It may be small, but Montenegro punches far above its weight in terms of, well, just about everything. From the majestic scenery of its rugged mountains and the sun kissed beauty of its Adriatic coastline to its rich historical attractions, delicious traditional cuisine and welcoming locals, this Balkan gem is a true traveller’s delight.
Montenegro rates highly as a “bucket list” destination and, having been lucky enough to have visited it many times over the years, I have no doubt as to why. It really is one of those places that has the classic “something for everyone”, and I highly recommend our escorted tour: Montenegro – The Jewel of the Balkans. The country’s fabulous history, culture and scenery are absolutely outstanding, and I believe that our itinerary is second to none. But an escorted tour is also the perfect way to taste your way around the traditional cuisine of the country – the delicious icing on the bajadera, one might even say…
Experience the Best of Balkan Cuisine
The itinerary of the tour provides some fantastic opportunities to explore not just the flavours of the traditional Balkan cuisine, but also its provenance. During nine lunches and eleven evening meals, you’ll sample locally produced cheeses, smoked ham and honey wine in the lovely village of Njegusi, visit the local wine cellar at Kopitovic, near Lake Skardar, and experience the full gastronomic gamut at local restaurants in rural and city locations.
Depending on the region, the cuisine of the country encompasses a range of flavours and traditional cooking techniques. It would take you more than one visit to taste everything, but there are certainly some “must-try” mainstays you shouldn’t miss.
In the mountainous regions of the country, kacamak is a very hearty traditional staple. It was originally considered the food of the poor, but today it’s served up in many different incarnations as a starter in even the best of restaurants. The traditional recipes have survived through the centuries, and the base of cornmeal, potatoes, kajmak (a creamy local cheese) and sour milk remains relatively the same, with various additions of ham, vegetables or fish.
Every region has its own version of burek, and these delightful little parcels of filo pastry stuffed with a choice of meat, potato, spinach or cheese are one of the most familiar items of Balkan cuisine. I highly recommend these as a fantastic breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day. Local bakeries serve them together with a small bottle of yogurt, and there are different versions in the form of wedges, tubes and spirals.
Around the coastal areas of the country, you won’t be able to get away from buzara, and you won’t want to, either! Made with the delicious and fresh seafood that’s provided by the Adriatic, there’s nothing quite like a fabulous dish of red or white buzara. Prawns, shellfish and other seafood are cooked slowly in a sauce of either white or red wine and fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs. It’s served with fresh crusty bread to sop up the juices. The delicate flavours from the seafood infuse the hearty sauce and, while I’ve had the pleasure of sampling both versions of the dish, the white is my absolute favourite.
Cevapi (and their counterparts pljeskavica) are the Balkan’s answer to fast food. Available at any café, restaurant or street vendor, these sausages or meat patties are made from either beef or pork mince. Fashioned into an elongated (or flattened in the case of pljeskavica) shape, cevapi are often served with shoestring fries and a bread bun, but I prefer the traditional accompaniment cucumber salad, cabbage and tomato.
We all know prosciutto as a delicious traditional cured meat from Italy, but when in Montenegro, you simply must do as the Montenegrins do and taste Njegusi prosciutto. The tiny village of Njeguši is situated in the mountains and is renowned among locals and tourists for its meat, which is packed in salt, hung for at least three weeks and then smoked over a period of four months before eating. While the time and effort required to produce this regional delicacy might seem extreme, you’ll never look at prosciutto the same way again once you’ve tasted it. The best way to bring out the flavours is to accompany it with cooked cabbage or a tasty portion of creamy local cheese.
Join Prestige Holidays to Discover the Flavours of the Balkans
As a dedicated foodie myself, I’m delighted to recommend our Montenegro – The Jewel of the Balkans tour to likeminded clients. Along with a wealth of historical and cultural attractions, the itinerary has been carefully designed to ensure that participants get the chance to taste their way around country.