Country and production conditions
What’s really something to be recognized on Durmitor that’s something that really and rightly may be said that’s the national cuisine. International recognition, by proclaiming Montenegro as the first ecological state in the world, with Zabljak as it’s center, is more proof that the cuisine in these parts is something very special and unique.
That this is really so is confirmed by the immense, from times immemorial godly surfaces covered by fat-green meadows, by richly varied and medical herbs, numerous lakes, forests, sources, that being the best proof of an untouched, pure nature. If in such areas you see cattle grazing, from which milk and meat Durmitorians make their world – famous specialties.
Healthy, unpolluted food is something of prime importance in times of universal pollution of food, water and even air you breathe, shortening our very lives and making life miserable.
The “Institute for the Application of Nuclear Energy in Agriculture” (shortly INEP) from Beograd did a lot of research work in the framework of the project “Radioactive Pollution of the Biosphere” especial attention being given to the radioactive pollution of food with long-living radio-nuclides, like Cesium 137 and Cesium 134.
Samples were gathered September 1993 (S. Stankovic).
The radio-nuclides Cesium 137 and Cesium 134 were measured in exactly one hundred samples like follows:
– food of animal origin ( calf meat, heifer meat, lamb meat, sheep meat, milk (sheep and cow milk), cheese, cream, sour cream, whey.- food of plant origin ( plums, pears, rose hip, carrots, onions, garlic, beets, mangles, spinach, parsley, cabbage, potatoes, pumpkins and green salad- cattle feedstuffs (meadow grass, hay, barley).
The results were unique, indeed: nowhere in the whole world there was no area with less radioactivity than the area of Durmitor.
All of this directs us to consider this area as very interesting for the real ecological and health tourism and gives us the unique chance of taking the leadership for the whole world in the production of ecological food.
The production of meat, milk, cream and cheese is based upon feeding the cattle with natural but very bulky feedstuffs (no mineral fertilizers are used!), with barley and oats, mainly produced in the vicinity without any mineral fertilizers and pesticides. That certainly is reducing the yields, but quality written with a capital Q is much more higher, and the food produced in this way is immeasurably safer and healthier.
Production of field and garden plants is according to crop rotation: practically all areas have abundant source water for watering plants. Fertilizing is done exclusively by stable manure.
Notwithstanding the prolongation of human life due to a host of factors, more and more it is clear that only unpolluted, pure food will keep people healthy, and that the trend in world’s culinary science is more and more directed to such ingredients. Especially olive oil, fish, integral wheat, fruits and vegetables are important, all of which may be connected to health tourism. In all of Durmitor restaurants the factor of unpolluted food is of prime importance.
From milk products the following are of prime importance: kajmak or stari skorup ( the skim of the milk) (from sheep or cow milk), cheese (prljo or tvrdi) fatty cheese (full cheese), all milk cheese, sour milk, sour whey, whey, curdled milk, butter, and a host of very special milk products that they even do not have an English translation ( Zetica, Urda, Buca, Jomuza).
– The skim of the milk – skorup, kajmak – the skim of the milk is gathered put into wood vats, salted, till it ripens. The vat is at its bottom holed, so water from the skim may flow out. In the Fall, when ripe, kajmak or skorup is put into leather bags: the skorup in those leather bags is called stari (old), and the skorup not yet ripened is called saljevak.
– The cheese from leather bags – Prljo: this cheese is made from skimmed milk. The skimmed milk is gently warmed, rennet is added. When the process of cheesing is finished, whey is decanted, the cheese is put into a filter, the filter is tied, and the bundle is put above the cauldron for the rest of the whey to run down. The bundle is put under heavy weights to press whey out completely. The whey-less cheese is taken from the bundle put into a vat, salted, and after being ripe into leather bags well tamped where it can be kept for a very considerable time.
