Aivar (also known as Ajvar) is a household staple across the Balkan states, and many families have recipes to make it that go back generations. Aivar is to the Balkans what hummus is to the Middle East, what pesto is to Italy. Philip Evans says, “Everyone’s auntie makes the best variety, people are so passionate about the stuff here.”
Evans moved to Macedonia from England in 2009 to work with an NGO along with his wife before they discovered the potential of Macedonian food and with Macedonian partners they launched Pelagonia in order to promote regional food for export. They now boast listings in 12 countries, including close to 1000 stores in the UK including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
Aivar is 70% roasted peppers, 20% roasted aubergine, 9% sunflower oil, 1% salt and is delicious served with salty cheeses, flatbreads, eggs and in sandwiches. Pelagonia Aivar was nominated for ‘Best store cupboard essential’ in the Sainsbury’s magazine awards. Find recipe ideas at www.pelagonia.co.uk/52ways