Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Food and drink in Montenegro

Montenegro is one of the world’s youngest countries, but it has an ancient culture. Its inhabitants are proud of their heritage and happy to serve their traditional dishes.

By guest writer Susanne Koch

The agricultural produce that is offered is always local. Montenegro’s farms are almost without exception small scale and their production is ecologic and sustainable. So be sure to order salad with your meal. It’s always fresh and delicious.

The regional specialty is called shopska salad contains tomatoes, cucumbers, grated feta cheese and often white onion and pale green peppers. The equally popular srpska salad is basically shopska without the cheese.

Along the coast, you get excellent seafood of all kinds. The ingredients are always fresh and local and there is a great variety on offer: Enjoy huge grilled shrimps, seafood skewers, black risotto (with octopus ink), lobsters or clams. My favorite is grilled squid.

Or try the catch of the day: A platter with the variety of fish available is brought to your table and you get to choose. Fish is often served with boiled potatoes, roughly cubed and mixed with garlic, spinach and butter. These tastes go perfectly with fried fish.

In other parts of the country, carp is popular, particularly in the areas around Skadar Lake, the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. I tried some salted smoked carp with my breakfast salad and it was delicate.

Some restaurants offer a selection of international meat dishes like schnitzels and steaks. But try the local specialties, which are hearty and tasty:

Cevapcici are a local type of meatballs, made from a mix of beef and pork and sometimes lamb. They are not balls at all, though, but cylindrical in shape. They often contain onions and a small amount of chili pepper, which gives them a nice zing. Here is a recipe for cevapcici.

The same recipe that makes cevapcici is also made into huge “steaks” served with vegetables and potatoes.

There are several varieties of sausages. These often consist of coarsely ground meat, which gives them a nice consistency and they can be quite spicy.

Meat grilled on skewers is also popular. This is most often pork.

Other specialties
Smoked salted ham from the mountains is considered a delicacy, especially njeguski przut, ham from the Njegusi area. It is readily available and highly recommended. Another specialty from njeguski syr, a white, matured cheese.

Kajmak is a dairy product made in the Balkans, Turkey, and even Iran and India. In Montenegro, kajmak is made from cow’s milk. It is similar to sour cream in taste, but milder and it has a soft, creamy consistency. Kajmak from the Njegusi highlands is particularly sought after and sells for 20 Euro per kilo. Here is a recipe for kajmak.

Quite a lot of wine is produced in Montenegro, much of it for private consumption. One company, Plantaze, produces wine for export. This structure is remnant from the collective farms of the communist era.

Montenegro has two autochtonous grapes: krstaz (white) and vrnac (red). Vranac pro Cordem is a vranac with a high level of prothoanthocyanidol and is marketed as being good for your heart.

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at
Pandia.com. Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

1 comment:

kaicevy said...

They are not balls at all, though, but cylindrical in shape