Have you ever thought about how much food can be the mirror of what you see in one country and its nature – the vast, the hills and the sea?
The beauties of Montenegrin landscapes and authentic experiences can only be complemented by the scents and tastes that are offered to you. In Montenegro, you will surprise your tastes with the perfect mix and learn some new flavors, which you never had before or had a chance to try. Whether you are heading from one end of the shore to another or to deciding to descend from the north, through the interior, to the Adriatic, there is no wrong direction on the way of enjoying the gastronomy of this country. Whether you are a true gourmet, or you only perceive food as a mere obligation, what is waiting for you in Montenegro is a combination of simplicity and stratification of taste, which more than one senses will react to – unforgettable!
Authentic and original
The impressive position was influenced by the influences that the wind and the sea brought, and the enormous mountains protected, creating and retaining what is authentic and original, which has become the temporal recognition of Montenegro and the trademark of its cuisine. These are the jellyfish – a traditional potato dish; herb prosciutto with which we especially boast; all kinds of cheeses of various flavors, ages and colors; lamb milk, lake trout in yogurt, smoked bumps, polenta, carp with dried plums, grated, as well as numerous versions of recognizable and so beloved dishes that make us part of the Balkan peninsula – from japraka, through sarme, brodet, pie and burek, to treats – baklava, tufahija, krempita and champita and the famous Dobrot cakes. But that’s not the end! What you can complete or at least send out every meal are brandy and wine lozenges, which are another reflection of this climate, produced by authentic and autochthonous grape varieties – White Cross and Red Vranc.
Meals served on the coastline differ considerably from what they will be using if you find yourself in the north of Montenegro or in its central part, however, in every corner it will be proud to say that they are Montenegrin, national and traditional. All types of national dishes are available in the whole territory of Montenegro, in restaurants with national cuisine or in households, if you are someone’s guest. It is believed that the Montenegrins are good and careful hosts who, as a welcome, open the door of their home, they place it “at the head of the table” and offer the best food and drink. On the table then there is an indispensable prosciutto, cheese, cornbread, scrub, boiled eggs … All this, as an appetizer until the main meal is served.
The coastal and continental houses were mostly made of stone, and in the middle of the kitchen, there was a fireplace above which chains hung.
Some houses had another, slightly elevated fireplace for baking bread. Above the hearth was also meat prepared for smoking.
In the mountainous areas, huts and, chalets were built, also with hearths.
Families are in the old era of the low-dining meal, sitting on trunks or, at best, on tables with carved semicircular backrests.
Influence of others cuisines
Montenegrin cuisine, although influenced by Italian, Turkish, Hungarian, and other cuisines, has its own national dishes. According to the way the meat, bread, vegetables or cheese is prepared in the continental part of Montenegro or along the Adriatic coast, there is an Italian influence.
The influence of continental Europe is noticeable in the preparation of jams, cakes, donuts, and the great influence of Turkey is evident in the preparation of pie, burek, cloves, baklava.
When preparing goulash, sataras or similar dishes, which are often found on the table in homes throughout Montenegro, the influence of Hungarian cuisine is felt, and on the coast, however, is the most pronounced influence of Mediterranean cuisine, which is evident in the preparation of the usual seafood dishes.
Whether you are a gourmet or not, going to one of the markets in Montenegrin cities is an experience you need to experience. The reason for this is that Montenegro is a country in which you can still find so many organic products that occur on family farms and small farms. A large number of families are exhibiting at the markets in Podgorica, Kolasin, Bar, Ulcinj, Kotor, Budva for generations of their vegetables, fruits, flowers, cheeses and all other products.
You need to know that the story of Montenegrin cuisine starts right here. All the beauty you give to your senses while enjoying Montenegrin meals is actually a consequence of what you see on the markets. If you were wondering why it was that you tasted so tasty, you will get the answer exactly in the colors and scents that are all around you.
Many will say that this is a rich supply of the consequences of nature, good climate, land … Of course, that’s the reason, but there’s another one. It’s a tradition.
Generations of people from Montenegro are cultivating fruits and vegetables, real cheeses, olive oil, as well as everything else they sell, in the way they learned from their fathers and mothers, and these from their own and so on indefinitely. From knee to knee, parents gave their children the skills of breeding and making products that still preserve their original taste and beauty.
It seems that when you do something with so much attention, dedication and love, nature recognizes it and then gives it more. Perhaps there is a secret of luxury that can be seen every morning on all Montenegrin markets.
Njeguski prosciutto and cheese
When you stay in Montenegro you will see that people here are very proud of the beauty of their country and the rich history of all its parts. You may not expect one of these items to be found among these things, but this is precisely the case with Njeguski prosciutto.
For Montenegrins, it is much more than a delicious specialty. A part of their lives has always been and for hundreds of years, it stands before every guest who comes to any Montenegrin home as a special sign of hospitality and respect. What best testifies to what kind of Njegush prosciutto is the sincere enthusiasm for her taste, which is shared by all those who try it, wherever they come from. The logical question is – what is the secret of this meal?
There is not only one thing that is central and crucial for the taste of Njeguski prosciutto, but more of them that make this unique taste. The process of Njeguski prosciutto production and the preparation of pork bone meat has not changed for centuries. The process of salting, desalting and pressing is carefully monitored and not changed, as is the smoke flow itself. On Njegushi will insist on the fact that the real prosciutto exclusively dries on beechwood smoke. It takes at least half a year for this meal to be ready, along with homemade bread and Njegush cheese, to be brought to people. If you ask if there is a secret ingredient, something that is not spoken, many will tell you – the climate of this region. Just that meeting of sea and mountain air separates Njeguska prosciutto from others and makes you want to try it exactly.
Cheese is a food that is produced in all its parts in Montenegro, and its taste varies from the place and conditions in which it is created. What is common to all of them, whether they originated in the north or south, are the quality and the traditional way of preparation.
The cheese, which is mainly produced in the north of Montenegro, is called “full cheese”. The best is, as the connoisseurs say if it is prepared from a mixture of cow and sheep’s milk. Animals that give the necessary milk for spreading in the north of Montenegro often stay in conditions of intact and clean nature, which especially reflects the quality of milk.
In the south, you can try a particularly healthy cheese of specific taste. This is a goat cheese that is recommended to all those who are truly lovers of food. If you put your way in a bar in Bar or Ulcinj, do not miss the opportunity to taste the cheese from these parts. Perfect “balls” of goat cheese, which are called “clumps” in Montenegro, are made in this part of the country for the centuries from the best milk. The tradition of expanding throughout Montenegro does not imply only the monitoring of old recipes, but also the obligatory maintenance of high standards of hygiene during the production process, which were created when there were no facilities in the form of modern technologies, and are still valid and efficient today.
The golden yellow circles of the famous Njeguski cheese are kept in a breathy and cool place even up to 3 months before the tasting. Rich in milk fats, this cheese is a delicacy of Montenegrin national cuisine.
With a glass of homemade wine, a piece of prosciutto and a barrel of olives, Njeguški cheese will best prove why it is valid for a specialty of the first order.