by Kinsley Cuen
Belgrade — With its iconic red and white labeling and frequent appearances on billboards and menus alike, it is hard to avoid an encounter with the crunchy treat, Plazma, while eating your way through Serbia.
Plazma, a small, crispy biscuit, can be found within a number of dishes, from the sweet or savory, crepe-like palačinka (pal-a-chinka) to Plazma cake, or packaged on the shelves of your local corner store. Belgrade local, Nikola Ninkovic, described it as “a staple” within the country. With its inexpensive costs, various uses, and sweet taste, it is easy to see why Plazma is such a hit for all ages.
Plazma’s distinct texture and vanilla taste can easily improve a recipe. It can be crushed up to mix into a milkshake, sprinkled in a sweet palacinka, or eaten in its whole, stick-like form. Belgrade masseuse Kristina Mladjenovic said: “I consider it [Plazma] to be a part of beautiful childhood memories. I would eat it as a snack during school with my friends. I think everyone should try it.” She recalled that she enjoyed eating Plazma with Nutella and milk.
What Plazma lacks in flashy appearance, it makes up for in the rich history it holds for many within Serbia and across the Former Yugoslavia. According to Bambi, the company that produces Plazma, it was first created in 1967 in Pozarevac, Serbia. By 1974, it was the biggest brand in the former Yugoslavia.
Plazma is something Serbians do not have to feel nostalgic for, a product that has survived that test of time and remained readily available within the country.
“It’s Serbia’s product. There are many products I get nostalgic for sometimes, items from Slovenia or Croatia. But Plazma has always been here, it’s reliable and it’s ours,” said Natasa Dokucevic, a Belgrade native.
Looking around today, it is not hard to spot a child munching on a handful of Plazma Mini’s or witness the creation of Nutella and Plazma palacinka as you walk down the street. This Serbian staple spans all generations and just one bite will have you happily crunching along too.