02 Jun The Bosiljčić family tradition of producing ratluk, candies and lollipops in Savamala
written by Natasha from angloland
The Bosiljčić family tradition of producing ratluk, candies and lollipops in Savamala, Belgrade dates back to 1936. Today, the Bosiljčić shop is a testimony to the Belgrade of bygone years.
Sweet-toothed lovers of traditional foods from all over Serbia are drawn by the traditional recipes of yesteryear that are still used today as well as by the unchanging interior of the shop. Our products are enjoyed even further afield as they are taken all over the world in the form of gifts to sweet lovers and gourmets who take delight in their rich taste and exquisite quality.
Ratluk Bosiljčić has been manufactured using their grandpa Branko’s recipe for almost eighty years now. Production methods, such as cooking on an open fire as well as using only natural ingredients, have remained unchanged since the very beginning. All our products are made from natural ingredients, using traditional recipes without any chemical additives, and are suitable for fasting and dairy-free diets.
Back in the day one could buy sweetmeats and candies out and about in all manner of candy shops in Belgrade but now there remains only one genuinely unique and quirky little shop in Belgrade. It ‘s down there in Gavrila Principa Street cosseted away amongst the tallish buildings just down the road beneath the Branko’s Bridge.
A number of things have changed here but the only thing that has kept still so to speak are the traditional recipes with some new flavors added now and then.
Zivorad Bosiljcic is the owner of this old shop which he inherited from his father and his father inherited it from his father in that the tradition has been passed on from father to son. Branislav, the grandfather , set up the shop way back in 1936. There are still black and white photos hanging on the walls from the pre-war period reminiscent of the old days. The Bosiljcic family is famous for their Turkish delight, sweetmeats, lollypops, caramels etc. The minute you go in, you can smell delicious aromas, appetizing and mouthwatering scents.
When Grandad Branislav set up the shop, the Turkish delight was yet another product ‘to stack the shelves with’. At the time, surprisingly though, Granddad Branko and his fellow artisans, the candy makers in other shops and workshops used to get together in a local inn only to decide on the prices all together which was sort of the business ‘meeting of the minds ‘ if you like. Interestingly enough back then the competitors were rather fair and just in their competing at the market. They used to help one another as well in one way or another. When the Communists assumed power later on, regrettably one cannot help noticing that sole proprietorship was neither stimulated nor held in high esteem.
The shop owner Zivorad, Grandad Branko’s grandson, and his wife Silvana are only too proud to say that they have had regular customers who come to the shop on a regular daily basis. ‘ Our working hours are from 7 AM sharp every day except Sunday. The ingredients must be prepared, boiled and cooked quite early in the day’ Silvana says with a broad smile. One can see a huge old time cauldron in there where these are mixed together and cooked. In this shop ‘the customers come first’, which is an invaluable piece of advice passed on from Grandad Branko’ – Silvana goes on to add. What Grandad Branko used to say is : ‘One has to respect what they do and who they do it for’. We aim to show respect for each and every customer who knocks on our door be it a young lad or a lass buying a lollypop or a well heeled adult buying packages of candies by the dozen. There is a genuine candy galore in this tiny little shop ‘which sell like hotcakes’. Only recently a group of tourists from Egypt have dropped by recently, to name but a few. They said that they had googled the shop and were delighted to come.
Since the competition in the candy making business seems to be rather fierce with all the huge businesses in this line of work, it is rather difficult to keep afloat but the Bosiljcic family have high hopes about their ‘ delight-ful’ future. ‘ It is up to all of us to keep it going. This little shop is not a profit driven big business but first and foremost their goal is to earn one’s living as well as keep the family tradition for many years to come. ‘ From the looks of things, they certainly will. Their children are there to help too whenever they can. They help out on Saturdays on and off or during summer holidays. One can see that they are only too glad to do so.
‘This is a job that one has to learn from early childhood and love for ever ‘ Zivorad, the owner, says. It is indeed.