Eat and drink in Montenegro
Montenegro is not only one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the good fortune to visit, but it also has some delectable foods and drinks that you simply must try when you’re here. Here are some of my favorite bites and sips. Eat and drink in Montenegro, my friends, you’ll be so happy that you just might die (on that last bit, do make sure to get your steps in—a lot of this is very rich).
I’m already missing this wonderful food and drink.
My shellfish caveat
Before I begin, I should mention that I have a shellfish allergy (if you’re lucky enough not to know, this includes squid and octopus, as they are mollusks), and this means that some of the best foods available in Kotor and on the coast are not things I can try.
All of the seafood looks amazing, and, if you’re not allergic too, please go for it! However, even without tasting the shellfish, I had much to eat and drink in Montenegro that delighted me.
Eat in Montenegro
On the coast of Montenegro, seafood reigns supreme. However, once you get into the mountains, meat takes center stage. Here are some of my favorite things that I ate during my three weeks in the country.
Unless you’re in the Tara Canyon area, you may have a hard time tracking down this unique taste, so here’s a reason to go if the idea of seeing Europe’s deepest canyon doesn’t draw you. In fact, I can’t find a lot of references to it online. I tried it at the urging of a guide when we visited Tara Canyon. Black honey is honey layered with pine and then filtered. The result is a taste unlike any other honey you will try, surprising and delicious. I got a small jar of it.
Put on your eating pants at breakfast for burek, a traditional Montenegrin breakfast. Burek are made with filo dough and traditionally stuffed with meat, cheese, or spinach. I’ve had cheese burek, and if you can finish a whole piece, hats off to you. If you can’t, it won’t be because it isn’t delicious. Seriously, do not skip this (but maybe take a long walk that day).
While I didn’t have any cheese that wowed me with its uniqueness, the quality of the dairy products here is superb. I tried several and would regularly buy cheese at the Kotor Food Market.
Montenegro prides itself on being the tallest nation in the world (apparently, this might not quite be true, but I can tell you that they are very tall), and they credit their height to eating lots of cheese. I eat lots of cheese, and I am not at all tall, but maybe it’s because the milk did not come from Montenegrin cows.
When I first saw prosciutto here, I assumed that it was imported from Italy, especially because Kotor was part of the Venetian Republic until just before the turn of the nineteenth century. However, Montenegro produces its own wonderful prosciutto. You can get not only pork, but beef prosciutto as well. I went to Kod Pera na Bukovicu, the oldest restaurant in Montenegro (in business since 1881) and visited the smokehouse where they make their own prosciutto on site (that was an amazing breakfast). I also bought prosciutto from the Kotor Food Market and many a fine apéro hour.
Oh my. These are tasty. I’d had cevapapi when I was in Hungary in a village where a number of Serbian people lived. They look like poo, literally, but they are one of the best things I’ve tasted. You can get them in Montenegro, along with loads of other delicious grilled meats. When you order these, though, take care—the portions tend to be huge. The photo is from Dobrotski Dvori, an old-school restaurant in Dobrota.
Yes, I am allergic to shellfish, but finned fish are just fine, and I love them. Away from the coast, you’ll find some lovely river and lake fish. I ate grilled whole trout, simply prepared with some garlic and salt and found it delightful when I was in Rijeka Crnojevića.
Ispod saca (under the dome)
In other adventures in meat, ispod saca is something to add to your list. I had this traditional meat preparation with lamb, served with potatoes. The dish is prepared in a domed dish, with coals heaped onto the lid. The result is fall-off-the-bone meat that is sooo good.
Friends, this simple looking dessert is exquisite. Kotor’s take on the traditional Balkans krempita (custard slice) has an added twist of three crusts instead of two. That third crust, in the middle of the pastry is where the magic happens. It’s this surprising bit of crisp in the middle of a vanilla custard slice, and it is so, so tasty.
I’ve had a few slices of this, and while some are better than others (look for yellow-ish pastry cream if you’re in a bakery), you really can’t go wrong with it.
Treat yourself to priganice, traditional Montenegrin donuts when you’re headed to Durmitor National Park. You can have them with jam or honey, but if you are really going the traditional route, have them with some cheese (I daresay that they are delicious with cheese and honey, but apparently, mixing salty and sweet is not done here). I had these at Floyd Food Factory, while on a tour.
They are extra good when you start your day with some rakija (more on that below!).
Drink in Montenegro
Montenegro has a strong traditional drink, and the local wines are delightful.
Montenegro produces some very good wines, ones hard to find outside of the country. In particular, I enjoyed the whites. Bonus, they tend to be more affordable, as there are not imported. My recommendation is to ask your server what they recommend for a local wine. I wish that I’d been able to try pomegranate wine, but I did not.
Back in the day, people used to take a shot of rakija (fruit spirits) before breakfast. I tried it on a tour, and it certainly does shock you into alertness. Rakija is definitely not something that I would drink every morning, but it’s definitely something you should try while you’re here. And maybe pick up a bottle from one of the souvenir shops.
What did you eat and drink in Montenegro?
What about you? What did you eat and drink in Montenegro that you can’t stop thinking about? Let us know in the comments below!
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