The traditional cuisine of Montenegro is a mixture of authentic ways of cooking and recipes borrowed from other peoples, which the locals remade in their own way.
The geographical position of the country, which for centuries served as a meeting place for different cultures, formed its gastronomy as an original combination of Balkan, Greek, Italian, Turkish cuisines.
Fertile soils, which Montenegro is rich in, make the use of fertilizers unnecessary, livestock graze on ecologically clean pastures, and vegetables and fruits are fresh and natural.
National dishes of Montenegro.
The main features of the national Montenegrin cuisine
The range of dishes of Montenegrin cooking directly depends on the region where they are prepared. The Adriatic coast is characterized by fish and seafood dishes, but since there is no industrial fishing in the country, the cost of seafood is high, and the fish menu is not diverse.
At a distance from the shore, especially in mountainous areas, meat dishes are very popular. It is prepared according to local traditions: baked on coals, stewed, fried on an open fire. The eastern method of frying in large quantities of oil is rarely used.
The set of vegetables used in gastronomy is peculiar in Montenegro. In the summer months, eggplant and zucchini are almost absent from the sale and restaurant menus.
But paprika, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers are offered everywhere. Popular okra is an edible hibiscus, the pods of which taste like asparagus, young eggplants and beans at the same time.
Different regions of the country have historically developed their own food preferences. In some, ancient recipes for cooking pate have been preserved, in others they traditionally make fine wine, in others they cook their own cheese.
Therefore, in Montenegrin cuisine there are many dishes, in the names of which there is a mention of the area or city where they appeared (Neguši prosciutto, crmnicko brew, trout in Podgorica).
Life in Montenegro is unhurried, and the inhabitants of the country are not inclined to change anything in it. In gastronomy, they adhere to the usual way of life and the traditional menu.
Restaurants of Chinese, Japanese and Arabic cuisines are almost not found. But Montenegrins love long feasts, and lunch often smoothly turns into dinner.
Order of food intake
The order of serving dishes has been built in Montenegro for a long time and has, in addition to traditions, a medical justification.
It is customary to start a hearty meal with an aperitif – a stack of strong alcohol that awakens the appetite. Most often it is rakija, vine or dunya. When the digestive tract warms up, it is time for chorba, a thick fish or meat soup. Rich food lies in the neglected digestive process, binding alcohol with fats.
After the soup, Montenegrins feast on snacks: cheese, olives, salads, which are consumed with red wine. Hot meat or fish dishes with vegetable side dishes are offered. The hearty meal ends with a cup of strong black coffee.
Typical products and traditional dishes
One of the pleasant ways to feel the Montenegrin culture is to get acquainted with its gastronomic part.
Like the cuisines of most Slavic peoples, liquid hot dishes are widely represented in Montenegrin cooking. They are divided into 2 large groups: soups and chorbs.
Soup in Montenegro is called a transparent broth with meat, which, if desired, can be seasoned with rice, noodles, vegetables, peas. On the coast, seafood soup is cooked with a dressing of bell peppers, olives and lemon juice.
Chorba is a thick, rich soup, resembling Hungarian goulash in consistency. Most often it is cooked on meat or fish. As a meat component are beef or chicken, vegetables serve as a dressing.
Fish chorba is prepared from several types of fish, to give the soup density, flour is added to it. From the ear, the dish is distinguished by a large number of spicy spices. There is a vegetarian version of chorba with nettles.
Rich chorba is made from meat or with fish, who likes.
The central lunch dish in Montenegro is fish or meat. On the coast, seafood dishes are popular: mussels, oysters, squid.
The garnish for them are boiled potatoes and blitva – cultivated beet tops. To give a piquant taste, olive oil and lemon juice are added to the side dishes.
In the central and mountainous regions of the country, the main dish will be meat. It can be flour – pieces of pork, first fried on an open fire, then stewed with vegetables, or pate – beef under a sauce, which is served with pasta or dumplings.
Muchkalitsa is meat with vegetables for lunch.
