For such a small country, Montenegro’s traditional cuisine comes in many delicious flavours. It ranges from seafood on the coast to hearty mountain fare designed to keep hard-working farmers going.
Njegusi village is the home of Montenegrin prosciutto. Every day tourists and locals alike take the drive up the Serpentine Road with 25 hairpin turns to get their fix of Njegusi prosciutto in Njegusi village. The climate and altitude combine to create the perfect conditions for making prosciutto here. Whole pig hind legs are packed in salt for three weeks, then they’re hung to dry for three more weeks. The final touch is four months of smoking, during which the fire has to be constantly burning and tended to. The prized result is sliced thinly and served with local cheese or cooked with cabbage.
Shellfish, prawns and shrimps are cooked in either a red or white sauce. The red sauce is made with red wine, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices. The white sauce is considered an art form and is made with white wine.
Meat, usually veal, lamb or goat, is slow-roasted with potatoes, carrots, onions, maybe a tomato and a pinch of paprika under a metal dome covered with coals. The finger-licking result is fall-off-the-bone tender meat and succulent vegetables. This is a must-try in Montenegro and it’s the perfect end to a day of rafting in the Tara Canyon.
A coastal speciality, black risotto gets its famous black colour from cuttlefish ink. A really good black risotto also has subtle flavours of white wine, bay, garlic and nutmeg.
Montenegrin Lamb in Milk
Montenegrin lamb in milk is a traditional dish that’s only found in northern Montenegro. The lamb is slowly stewed in milk with potatoes, carrots, fennel, rosemary, garlic, parsley and seasoning. Traditionally, this dish is made in a sac over coals and the meat comes out beautifully tender.
Cevabdzinicas sell cevapi, small sausages made of pork and beef mince. These delicious morsels of meat are best served with a cold salad of home-grown tomato and cucumber.
Burek is made of filo pastry and filled with cheese, meat, spinach or potato. It comes in spirals, wedges and tubes but the wedges are best. An oily, crunchy layer of pastry gives way to a delicious filling.
Skadar Lake Carp
A 30-minute drive from the coast brings visitors to one of Montenegro’s hidden gems, Skadar Lake. The enormous lake and wetland is a national park and it’s teeming with wildlife. The local speciality on the lake is carp and is served fried, smoked or marinated in oil.