Serbian exquisite souvenirs

Serbian people are known for their cordiality and a tradition to welcome every visitor to the house with sweet and water. If a guest stays to lunch with the host, the table then groans with the best dishes. In the spirit of this tradition, Ethno Food has conceived a series of the products which are not only tasty, but also perfectly wrapped up as souvenirs “with the essentials of Serbian tastes”. Amongst the nice souvenirs you can take with you, there are also gingerbread hearts from Vrnjačka Banja Spa and Maruška Studio’s silk sashes.

The National Tourism Organization of Serbia pays special attention to the promotion of our best souvenir manufacturers, representing them at the Souvenir Fair, which is held within the Belgrade International Tourism Fair and carefully selecting the products sold at the Serbian NTO’s souvenir shops at the Republic Square in Belgrade and the Tourist Complex of the Tower of Avala. Wishing to present exquisite souvenirs to our readers, we contacted Nataša Drulović, Serbian Tourism Organization’s woman advisor for the souvenir program, to edit this serial. Nataša enthusiastically responded to our invitation. Here are her proposals.

Ethno food

As early as at the beginning of this millennium, the Ulixes enterprise from Novi Sad conceived a project entitled Country of Origin-Serbia, with the idea to initiate, among other things, a manufacturing line of our country’s original food, so that was how the Ethno Food trademark was conceived.
Actually, Ethno food is an assortment of the products blending the tastes and the spirit of Serbia: a selection was made of original fruit and vegetable specialities, the recipes of old, long gone times that for generations had been conveyed from mother to daughter were collected, and the preparation technologies were diligently studied. Then the manufacturing also founded on tradition began. Sweets, jams, ayvar pepper-based condiments… they are all cooked in pots and on wood-fired ovens – just the same way it has been done from the times beyond memory.

Delicious tastes in a lovely package

Today, the Ethno Food trademark has over 30 different products: sweets of forest strawberries, plums, cherries, blueberries, blackberries; jams of plums, apricots, raspberries; quince jelly… The product list also contains one of the best-known domestic specialities – ayvar – a spread of roasted red peppers, thickened through stewing. The Ethno Food ayvar is prepared in several variants, with different hotness scales – mild, mild-hot and hot ayvar. The assortment also contains the products of forest mushrooms. Ethno Food small jars are not only a beautiful gift, but also make one’s table rich and healthy given the fact that all the products are made of carefully selected groceries.

Gingerbread heart as a gift

The Gingerbread Heart as a Gift gingerbread heart manufacturing workshop from Vrnjačka Banja Spa has raised the manufacturing of these traditional souvenirs to a more imaginative and higher level. It is a family manufacturing facility, which has become one of the best-known in Serbia in a short time. Djordje Petrović, officially the youngest master of this old, but very rare craft today, is its founder. Self-taught, he began to test recipes, sure that as time was passing he would come to a perfect recipe. Although he is included throughout the manufacturing process, Djordje’s narrower specialty is the decoration of hearts, which he paints with ease. “I enjoy doing that, and I myself made all the ornaments you can see on the hearts. I paint them every day, for several hours, and when huge orders are in question, my workday lasts ‘from dawn to dawn’. The heart is first of all a symbol of life. We love with our heart, respect and thank with it. So, it’s an ideal present on any occasion. Gingerbread hearts are a joy for the eyes and the soul, and exude tradition,” says Djordje Petrović for BelGuest.

Hearts on catwalk

Cooperation the workshop has with George Styler, a fashion designer of the Serbian origin, who brought the gingerbread hearts of Vrnjačka Banja Spa to the world catwalks, is especially interesting. Namely, George Styler was staying in Vrnjačka Banja Spa and came to like colorful hearts very much. He wished to show them within his fashion collection, which he actually did. So, at the Fashion Weeks in Holland, London, Belgrade, as well as in other cities, the models that had impressive, tender and sweet hearts from the heart of Serbia instead of embroidery or other applications were presented to the audience.

White angel on silk

For decades now, Maruška Studio has been recognizable for its unique silk, hand-painted scarves and sashes. Remaining consistent to their refined aesthetics, simultaneously inspired by a wish to preserve tradition, the Studio shaped the unrepeatable fashion details uniting fashion trends and the motifs from Serbian history. So, the White Angel, a fresco from the monastery of Mileševa, which is classified as one of the works of European Mediaeval art of utmost beauty, is painted on silk. You can carry the Mileševa White Angel’s face radiating joy with pride in Serbia or you can take it with you to any place in the whole world. The Studio has been given the title of “The Tourism Fashion Brand” for their creativity and contribution to the promotion of Serbia.

Photo by: National Tourism Organization of Serbia