Every year, after returning from the sea, we head to Leskovac. Now, some people come here for the barbecue but we came for the peppers…
It’s not that we don’t like the barbecue, but if we sit down to eat then nothing will be done. Peppers do not wait for anyone.
Red, fresh, dried, spicy, ground, twisted, etc.
And where are the best aviary peppers grown? in Lower Lokošnica, which is red at the end of September. Wherever they find a convenient place the locals of Lokošnica hang wreaths of the ‘red gold’.
Windows, fences, roofs they are all wrapped with peppers to the extent that Lokošnica becomes the world’s capital of peppers.
When getting off the highway, it becomes more interesting because Lokošnica is not easy to find, although every year we renew our ‘material’. That’s why my father is obliged to call our dealer to lead us to a house where the goods are being raised.
The conversation goes like this:
Father: Hi Mile, I will arrive in two hours, send a man (on the field) to get the product(read: peppers),
Mile: How much?
Father: 160 kg and four big ones(read: wreaths), don’t give me any bad ones
Mile: Don’t worry, they will be so good that you can even give some to your mother-in-law
Father: And how much will it cost?
And so after they made a deal, we started loading up.
I did some other things while the rear of the van was slowly being filled.
Here peppers are grown for more than 400 years. The people use the same seeds that can’t be found anywhere else. That’s why the ajvar that we made in 700 steps in the next three days must be good.
Some say that the seeds came through Turkey three centuries ago, and some others say that it came from America half a century after Columbus discovered it. Namely, Columbus not only found the wrong continent by mistake, but also the peppers, he thought that because of their spiciness, they were some kind of black pepper, so he gave them that name.
Pepper was first grown in Europe as an ornamental plant, and then it was found to be useful for various other things.
The 17th-century French gastronomist, Antelm Savarin, wrote in his book “Physiology of taste” that peppers “make women gentle and informative, and men desirable.”
In addition to aphrodisiac properties, peppers are also said to prevent baldness.
In Spain and Italy, peppers are so loved that they have a pepper institute there while France has a pepper school.
Pepper can be very spicy and can cause serious gastric accidents. The only animals that are not affected by the spiciness are the birds that are responsible for the sowing of the pepper seeds.
And so while I debate whether peppers are fruits or vegetables…… the van is filled, the goods are exchanged and it’s time to say goodbye to Lokošnica. We ride on roads with no traffic signs that disappear magically in September, the locals use them to roast the peppers. A good ajvar, is the one where the spoon can stand in a jar. and ours was the best, I couldn’t resist trying it many more times.
That decision cost me a lot, but I’m not sorry. Viva la Lokošnica!
Traveled and enjoyed, Marko Veličković.