Appetizers and salads
The choice of snacks in the Balkan republic is small, but they are made from environmentally friendly products. As light dishes, Montenegrins prefer hard and soft cheeses, olives, kaymak, prosciutto. Among the salads, dishes from coarsely chopped seasonal vegetables with vinegar and vegetable oil predominate.
The most common salad is “Shopsky”: tomatoes with cucumbers under finely grated cheese. On the coast, seafood can be added to it. Popular salads are “Ruska” (similar to Olivier) and “Srpska” (with hot peppers).
The development of animal husbandry has determined the emergence in Montenegro of traditions of cheese making and production of dairy products. There are dozens of varieties of cheese in the country, it serves as an ingredient for appetizers, soups, cereals, desserts.
Among all the varieties, 2 stand out:
- Negushi cheese is a skimmed solid product based on sheep’s milk. It is produced in Lovcen and on the coast from Herceg Novi to Budva. Young cheese is aged for 60 days in a vat of pepper and olive oil, which gives the ripened head a spicy taste.
- Lisnats (leaf cheese) are a product made from milk obtained from one cow, but during morning and evening milking. It has a layered structure and a delicate, sweet taste.
Of the fermented milk products, the love of local residents and tourists is used by kaymak – a cream-colored cheese mass similar to thick sour cream, which is added to meat, fish, vegetable dishes.
Tender lisnats are a leaf cheese for cheese lovers.
Vegetables and fruits
Nature has generously endowed a small Balkan country with fertile soils. Harvests are harvested here several times a year.
Exotic vegetables are not grown in the country; the usual tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, greens, zucchini, beets, bell peppers, carrots are sold in markets and supermarkets, used for cooking in restaurants.
The range of fruits and berries is wide, their presence on the shelves depends on the season. In the spring, strawberries, cherries ripen first. In summer – apricots, nectarines, figs, peaches, apples, plums, watermelons, melons.
In the autumn months, Montenegro will please with a large number of grapes, pears, plums, blackberries, blueberries, tangerines, pomegranates, persimmons, grapefruits.
In Montenegro, small private bakeries are widespread, their products are distinguished by high taste qualities. Traditional pastries from corn and barley flour are considered, but now more and more often the menu includes bread from wheat.
Authentic products of local bakers are proyi – fatty corn rolls with cheese, bureks – puff pastries with meat or eggs and mushrooms, executioners – pancakes made of flour without sugar, stuffed with fish, cottage cheese, prosciutto, potatoes, cheese. Executioner can be sweet, then the filler is jam, sweetened cream, hot chocolate.
The list of Montenegrin desserts is long, the influence of the gastronomy of neighboring countries is felt in the technology of their manufacture:
- baklava with nuts and raisins;
- crofne – donuts with marmalade or cream;
- tulumba is a turkish sweet, which is pieces of unleavened dough moistened with honey or syrup;
- saviyacha sa makom – roll with poppy seeds.
There are no authentic soft drinks in the Balkan country. Conventionally, these include coffee, which the locals are happy to drink at any time of the day.
The most common is Turkish black coffee in copper Turks. Tea is not so popular, but in supermarkets and restaurants you can find its black, green and red varieties. Montenegrin lemonade is consumed without sugar or add sweetness separately and stir.
Among the strong drinks are Kruna grape vodka and various varieties of rakija. The latter is made from plums, quinces, pears, apricots, apples.
The strength of rakija can reach 60 °. The appetizers are hard cheeses or prosciutto, and in restaurants it is offered highly chilled or served in ice.
Little Montenegro can not boast of the richness of the wine line. Almost all production in the country is represented by the products of the state company “Plantage”.
Of the red varieties, the best is Vranac – a wine of dark ruby color with a tart taste and a long aftertaste. It is served with traditional snacks and meat dishes. Among white wines, the leader of demand is Krstac. It has a light yellow color and goes well with fish and seafood dishes.
