Gastronomy of Montenegro

Nearly all produce in Montenegro is organic, and tastes of Montenegrin specialties are truly distinctive. In the mountainous area of Montenegro, you can enjoy the lamb and dairy products. Make sure to try lamb “ispod sača” (some kind of grill pan), diverse wild game dishes, but also other dishes – grilled trout, as well as traditional mountain dishes like “kačamak” and “cicvara”, which is remarkably complete with home-made sour cream. In the Montenegrin coastal areas, the freshly caught delicious fish is the most common, prepared in several ways, the “gradele” /grilled/, boiled, fried and “brodet” /cocked in Mediterranean style, with lots of olive oil and herbs and spices/. The most popular “brodet” is prepared of sardine which is Bokelj speciality /dish prepared by inhabitants of Boka Kotor Bay/, especially as a side dish of corn flour. Skadar Lake best dish is “krap” /carp/ prepared with dried plums, apple and quince. You should also taste “krap” /carp/ with fried onions or eel “na orizu” /eel on rise/ or grilled eel. Along the Adriatic coast in Montenegro the emphasis is on a healthy, light diet with delicious freshly caught fish and seafood, lots of extra virgin olive oil …. Area of Cetinje most common dish is “rastan” /cabbage/ cocked with smoked meat and aromatic herbs. This dish is favourite and integral part of the winter menu in Montenegro.

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“Rastan” (green cabbage) is a kind of very salutary vegetables (cabbage) of dark green color that is raised in Montenegro, right in the areas around Cetinje. When this meal is being prepared, it is important to follow the receipt to the end it is said that “rastan’ should be first well washed under the stream of running water. Than the stalks, that are at the bottom of the leaf should be removed. After that “rastan” should be shaken up a little bit and torn with hand into smaller pieces. While you prepare that, on the stove you should put in larger pot water, which needs to get boiling. Then you put “rastan” in the water to boil it a little bit. At the same time in another dish, you should put a dried pork kneepad, to boil. You can add pieces of dried bacon or a piece of dried pork had (in the case that the pork kneepad is too dry, you have to put it in water the previous night to remain in it over the night). When all of that is well boiled, together with “rastan”, all of that needs to be put together in a larger pot, in order to be boiled further together. When the meal is half cooked, you should put several halves of potato in “rastan”. As the meat, with which “rastan” is boiling, is pretty dry, and because of that it is salty, the meal should be tasted from time to time, or if it is not salty enough to add some salt in it. There are numerous dishes in Montenegro prepared with rastan….

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The Montenegrin wines have an old and long tradition and thanks to excellent soil conditions and climate their wine growing and viticulture are very successful at the seaside as well as in the inland. At the first place it is the wine “víno vranac“- one of the best known Montenegrin wines. It has a specific taste and a dark ruby color. This wine is also recognized in abroad.  Well-made Vranac is at its best after several years in bottle, and with judicious use of oak, Montenegrin Vranac can rival the powerful wines of southern France. The best Montenegrin Vranac is from the regions of Boljeviči, Sutoniči and Reljiči. “Vranac Pro Corde” is a new product which stimulates the cardiac activity and blood circulation, it has a curative effect. As for white wines the first place belongs to “krstač” which is a dry wine with minimum residual sugar. It is grown in Lješko polje. Some 30 km from the seaside, besides the Skadar Lake, nearly endless rows of grapevines spread, creating one of the largest and the most beautiful vineyards of Europe – the Cemovo Field, which is managed by the “13. jul Plantaze” Winery. Proximity of the sea greatly determines the micro climate of the Cemovo Field. Extremely small precipitation and sun, which in summer burns above Podgorica for 10 to 12 hours a day, makes a picture of this region, that can be imagined in colors and sounds of the hot summer. The second challenge of the Cemovo Field grapevines is the hard and absorbing soil, created of limestone, intersected with sand and pebbles, with lots of polished round pebble stones. Energy of the region is contained in the grapes, while the most important challenge of every wine producer is to maintain this enery in the wine. The “Plantaze” Wine company possesses the largest vineyards in Europe with 2310 hectares covered with more than 11 million grapevines. Wines of the Vranac variety are produced throughout the region, apart from Montenegro, you can find them in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Herzegovina. This is a premium Montenegrin red wine made from the indigenous Vranac grape. The Vranac Pro-Cordem is produced from particularly good years, in small quantities, aged in barrels for several years. It is also aged in bottles for one year before being released to the market. To mark jubilee years of the 50th anniversary and the 200 years of the birth of Petar II Petrovic Njegos, the Plantaze 13. Jul Wine Company proudly introduced the two new wines of its production – the Luca and the Vladika wines, dedicated to he immortal ruler, the bishop, philosopher and the ingenious poet of the “Gorski vijenac” /Mountain wreath/ and “Luca mikrokozma” /The Ray of the Microcosm/. Ziveli !

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VARIŠ

– 400 – 500 gr of smoked meat

– various vegetables /young onions, garlic, spinach, nettles, few potato…/

– 2 spoons of flour and 1 spoon of red paprika,  little oil

Variš is delicious ancient Montenegrin dish prepared of any kind of smoked meat, the thicker – the better, which is cooked for about 1 hour in ceramic pot. When meat is ready and becomes tender get it out of a pot and add cut vegetables – young garlic and onions, spinach, nettles… and cook it on mild heat. Before vegetables are cooked add 3 – 4 potatos cut into quarters. When all vegetables are cooked add cooked meat in pot and cover it with browned flour /mixture of 2 spoons of flour and 1 spoon of red paprika fried in some oil/. Boil it for a while. Varis features extraordinary taste and flavor.

KALJA

– 300 – 400 gr pork

– 2 onions, 1 garlic

– 2 cabbage heads

– 6 dried plums

– 2 cups of oil, 1 cup of vinegar, salt

Divide cabbage into 2 parts and cut in large pieces. Lay half of cabbage on the bottom of ceramic pot and cover it with 4 – 5 pieces of meat and sliced onions and garlic. Add dried plums, 2 cups of oil, salt and a cup of vinegar. Cover it with rest of cabbage and add water unitl the top of a pot. Cook on medium heat for at least 2 hours, or more. Enjoy your traditional Montenegrin Kalja !

 

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