– Fatty cheese – Puni (full cheese). Into fresh milk rennet is added. The mixture is left until whey separates, the cheese is cut into pieces, whey is by pressing separated. After practically all whey is separated, the cheese is put into a vat . When putting into the vat, it is not cut into small pieces, but put as a whole.
– Cijeli sir (whole cheese) is made from uncooked milk, after the milk stays overnight, and after cream is taken from the top. After that rennet is added, the mixture is left until the process of cheesing is finished. After that the above described processes are applied.
– Zetica into uncooked milk rennet is added, and after cheesing is finished the cheese is gathered into vessels and eaten fresh. Zetica is very fine indeed if mixed with “saljevak”. The Durmitorians consider this dish being like a pharmacy ( for liver diseases, and for reconvalescing sick people).
– Urda is a form of cheese, made in small quantities and eaten fresh. After from the fresh milk soft and fatty cheese are separated, into the left whey rennet is added again. Possibly a little fresh milk is added; the mixture is left for cheesing until it cools down.
– Buca; a kind of cheese made from cooked milk, ready for cheesing, but not left undisturbed but mixed vigorously until cheesing is finished.
– Sour whey: a very special drink made from whey (of the soft and young cheese). The whey is warmed, milk rennet is added. After the drinks becomes acid, and after it cools, it is a drink used like water.- Grusavina (grusava) is something very special, to be found only here; it is made in the second half of the summer, when sheep are grazing stubbles and cut autumn grass, because milk is than thicker.
– Butter; butter is made from uncooked milk left overnight, the skim is taken and put in earthenware vessels. When full, the vessels are left for ripening, and after that butter is made. Whey is separated, and butter collected, again to be put into earthenware vessels, where it is kept until eaten.
– Sukaca (Guzvara) a pastry or pie made through the process of “crowding”- Koturaca (wheel-like)( exclusively made from domestic wheat)- Pita izljevusa (Brkanica) a pastry made by the proces of “casting”- Zeljanica (herbs from Durmitorian meadows ) (a pastry made with green herbs, thus the name)- Heljdija ( a pastry/pie made from buckwheat)
A very important detail: all this pies are made from integral grain.
Traditional Durmitor dishes
– Durmitor dinner (Cooked salted potatoes with cheese and skim-skorup)- Kacamak (pura) (polenta): one of the specialties of the Durmitor cuisine. Kacamak may be made from barley, maize, wheat or buckwheat.- Smocani kacamak : in a very shallow dish, preferably a pan, milk cheese and kajmak (skim) is poured, warmed and mixed until cheese and kajmak melt. When this happens, finished polenta is added. Polenta is kneaded with a wooden spoon until it soaks all the liquid from the pan. The dish is served hot with sour milk.
– Masanica (popara); the principle is practically the same with the aforementioned dish. It is prepared with dried bread with the addition of cheese, kajmak, milk, but added different additions it may be made quite differently….
– Cicvara (gotovac) ; a very popular dish in these parts. In function of how many persons are going to enjoy the dish, kajmak is poured and is mixed until fatty. Slowly flour is added, and is mixed all the time, not allowing the mix to burn to the bottom of the pan. The mixing is prolonged until the flour completely vanishes in the fat. Cicvara is mixed, circularly, until it stops clinging to the wooden spoon, and to the walls of the pan. When cicvara starts making a mass of its own, it may be said that cicvara is ready for consummation. Although to the uninitiated it may look an easy dish to made, this dish asks for a very fine feeling on the parts of the cook…
– Priganice (ustipci); (fritters) served hot with cheese, with young skorup, with honey, with jam or marmalade.
Dried meat: it is a very traditional method that is used this parts for preparing dried meat for the long, cold winter months: the method is preserved from oblivion, and here the old traditional method, used from times immemorial is used.
