Autumn can be a quite inspiring season, especially for the nature lovers and food enthusiasts. Autumn in rural Serbia, situated in the Balkan hills, is something special, a real local experience of which your flavor buds just can’t get enough.
If you find yourself in any of the villages in Sumadija - the chances are that you will be greeted by inviting smell of fire roasted peppers.
Roasted red peppers are the basis of many autumn delicacies that locals across the country prepare. The most famous one is ajvar - previously roasted peppers are chopped and fried in small amount of oil until they form cream-like consistency. This dish is usually served during winter months when, traditionally, people in this area don’t have many homegrown fresh vegetables. It’s usually served as a cold appetizer with white cheese and lots of locally produced ham. Mmm...yummy!
The leftovers from ajvar preparation are used for preparing favorite Serbian winter salad - peppers in oil, with parsley, vinegar, and garlic. Usually followed by some heavy traditional dish, and white cheese on the side.
If we go a bit more south-east, closer to the city of Leskovac, we can discover a whole different pepper obsession. Many houses are decorated with wreaths of red peppers drying on the sides of the houses giving the villages in Southern Serbia picturesque and attractive look. These peppers are often grounded and used as a paprika spice, or used for stuffing during the winter months. Make sure to try them both ways as they have a quite specific taste.
Although quite dominant across the whole country, pepper flavor is not the only one specific to the autumn season in Serbia. If you visit the road from Nis to Zajecar and more north in the Vojvodina district, you will discover wine routes, vineyards and many wine cellars working on the picking grapes, sorting them out and preparing delicious wines.
If you find yourself in the picturesque village of Sremski Karlovci, make sure to try sweet dessert wine called Bermet - the original product that makes locals feel proud and tourists fall in love with the place. What’s your favorite autumn flavor?
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