Fehmi Topali, a young man originally from Kosovo, has been a resident of Mostar for nine years. He started a business in this city and became a favourite among the resident because of the iftar flatbreads, which are a recognizable brand of his bakery. The demand for them, as this master baker said in an interview for Anadolu Agency, is higher every year, although in the beginning, he admits, it was not easy to break through. It took time for the speciality to become famous in the city.
“It's nothing new, but such flatbreads have not been made in Mostar before. In the past, fasting people had the opportunity to buy different buns. The recipe for the iftar flatbread or just flatbread is the same for five centuries. It came to this area with the Ottoman Empire, as well as other delicacies and specialities characteristic of that region. The first flatbread in Bosnia and Herzegovina was made in Travnik. Later, the flatbreads arrived in Sarajevo and spread to the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has continued to be nurtured through centuries. I used to live in Sarajevo where I learned to make flatbreads. After I learned the craft, I came to work and live in Mostar,” Fehmi said.
In the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast, he does not even know how many flatbreads he makes. He knows that it's a large number and that the demand is high in other months of the year as well.
“They are in demand all year round, and Ramadan is the time when they are most in demand. In the area of Herzegovina, we have long been supplying almost all caterers who offer dishes with which flatbreads are suitable. We have recently established cooperation with some shopping centres, too,” Fehmi told Anadolu Agency.
“We have returned the Ramadan tradition to this city as well. Here you sometimes have to wait an hour or even longer for the flatbread. People come, as you say in Herzegovina – ‘muhajem’ or as they say in Bosnia – ‘maksuz’ just to take our flatbread. Believe me, there are people who do not fast, as well as those who are not of the Islamic faith. I have friends of other faiths who tell me that they are looking forward to Ramadan only because of iftar flatbreads, ” Fehmi noted.
He said that he prepares flatbreads with a lot of love throughout the year, but in Ramadan, it is with special care.
He intends to stay in Mostar and expand his business. Proud of his success, Fehmi also regularly participates in numerous humanitarian operations in Mostar and Herzegovina in various ways.