The whole procedure for preparing dried meat is specific. Starting from the wood that is used, till some nuances in the seasoning which people here use successfully. As wood, beech is preferred, although oak, ash wood and juniper (for the aroma) has its adherents. Very often, because of the very specific seasoning, in the smoke there is rosemary, laurel or thyme. Before putting the meat into smoke for drying, besides salt garlic is added, giving the finished dried meat a fine seasoning, and a real pleasure for the palate…
Besides eating it as it is, dried, such a dried meat may be used cooked with vegetables….
– Young lamb meat – roasted with skorup under sace (inverted earthenware cup). In the pan skorup is added, seasoning and garlic. On that, young lamb meat is layered, and everything is put under sace.- Cooked head in vapor – or in water , not very salted, and seasoned with onions- Burnt head cooked in vapor- Swine entrails ( with eggplant salad) preparing this famous dish is also one of Durmitor specialties. It is served in many different varieties, salted or melted, roasted with onions, with the swine heart or liver added, with eggplant salad.- Cooked lamb in vapor, under sace, with pigweed, with nettles, in cooked milk- Lamb liver in handkerchief (it is not the handkerchief in the usual meaning of the word!) on charcoal embers- Cooked lamb intestines – seasoned- Cooked lamb intestines filled with polenta- Spiked lamb over poured with kajmak- Dried sheep meat with why- Dried sheep meat with potatoes- Cooked fresh calf- Calf muscle (a muscle called “ribic”) in kajmak- Cooked calf, roasted under sace, over poured with kajmak- Rolled shoulder with mushrooms- Dried beef with sauerkraut- Hare in cabbage brine- Cooked wild goat in young skorup- Cooked piglet- Trout; made with vegetables, roasted (rolled with barley flour), dried with young kajmak- Huchen with vegetables and wine- Cooked hen with wheat (barley)
– Nettle chowder (a very fine dish indeed)- Nettle chowder with cheese- Shepherd cream soup with mushrooms (Boletus)- Otkos ( cut hay) chowder (potatoes and onion plumes)- Black onions chowder- Barley porridge- Mushroom porridge- Noodle porridge
MushroomsDurmitor is very well known for its edible mushrooms; as a matter of fact they are very well liked as a culinary specialty even for domestic gourmets. The way to prepare them is legion: roasted, in different chowders, as seasoning in different dishes… The best known varieties are: boletus, meadow mushroom morel etc.
DrinksVodljika (a drink obtained by immersing a certain herb in water, and let it stay) of wild fruit tree, of cornelian cherry, blackthorn, juniper bush, syrup made with honey ( mead), cabbage brine, herbal teas ( hawthorn berry, basswood, yarrow, cantharion, and suchlike)
HoneyProduction of honey on Durmitor is in great expansion, especially because of the possibilities this area has, but, why not to say it, because of its price. Durmitor honey, with every right may carry the name “ecological honey” because of the absolutely unpolluted environment. In meadows there is no use of mineral fertilizers, there are no pesticides, and the general environment guarantees that there are no bee diseases which are such a scourge in other countries. In Zabljak a beekeepers association already exists, heralding a bigger production. The demand on the market is far greater than our production possibilities at the moment. The great number of melliferous plants, forests, high quality water, are giving the honey bee the primeval ambient which is so dire on our planet. The Durmitor honey got far above and beyond its share of medals in international fairs, and surely has every chance of becoming a trademark of our region. All features of honey in diets and as a medical component are well known to everybody. We strongly recommend that you try the Durmitor honey. You won’t regret it!
WaterSurrounded with forests, the area of the National Park Durmitor in its bosom has a great number of clear mountain sources, with an area never in history polluted. The clear water and fine surroundings are guaranteed, because in all of the National Park Durmitor, and nearby there is not a single dirty or polluting industry. That makes our National Park Durmitor a real green oasis in the modern world. Rare are regions where you may drink water from every source, from every creek with no Danger! sign looming overhead. All of Durmitor is that way.