The only alcoholic beverage purposefully produced for export in Montenegro is beer. It is bottled in a factory in the city of Nikšić and is called Nikshichko. Fans of amber drink note its quality. Outside the country, beer is supplied under the NIK brand.
What you should definitely try in Montenegro
Guests of the Balkan country are happy to taste and highly appreciate the works of local chefs.
A strong, bitter vegetable rashtan belongs to the cabbage family and is similar to Tuscan feces. It is used as one of the main components for the preparation of the dish of the same name.
It is a stew of rashtan, mashed boiled potatoes and various meat options. In the northern part of the country, dry smoked meat is added to the dish, in the central and southern regions – homemade sausages, smoked ribs, bacon. The dish is consumed mainly in the cold season, because it is high-calorie and warms the body well.
Pie with sorrel (staval) and nettle
The recipe for a pie with greens is borrowed from Greek cuisine. For cooking, the dough is used, which is lined in several layers at the bottom of the baking dish, each layer is smeared with oil.
Then half of the chopped sorrel and nettle, diced cheese, salt, pepper are added. After that, the filling is added again to get 2 identical layers. From above, the entire structure is closed with dough and placed in the oven. A cake is served for breakfast, and washed down with thick sour milk.
Sorrel pie for an amateur.
The original caviar from sweet peppers and eggplants – aivar – is prepared in Montenegro in the autumn, when fresh vegetables appear on store shelves.
In addition to the mentioned ingredients, it includes garlic, white wine, vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, pepper.
After cooking, a homogeneous mass of green or red color is obtained, depending on the sweet pepper used. The dish is used as an independent dish, spread on bread, eaten with meat.
To prepare a salty tasting kaymak, fermented baked milk is used. In appearance, it resembles cottage cheese, sour cream and thick cream.
In gastronomy, this useful fermented milk mass is widely used: kaymak is eaten with a spoon, spread on a bun, added as an ingredient in meat, vegetable and fish dishes.
Kachamak is one of the authentic dishes of Montenegrin cuisine. It is found in the north of the country. Mandatory ingredients are potatoes, kajmak and cheese, which are simmered for a long time in a special dish, stirring continuously. To taste, corn, buckwheat, wheat, barley are added to the kachamak. They offer a hot dish, use with sour milk.
Kachamak is a dish from the north of Montenegro, prepared from potatoes with cheese.
The traditional peasant breakfast in Montenegro is masanica, or popara. The dish is a thick cold soup of brown bread, butter, milk, young cheese and spices.
The components are mixed in a pan and allowed to brew for about 40 minutes. Then cooled and served on the table. They eat masanitsa for breakfast, yogurt is well suited to it. The dish perfectly satisfies hunger, it can be consumed in hot weather.
Tsitsvara, or gotovets
Another option for breakfast in Montenegrin is tsitsvara, cheese porridge. Hard cheese is melted in a pot of hot milk to the state of a viscous mass.
Then corn flour is poured into the container, and the dish acquires the consistency of a pudding. Cooker is served on a plate, decorated with pieces of fried bacon on top. Fresh kaymak is well suited to the dish.
Tsitsvara is a cheese porridge for breakfast.
Priganice, or Ushtipitsi
A pastry similar to doughnuts is called priganice, or ushtipitsi. Products have the shape of balls, are prepared without filling. Priganitsa is traditionally served for breakfast, but there is no clear reference to the time of the meal, and the dish can be consumed with honey, sour cream, cheese, jam at any time of the day.
The main Montenegrin snack prosciutto is an analogue of Spanish jamon and Italian prosciutto. This is a dried pork or beef ham, which is prepared using an old technology.
The best is considered to be a prosciut from the Negushi Valley, which is located in such a way that hams suspended in barns for several months are salted by salty winds blowing from the sea.
After cutting into the thinnest strips, the Negush ham literally melts in the mouth. In Montenegro and neighboring Balkan countries, it is considered a delicacy.
Prosciutto is a delicacy from the Negusi Valley.
