show us how to make burek (a flaky pastry pie) and serve up a traditional home-cooked meal in the hills overlooking the city. During a convivial and laughter-filled evening, we learn much about what life was like during the siege, their experiences of living through it both uplifting and sobering.

Their thriving company, Bosnian Cooking Lessons, is just one that’s benefited from Intrepid workshops and USAID’s commitment to helping travel and tourism businesses with everything from marketing and health and safety to branding, training and general advice.

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World Nomads (Australia)

Visiting Bosnia & Herzegovina 30 Years After the War

The omnipresent Adele is crooning through the stereo how she set fire to the rain, but around this Bosnian Muslim dinner table, it’s more a case of extinguishing the flames of the past.

I’m in a house built from scrap material, high on the hill overlooking the lights of Sarajevo, as a guest of locals Mustafa and Mersiha, whose business – Bosnian Cooking Lessons – also stages hosted dinners.

Here, you dine on organic food including their own plum brandy and the traditional burek, Bosnian pita bread made from flour, salt, sunflower oil, and lukewarm water, while wrapping your mouth around the alphabet soup of consonants this language commands.

Mersiha, who was nine when the Bosnian war began in 1992, stretches the dough like an accordion player and explains how her mother tried to keep her entertained during the 3.5-year attack on Sarajevo by teaching her to cook.

“It was a lot of pressure because if you got it wrong, there was no trying again as we didn’t have enough food,” she says.

For Mustafa, who was 13 at the time, it was the years spent underground which he found most challenging.

“It wasn’t the bombs or bullets but the darkness. Everything underground was pitch black. The light was something we used to dream about,” he says. “One night, I saw one-third of the city lights come back on and that’s when I knew the war was really over.” …read more

Gambero Rosso (Italy)

A Scuola di burek,anima e immagine di Sarajevo

«Ho imparato a cucinare da mia madre, quando ero una bambina. Tutto ciò che ho appreso lo devo a lei che, durante la guerra, per tenermi lontana dalla strada e salvarmi dagli spari dei cecchini, mi impegnava in cucina, tra i fornelli, con i pochi prodotti che circolavano all’epoca. Così, attingendo all’orto qui fuori casa, nascono i japrak, i nostri involtini di foglia di vite (o verza, a seconda della stagione) ripieni di riso e profumati con la menta, la sogan dolma ovvero una cipolla caramellata, ripiena di carne, riso e spezie e decorata con un cucchiaino di panna acida, e il burek, il più noto e gustoso tra i cibi balcanici, una combinazione di sfoglie di pasta fi llo ripiene di manzo tritato. È il piatto che più di tutti rappresenta Sarajevo: ogni morso è un invito a gustarsi fi no a fondo questo piatto immancabile in ogni menu bosniaco che si rispetti. Ed è un po’ come la città: fatta di tanti strati diversi che si svelano al visitatore con calma, uno dopo l’altro. La mia missione è insegnare e trasmettere questa cultura». – Merisha Kevelj, (BiH)

Unusual Tourist offer of the Panjeta family from Sarajevo - Bosnian Cooking Lessons

The home of Mersiha and Mustafa Panjeta has been an unmissable stop for tourists from all over the world for the last year. Their house offers one of the prettiest views of Sarajevo, and the Panjeta spouses offer cooking lessons in the warmth of their home.

They believe that the only way for tourists to experience the local way of life is by seeing a Sarajevan neighborhood (mahala), and by visiting their living space and garden where they grow vegetables, and by preparing food that the locals consume almost every day! …read more. (BiH)

Casovi kuhanja bosanskih jela kod bracnog para Panjeta odusevili turiste u BiH

Bračni par Mersiha i Mustafa Panjeta odlučili su svoju ljubav prema kuhanju prenijeti i na sve koji žele naučiti spremati bosanska jela, a posebno turistima koji u sklopu svoje posjete Sarajevu imaju priliku probati neka od tradicionalnih jela a da ih pri tome još nauče i sami napraviti.

Za portal razgovarali smo sa Mersihom koja nam je za početak otkrila kako je došlo do ideje o “Bosnian Cooking Lessons in Sarajevo”, kako su već nazvali ovaj zanimljivi poduzetnički koncept.