The Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South-Eastern Europe in cooperation with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) supported the organization of the regional event – International fruit brandy festival “Zestival”, which was held at the central City square in the period from 18-19 August, 2017 in Uzice, Serbia.
The festival started with Bohemian night, the night dedicated to Uzice taverns and bohemians that became legends, which refreshed the memories of the times when the taverns represented an institution. On that evening, Radomir Antic-famous football coach, Milorad Iskrin-historian, Aleksandar Lale Milosavljević-longtime director of the National Theater, Momo Arsenijevic, Mišo Poznanović and many others recaptured the memories of Uzice taverns that gave birth to their heroes, accompanied by a tamburitza orchestra. The central stage and main squire where the event was organized looked like an old Uzice tavern.
On the second day of the Festival in total 86 exhibitors presented their products, out which 22 distilleries, 33 agricultural households, and other participants who exhibited supporting equipment for monitoring of the brandy production, beekeeping equipment, agricultural machinery, producers of dried meat products, organic cheeses, honey, medicinal herbs. In addition to the large number of domestic producers, also producers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo* participated as exhibitors.
The Radoslav Rade Paunovic award for best brandy of the festival in the category of agricultural household went to Milan Plazinic from Cacak, who also won the group championship and a gold medal. The RB Global doo from Uzice was awarded the best brandy of the festival in the category of distilleries.
Mr. Branislav Nedimovic, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Serbia officially opened the festival and emphasized that in the future the representative Ministry will support each event which supports the processing industry. “The goal of this Festival is to preserve the tradition, promotion and placement of traditional products among which there is a special place for the traditional fruit brandies” stated Mr. Tihomir Petkovic, Mayor of the City of Uzice.
The visitors of the festival had the opportunity to taste the world’s largest traditional product-Uzice flat bread bun, made of 40 eggs, 3kg of kajmak and 1m long, which was made by Dragan Lazic-Suljaga bakery. The festival ended with the organization of the concert of Group Legende.
The main goal of this regional event was affirmation and improvement of the production and marketing of traditional fruit brandies, other traditional products and tourist potentials of the Uzice area, cross- border region of “Drina-Tara”. “Zestival“ contributed to networking of agricultural producers and presentation of the traditional products of the Western Balkan cuisine. This event provided possibility for interested participants/visitors to involve in starting up a business in this specific sector, as well as improving of the existing business.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.