Cabbage rolls in cabbage leaves sarma is a homemade dish of local cuisine. These are rolls stuffed with meat, rice and spices, stewed in tomato sauce. They are served with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetable salad with cheese and a glass of red wine. This same dish in grape leaves is called yaprak.
A pie filled with salted cheese, herbs and eggs is called zeljanica. It is baked from a thin dough, and the choice of greens for the dish is unlimited. In the pie put parsley, dill, mint, onion feathers.
In the process of cooking, juices from cheese and greens nourish the dough, as a result, baking is obtained with a ruddy crispy crust, under which there is a moist pulp.
Zeljanica is a delicious pie stuffed with salted cheese, herbs and eggs.
The recipe for cooking this steak was invented in the Negushi Valley, hence its name. It differs from the usual version in that the steak of young beef is stuffed with prosciutto, cucumbers and kaymak, sometimes mustard is added.
The resulting roll is fried in vegetable oil, butter and flour are added during the cooking process. To give the dish a dark color, pour soy sauce. Offer hot with slices of roasted potatoes.
Čevapi, or čevapčići, as well as Pleskavitsa
Cevapi – small sausages made of minced beef and lamb. Meat for them is finely crumbled, mixed with spices and onions. Sausages are made from minced meat, smeared with olive oil and fried on a grate in the oven. Ready-made chevapchichi is served with french fries, fresh or baked vegetables.
Pleskavitsa is a large flat cutlet that can reach 20 cm in diameter. For its preparation, only 2 ingredients are used: meat and onions. Fried pleskavitsa without breading, supplemented with potatoes and vegetable salad.
Delicious chevapchichi sausages for meat lovers.
Street food in Montenegro
Lovers of snacking on the go will not remain hungry in the Balkan republic. Street cafes and kiosks offer a wide selection of dishes that are quickly prepared, remaining high-quality and tasty.
Meat fast food is kebabs, pizza, chevapchichi. Residents of the country like to have a snack with hangers – chops, fried without breading on the grill with onions and sauces.
A good option for a hearty snack can be pleskavitsa in a bun, a kind of hamburger in Montenegrin. If desired, vegetables, herbs, mayonnaise are added to the cutlet.
Seafood is popular from fish street food: squid in batter, small fish gyrica, fried octopuses. The price of the dish often includes a vegetable side dish.
Baking is represented by jumpers (donuts with honey) and Greek gyros stuffed with vegetables.
You can drink a snack from vending machines or brewed in Turkish, lemonade, kefir.
Recipes of Montenegrin dishes are simple, and a skillful hostess will be able to cook many dishes with her own hands.
An authentic dish, which is also called George’s schnitzel.
- pork tenderloin – 700 g;
- breadcrumbs – 100 g;
- eggs – 2 pcs.;
- flour – 80 g;
- oil – 1 cup;
- kaymak – 100 g.
Beat the pork tenderloin well. Lay out a kaymak roller on its edge, and then roll the workpiece into a tube. Place crackers, flour and beaten eggs in different containers.
Dip the roll with kaymak in flour, then in eggs, then in crackers. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the schnitzel in it on 2 sides until browned.
Place the cooked food on a plate. After the first incision from the core of the dish, a molten kaymak will appear, its combination with fried pork will give the dish a piquant taste.
In order to make juicy pork schnitzel requires a good piece of meat.
A cast-iron pot with thick walls in Montenegro is called a sach. The food cooked in it bears the same name.
- lamb – 1 kg;
- carrots – 1 pc.;
- onion – 1 pc.;
- garlic – 1 head;
- potatoes – 1 kg;
- greens to taste;
- salt to taste;
- olive oil – 50 ml.
At the bottom of the cast iron pot lay out the vegetables cut into large pieces. Put meat on top of them, sprinkle it with salt, herbs and spices. Close the container with a lid, put on hot coals and simmer for 1 hour.
Then put a grate with hot coals on the lid and leave it for baking for another 1 hour. At the end of the specified time, the dish is ready.