We sell the well known GORSKA water, which is a natural source water from Durmitor heights: that’s one of the symbols of this region, and for sure the best known trademark produce of Durmitor. The source of GORSKA is on the south slopes of Durmitor, at the feet of the Bukovicka gora, in the middle of untouched nature, the Gornja Bukovica. The natural mineral water GORSKA is categorized in the low-content mineral waters, hydrocarbonate-calcium type, with a stable temperature at the source, plus 50C.
The level of hydrocarbonates and calcium gives the water a characteristic taste and a fine body; the calcium level enables those drinking it to replenish the calcium losses. Because there are no metals, especially iron, the water is classified among the world’s leading mineral waters. The low level of sodium enables people to drink this mineral water, GORSKA , in practically unlimited quantities because all minerals, found in the body of the person drinking it in excess, are eliminated through the urinary tract in a very short time. Because of all said the mineral water GORSKA is to be recommended for low-sodium diets which are so necessary in pregnancy, for children, for those suffering of high blood pressure, heart decompensation, arrhythmias, kidney problems, swellings of different etiologies, and obesity. The mineral water GORSKA is also recommended- for sportsmen in all phases of training and during contests.
The Niksic beer, very popular drink in Montenegro is unique, and well known by its byname “Beer for companionship”.
That’s a beer with so many international awards we almost can’t cite them; the last is “Monde selection” the golden medal obtained for quality in Paris 2002. There’s a long tradition in brewing beer, the water is absolutely first class (the water for beer brewing is taken from the Vidrovan source”, and the new majority owner the Belgian company “INTERBREW” (possibly the biggest beer brewer in Europe), are a firm guarantee for this beer to remain at the top, and to be the pleasure of beer-bibbers in the Balkans and even wider.
From the wide fan of wines offered in the restaurants and in the market places of Durmitor, the absolute runner is VRANAC PRO CORDE ( a red wine produced and bottled by AD “Plantaze July 13th”), after the opinion of many wine bibbers the best wine in former Yugoslavia. From the white wines we would like to mention KRSTAC, CHARDONNAY and SAUVIGNON, all produced by the same producer abovementioned, i.e. AD “Plantaze July 13th)
VRANAC PRO CORDE – the Montenegro “premier cru” with a higher content of proantocyanidols
With a very special procedure – a producer’s secret – the concentration of proantocyanidols – which are a natural content in wines – was enhanced. These proantocyanidols tie down free radicals, and have a very gracious action on the heart and the blood vessels.
At the same time the wine lost nothing of its body, beauty, charm, harmony, temperament and essence. The enhanced TOP QUALITY VRANAC may be used even in the medicinal sense – as a prophylactic, but also, looked a little from the side, as a remedy.
A very learned Frenchman, somewhat in jest, but let’s confess it to be true, said some twenty years ago: “ if somebody in the wine finds a substance being a remedy for infarcts, I consider it to be wholly senseless to isolate it, because the remedy is altogether in a very gracious form to be used.”
VRANAC PRO CORDE is not only a very noble wine to drink, but also has its pharmacological value, if you drink it everyday, in moderate quantities, of course.
“ In the future do not drink water, but wine in moderate quantities, because of your stomach and your frequent weaknesses.” Timothy, The Holly Bible.
– Domestic plum brandy; this drink is produced practically exclusively in the traditional way in the Tara canyon villages; it is very valued, and of high quality.
– Domestic pear brandy – it’s a drink made from local pears, and possibly, because of it’s specific aroma the best of all strong drinks on Durmitor.- Lozova rakija (loza) (cognac); made by AD “Plantaze Podgorica”. The grapes come from local vineyards, the production is a local secret; all this makes this ”cognac” a very fine drink indeed.
– Kruna ( The Crown); the producer is AD “Plantaze Podgorica”. Top-notch “cognac” produced in the traditional way in copper vats, fired by wood. It has a very fine, primeval body, making it an “easy” drink, harmonious and drinkable.
– Prvijenac (First born); producer is AD “Plantaze Podgorica”. Top-notch drink made of selected grapes. Harmonious, very light body.