Travel to Magical Montenegro
Discover a Rich Culture and Food Heritage
Of the many countries I have visited (and lived in), there still remain many that are on my list of “must travel to destinations”, a sort of “bucket list” if you will, and Montenegro is definitely in the top ten. This small Balkan country with its Adriatic coastline is a country of breathtaking scenery with rugged mountains, medieval towns and villages with old cobbled streets, Fjords and white sandy beaches, all overlooked by a magnificent rugged, mountain range. The country also boasts canyons, glacial lakes and pretty fortified towns as well as amazing wildlife such as bears and wolves, so, as you can see, it’s a very special travel destination for all.
As well as its stunning scenery, the country is rich in food culture and heritage; this small country borders Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north-west and Albania to the north-east, so the food is heavily influenced by its neighbours, as well as Greece, Italy, Austria, Turkey and Hungary. Specialities include soups, bread, sweet desserts, fire-cooked meats, grains, grapes, fish and seafood. The food is all laced with local olive oil and home-grown peppers, which form a basis of many of the dishes offered to visitors, as well as being cooked in the family home.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to someone’s home for a meal, you will likely be served some of the following specialities, with acres of home-made bread.
Characteristics of the Montenegrin cuisine:
The most precious jewel of the Montenegrin cuisine are Montenegrins, themselves. They are excellent hosts and their table groans with the most elaborate food. The best that can happen to you in culinary terms is to be a guest in Montenegro. This is the perfect destination for true hedonists, gourmands and connoisseurs, therefore, turn your calorie-metre on and enjoy. The rather slow penetration of global brands has preserved Montenegrin cuisine in almost its original traditional form absorbing only the cuisine influences of neighbouring countries. In Montenegro food is enjoyed slowly.
Montenegrin Lamb in milk
(A meal made with pieces of bread with milk, oil and cheese)
(cabbage rolls similar to dolmas)
(Polenta made from wheat, buckwheat, barley or corn meal and served with cheese or sour milk)
(Bread is essential to Montenegrin cuisine)
(Slightly bitter dark-green vegetable from the cabbage family, similar to Italian cavolo nero- served with sausages and ham)
(A filo pie made of cabbage and other vegetables)
(Sweet lemon meringue pie)
I find the food on offer very diverse and with echoes of Montenegro’s neighbour’s cuisine in evidence but with their own seasonal and local produce taking centre stage. Having lived in Cyprus for several years where I ran a restaurant, I recognise many Levantine influences in their cuisine, especially with the use of lamb, vegetables, spices, grains and yoghurt. The dishes and recipes vary from coast to mountains, and for such a small country, I find this diversity fascinating, as well as uniquely Montenegrin; fish and seafood obviously feature highly on coastal menus, whilst grass-fed lamb and dairy produce (cheese, butter and yoghurt) are more evident in the mountainous regions.
But for those travellers who want to visit some of Montenegro’s beauty spots, as well as taste the food, there’s a lot on offer; Lake Skada, Ostrog monastery, Tara River Canyon, Kotor, Herceg Nov and Porto Montenegro are just a few “must visit” places. For travel, I suggest Saga Travel, with whom I have my very useful international travel insurance, and who offer some excellent holidays to Montenegro, including walking holidays and multi-centre holidays too. I hope I have inspired you to visit this magical place, in the meantime, I will be cooking some of the delicious recipes that this small country has to offer! Karen
*Thanks to Saga for inspiration*