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Love connects. Food too. – See you in Split!

“Darling daughter, its not whom you are welcoming nor where you’re going. Its all about how you do that. ”


Honorable Ahmed Bey Magbulija has repeated this on many occasions to young Safija, since the time she was just a lump of brown dark hair and big, warm eyes, barely three ells tall.


Just like many other lessons from her father, man of tall frame and short words – and each like a golden ducat – Safija have cherished all her life. And not only that she remembered them, but also was committed to live up to each of them, and always and continually made herself an example.


She traveled a lot, and every time excited about packing as if it was the first time. In case you thought that her suitcases were carefully packed with attires and luxurious dresses, we have to say that it has never, ever been so. She would stuff her clothes casually in bags and if by any chance you would observe her from the far corner of the fourth room on the first floor of her beloved home in Čekaluša street (the closet is still there, you saw it, didn’t you?), you would say that she was randomly selecting things – silk and suede, brocade. And you would not be far from the truth. “She must have unerring instinct for what’s necessary and unnecessary, what to take, and what not to bother with,” a fleeting thought would probably swipe through your mind. Well now, that is the truth. The clothes, she knew what to choose with her eyes shut. Even nowadays there are records in Budapest about her dress made of heavy and supple green damask, embroidered with the finest silk. But lets leave that subject for another time.


One suitcase was for clothes, and three huge ones for spices, seasonings and all kinds of fragrant delicacies that she, almost religiously, brought each time. You see, Safija’s grandeur was never about what she wore, but what she, devoted daughter of venerable Magbulija, brought in her hands. Some said that her charm was exactly in this and that is why they never forgot her, and we have no other choice but to believe that.


With immense pride, but without vanity, wherever Safija traveled she would bring a breath of the region she was coming from. For those times, she entered the kitchens around the world with outrageous ease, as if she already spent there her whole lifetime. She would roll up her sleeves and in no time rich, enchanting fragrances would start spreading from the kitchen. It is less important whether she would, who knows how, brought a perch from Rama, best piece of lamb from Herzegovina or a good measure of golden polenta – it is important that the result was always the same: a complete fascination of those who were served the food. How, they would think, and where from comes such magic?


It comes from the heart, the answer is straight.


Because, as good Ahmed Bey used to say, its not about who is your guest or whom are you paying a visit to. It never was. It is always about how you do it. And Safija learned very well this secret of the heart from her early age. Love always connects – as the food does, in particular one with love as its main spice.


Almost a hundred years later, with no small pride, we shall take with us this philosophy of love and food that connect to Split, the city that Safija brought love to countless times before and came back from filled with love. It is an honor, and with such honor comes a great commitment to continue Safija’s tradition.


Love connects. Food too.


See you in Split!