A Hint of Latin America in Budva

By , 16 Apr 2018, 10:27 AM Travel
Ivan Ivanovic Ivan Ivanovic Private archive

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One of the most successful young people from Budva – Ivan Mirov Ivanovic, PhD graduate in the History of Latin America and Karie at the University in Oviedo - is a real example of how the culture and history of one nation can be studied throughout its culinary and national dishes.

Ivanovic graduated from the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, specialized in Latin American studies, and is currently completing his PhD doctorate in the department of history at the Oviedo University in the north of Spain. During his studies, Ivan specialized at the Faculty in Valladolid; he worked as a professor in Belgrade for six years in the Latin American and Carribean department and as an assistant in Oviedo while, acting as a visiting professor, he has also worked in Austria, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia.

Still, this young man’s passion towards the culinary arts opened the door to an entirely new world. He says that he is currently writing a book which is going to be a junction of Latin America’s history and culinary arts, which will represent different countries through their national cuisines.

“I will try to illustrate the history of Latin American countries through special recipes. As a big fan of recipes, I wish to demonstrate a beautiful history through interesting stories which will be suitable for an average reader”, Ivanovic said.

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PHOTOPrivate archive

The taste and scent of Latin American cuisine are strongly felt at the hotel “Majestic” in Budva, which is owned by his family and was built a couple years ago just 50 meters from the Old Town. In the cult restaurant “Hemingway” on the ground floor of the hotel, Ivanovic already prepares many unique dishes, which are served to many respectable guests at the formal events and thematic nights taking place in the restaurant.

“On Hemingway's menu, there are certain dishes such as the 'Latin American kitchen from the streets', which include a legendary Cuban sandwich or Mexican quesadilla. Since we plan to open a restaurant on the hotel’s rooftop, I wish to implement more serious dishes of Latin American cuisine which are becoming more popular all over the world. People in Montenegro do not know much about this cuisine. I have been exploring Latin American cuisine throughout its history, not only through recipes but how a certain dish was created. I also study what food was taken from Indian cuisine, influences of the slavery period, what Africans brought from their cuisines, what was brought by European migrations, why Argentina’s cuisine has Italian influences, why Caribbean cuisine has Indian or Chinese influence, etc.” said Ivanovic.

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All the knowledge he gained will be published in a book PHOTOPrivate archive

He stated that Latin American cuisine is different from country to country and from region to region due to the many occupations of the geographic area.

“We have Mid-America where the Mexican food is special by itself, then Central America which has a strong Indian influence, through the Mayan and Aztecs. Then we have Peru, as the gastronomic capital of Latin American cuisine, which had influences from the Incas, but also the Japanese migration. We have cuisines from Venezuela or Columbia which also have influences from the Amazon. In the south, we have Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina where the cuisine is based on meat. Big European migrations took place in this region; therefore we have influences from Italian, Spanish, French, and Irish cuisines. Due to those above we cannot generalize Latin American cuisine, but speak about a great mixture of different cultures and ingredients”, explained Ivanovic.

Ivanovic has spent many years researching Latin America and visited it almost entirely.

“It is a junction of extreme poverty on one side and wealth on the other. Therefore, if you want to explore South America, you must be prepared to travel with the Indians and sleep in bags in the jungles of the Amazon, but on the other hand, there is the luxury of Buenos Aires with its 20th-century patina. We have both extremities, but not the same as in Europe. Latin America is the juncture of cultures and nations, an intersection of all five human races out of which a new-cosmic race was created or 'hombre Latin-American'", said Ivanovic.

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Versatile love towards the kitchen PHOTOPrivate archive

During his research, Ivanovic also studied Montenegrin migrations which he wrote about in one of his newspaper articles published in the Institute for migration in Zagreb.

He states that Montenegrins have kept a lot from the culture of their ancestors.

“The difference is that the population who moved there at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries was impoverished. Therefore, some dishes from our cuisine are still prepared for patron saint days and Christmas, but the same is not present in the everyday meals. They kept the customs related to celebrations or funerals, but they continued to live by the habits of this Latin American country”, concluded Ivanovic.

Text by Vuk Lajovic, on April 4th, 2018, read more at Vijesti

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