Life on the river bank
Veliko Gradište, eastern Serbia, August 2023
With population just over 6000, this little town seats on the bank of Danube river that acts as a natural border with neighbouring Romania. Town's river dock is a home to the border crossing and river police station, with small river walk and a fish restaurant.
Olympic games for local and regional baked beans (and other things) lovers
Pasuljijada (you will need some good luck with pronunciation of it) is the baking beans competition, one of favorite food dish in Serbia. If you happen to be in Velika Gradiska at the day of Pasuljijada, just follow the delightfull smell and when you see the smoke you will know you are the right place. It is happening right behind the docks, in Veliko Gradište city park.
Whole place looks like a fair, home made boiling cauldrons (whole system is based on old home water heaters with welded pipes seating in fire, with cauldron on the top of everything) on every step, with tables and chairs brought from homes all around the place. If you dont have place at table simple picnic blanket does the job. Folk music, yes, everywhere and loud. Home made cheese, wine and rakija, of course. A lots of rakija.
Everybody, and nobody
This year the competition committee stopped counting at 117 competitors and even more cauldrons. And that's the number not including the presence of Army kitchen and many other 'non-professionals', baking beans enthusiasts and good rakija lovers.
This year out of the competition. Couple of times champion or runner up, Dule Bumbar was disqualified 2022 with a reason of 'starting cooking before the competition started'.
The truth is, Dule had a lot of guests that year and the magic cauldron was too big so he had to start eariler in order to prepare the food on time, and got disqualified. Best baked beans he and many other say. Egyptian beans, plenty of cattle bones and some secrets.
Everybody street, Serbian way
Behind the scene
Besides already mentioned cooking cauldrons, you can see all sorts of barbecue around, because it goes well with rakija which is both the fuel and social element during the cooking process. Goat cheese and wine are there too, not in the same numbers but still you can't say there's no something for everybody's taste.
Loud folk music, coming from various directions and sources. Promenade and Theater.