A Balkan Story - When you visit Serbia you will understand the strong connection between its people and the land. Even in the cities the traditions of the countryside are clear. Colourful markets stacked with fruit and vegetables are present in every neighbourhood where a family understands and enjoys food prepared naturally and in accordance with recipes passed down through the generations.
Little wonder that some of the best natural products are produced in Serbia. Granny'secret and Forest Bounty, both based at the foot of the Kopaonik Mountain in central Serbia, employ these traditional methods to process fruit and vegetables into the juices, preserves and jams, available from us.
Taste Ajvar and you are transported into the heart of the Serbian countryside with field upon field of rich, red peppers, stretching across the hills. Harvest time is a family affair where selected peppers are hand-picked, smoked, peeled and cooked to perfection. The sights, sounds and smells of harvest signify the coming winter, which echo back over the generations in a timeless rhythm of work and harmony.
Taste any of the berry fruit juice, close your eyes and you will be transported to the woodland, surrounded by fruit trees and bushes. As if, on a summer’s day, you hold a basket and you are picking those berries yourself, and sense the fragrance in the air.
'When thinking of wild blueberries, I’m walking on my ancestors’ land (the village of 'Milanovici') where they have grown fruits over generations. This land is very special, it holds calmness and beauty, surrounded by trees, birds singing any day of the year…and you can then understand my dad’s message: ‘live with the nature…’.
Today, my grandad’s successors are amongst the suppliers for some of the berries. Having this natural fruit nectars (and wonderful fruit preserves) here in the UK, as you can imagine, means the world to me….A glass of blueberry juice, a spoonful of fruit preserve or Ajvar from Serbia, and I travel back in time…. From my grandad, I hope to pass this love on to my children… I am on the mission!
Granny's Secret's and our own Forest Bounty slavish adherence to traditional methods and hand processing means that you can enjoy these foods prepared without compromise.
Snezana grew up in the Serbian capital Belgrade, a city girl but with family roots deep in the Balkan countryside. Summers were spent with the family far from the city and amongst the people who understood nature and carried on the traditional methods of the countryside, observing the cycles of the seasons. Is there a better place to grow fruits and vegetables? The winters are certainly harsh but spring brings the warmth of the Mediterranean sun combined with frequent rain. The long summer ripens the crops perfectly ready to be harvested and processed.
Graduating as an aeronautical engineer, Snezana moved to the UK in 1989 and had a distinguished career in the aerospace industry; however she has always retained a desire for the food she enjoyed growing up in Serbia and a strong belief that British people would also enjoy the quality and tastes of the Balkans. 2012 was the time to take the plunge and finally see these beautiful products in UK stores and restaurants. Snezana now leads a growing business (under the umbrella of Milanovic Knowles Ltd), already making substantial inroads into the UK. One of the remarkable things experienced during her attendance at exhibitions and shows is the universal praise for the taste and packaging of the food and drinks. Even Ajvar, a roasted red pepper condiment little known in the UK, is loved by everyone who tries it.
We are not sure where the story will end. It is surely true that British food lovers will increasingly demand a more natural and authentic product in shops. Japan, France, Germany, USA and many other countries enjoy Serbian quality from Serbia already, will the UK wake up to Granny's Secret and Forest bounty' natural and very traditional products...We think so….