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Ohrid Summer Festival Promotes Ajvar   
2 July 2009 | This year Macedonia’s Ohrid Summer Festival will not only bring a month filled with art to the city of Ohrid, but will also promote a Macedonian culinary delight – ajvar.

Every participant in this year’s edition of the festival will receive a jar of Macedonian ajvar, stamped with the festival’s logo, the national Vecher newspaper reported today. About 500 jars have been secured for that purpose.

Last year, according to the publication, participants received a bottle of Macedonian wine, also with the festival’s logo.

Ajvar is Macedonia’s version of a pepper, aubergine and tomato relish, popular under different names and slight variation throughout the Balkans. As reported last year, such was Macedonia’s conviction of its ownership of the dip that it sought to patent it under the brand name Macedonian Ajvar – an initiative that has not yet been realised.

Patented or not, the popularity of Macedonian ajvar seems to already be spilling beyond the country’s borders. Film music composer Ennio Morricone, who will open this year’s festival, is reportedly an enthused fan.

“What was that thing with the peppers called?,” he reportedly exclaimed when asked what he wanted included in his menu. The legendary composer, according to the Vecher newspaper, knew about ajvar from a Macedonian friend living in Italy.

“Morricone has no special requests regarding the food. Unlike other starts, he is very modest in his requests. Macedonian food will be prepared for him,” the festival’s director, Toni Simonovski, told the publication.

The Ohrid Summer Festival opens on July 12 with a performance of Ennio Morricone’s film music, performed by the Budapest Symphonic Orchestra and the Macedonian Opera and Ballet Choir, conducted by Morricone himself. Until August 20, when the festival closes, dozens of music and theatre performances, art exhibitions and other cultural events will take place around the city.

Tickets to individual festival events start from 200 Macedonian denars (around 3.25 euro). For more information on purchasing tickets, the festival’s full programme and venues, visit the Skopje Summer official website.

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