Slow Food Belgrade celebrated its opening this month with a well-attended event that marked the birth of Slow Food in Serbia. A range of the nation’s traditional culinary specialties were presented that demonstrate the region’s rich gastronomy and unique agricultural biodiversity which the group will work to protect.
Products served were sourced from small-scale producers from the surrounding countryside. They were contacted directly by members of the new convivium to ensure they meet with the good, clean and fair criteria: from veal meat of the buša breed raised in the Čemernik Mountains, to the typical kajmaka cheese and numerous products at risk of extinction such as the Zaječar rye variety.
While just one month old, the Serbian Slow Food movement is gaining support quickly thanks to the enthusiasm of it inaugural members. Many activities are planned for 2009, including participation at the Slobodna Zona festival where the convivium is organizing a slow film program that will include shorts from the Slow Food on Film festival this May.
Serbian cuisine is influenced by both the east and west, having been under both Ottoman and Austria-Hungarian rule. In Kosovo various types of pies and pastries, such as tulumbe and baklave, have strong connections to Turkey, while in cities such as Vojvodina the Austro-Hungarian presence is easily seen in the breads, noodles and fish dishes.
One of Serbia’s oldest specialties, difficult to find else where, is kajmak a type of cream cheese that is commonly believed to lose its taste and texture if produced industrially.
Up until the middle of last century, Serbian cuisine was largely based on soup dishes, and today a popular bean soup is still one of the most commonly found specialties. Beside various chowders and soups, regional dishes include: popara, a dish made with leftover bread and kajmak; proja, a type of cornbread; gibanica a pie made with flaky pastry; and ajvar, a specialty made from grilled red peppers.
For more information, please contact the Slow Food Belgrade Convivium Leader