Peppers – The Queens of Serbian National Cuisine

Peppers are one of the most cultivated veggies in Serbia. They are consumed fresh, or dried, and they found their use in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries as well. Peppers were brought to Serbia in the 17th century from Turkey, and to the northern province of Vojvodina from Hungary. For these very reasons the plant is mostly grown in northern parts of the country, more precisely in Horgos and Novi Knezevac surrounding area, and in southern parts, around the town of Leskovac.

Horgos and Leskovac are both vastly famous for their production of peppers and paprika. Horgos grounds are fit for industrial processing of peppers in order to produce the paprika spice, while Leskovac farmers grow the most delicious fresh peppers, suitable for instant use.

When speaking about dried peppers, there is a village near Leskovac that is an absolute leader in this sort of pepper business. It is the village of Donja Lokosnica, where peppers are still dried according to traditional techniques, assisted solely by the sun and fresh air.

These dried peppers carry the remarkable flavour and charm of southern Serbia. As autumn approaches, the whole village turns red, because of many threads of dried peppers, that hang around Lokosnica, waiting for their winter use. Each of these threads is handmade, and if it doesn’t end up minced, it serves as a quite exotic decorative item.

Spicy or sweet, peppers are irreplaceable ingredients or supplements to many Serbian dishes and salads. These delicacies include the Serbian vegetable caviar, known as ajvar.