Avjar dates back to the 19th century and the first known use was at a restaurant in Belgrade. But several Balkan countries now claim the condiment as their own.

Ajvar was originally a traditional Serbian condiment that contains garlic, chilli pepper and roasted aubergine. (AFP)
Ajvar was originally a traditional Serbian condiment that contains garlic, chilli pepper and roasted aubergine. (AFP) (AFP)

It is a source of Balkan rivalry with one unique scent: the wood-fire roasting of peppers wafting through towns and villages each autumn as families prepare the region's best-loved relish.

Slathered on bread, nibbled with cheese or served alongside meat dishes, "ajvar" has for generations filled the shelves of winter pantries - and the rich spread's production is a matter of no little pride.

Making ajvar begins with this juicy fruit, which is then roasted and peeled, minced or chopped and simmered with sunflower oil, giving the relish its deep rusty colour.

TRT World's Kim Vinnell reports.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies