Among other things, Belgrade is definitely a city of bakeries. And for the biggest part, not such good ones. Knowing the right places would mean you’re an experienced local who’s spent quite some time exploring.
From the outside, Zemun’s Vanilica (diminutive for vanilla) doesn’t differ from any other bakery. Tucked in a cute little street not far from the green market, it can easily be passed without notice.
However, once you get in the smells and the sight of hundreds of small pastries will get a hold of your senses. Vanilica doesn’t have a vast offer. They make pastries with cheese, jam, and also small cakes with walnut, poppy seeds and again cheese, but not your regular cheesecake. This one’s extraordinary. Sometimes they also have gibanica, local traditional filo pastry with lots of cheese.
It’s a small, family-run place, and you can sense the homemade taste in each bite. Pastries are always fresh, and almost always still warm, straight-outta-the-oven warm. I come here for the pastry with cheese, usually. Even if I’m not that hungry, it’s so lovely it’s almost like a dessert.
And the cakes… Oh the cakes. The walnut one is pure, beautiful walnut paste in a frame of tiny, crispy dough. And if I continue writing about other ones, I might as well go straight to Vanilica to order some. However, I have to mention the “vanilica” cookie (wah-neel-ee-tzah), after which the place is named. Order some and see why these festive bites are a local favourite.