Even the traditional food varies from the region, today we present some of the most popular meals you can find almost everywhere in Montenegro.
Have you ever heard for “priganice” that are served with honey, marmalade or cheese ? Priganice are similar to small donuts, made of milk or water, flour and eggs and very often served for breakfast. Simple but tasty, priganice are sometimes served as a sign of hospitality and to welcome a guest.
So, eggs, milk and flour are probably the most popular ingredients for lot of Montenegrin traditional meals, especially on the North. At that time and even today, every village house in the mountains had those 3 simple ingredients that combined together create a simple but delicious meal. Speaking of practical, this is how our famous kacamak came to be. Similar to Italian palenta it is made of cornmeal and sometimes mixed with potato and milk. The cornmeal is boiled and then mashed while still on the stove. It tastes creamy, it is soft and strong meal, rich in calories, which made it just perfect for hard labour in villages for people who needed a lot of energy.
Montenegrin people like to eat a lot of meat. Any kind. Pork, chicken, beef, lamb etc. But prepared under the bell it tastes even better. Meat is put in a large round baking pan and then covered with domed clay or metal bell. When the coal gets hot enough, the entire bell (with the food inside) is put on top of it. To add to the heat and taste more hot coil is placed on top of the lid. This way, the meat is baked from under and above and slowly cooks in its own juices. The lamb is the best when prepared this way.
“Under the bell”
Njeguski pjat (Njegusi-village, pjat -plate) is often served before meal, and it contains prosciutto from Njegusi, cheese in oil, and olives. Pršuta (prosciutto) is dry-cured ham, served uncooked, and particular flavor and aroma are, according to manufacturers, the result of the mixture of sea and mountain air and beech wood burned during the drying process. Village of Njegusi is located on the slopes of Mountain Lovcen, within the National Park.
Since food is a very important part of Montenegrin traditional lifestyle, there is a special relation to gastronomy followed by some common gestures. Let me lead you shortly through it. In a traditional house, for example, you shouldn’t leave your plate empty. If you do, you would be served more, sometimes even against your will.
This a bit aggressive gesture shouldn’t surprise you, it is just the way traditional families show hospitality and pleasure to welcome you. With its origins in the past, this gesture can be the sign how people valued the food before, as they were living in poor conditions, especially in villages. So, now better eat and don’t count calories! Prijatno!
Written by Dijana