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The theme which the Western Balkans Geotourism Network has adopted for promoting the whole region is variety.  We know the region is pretty unique , landscapes, cultures, languages, musical traditions, cuisines and climates all collide in the western Balkans, like nowhere else.

The Gastronomy of the Western Balkans tour explores many cooking styles, techniques and recipes. Guests will travel through the region guided and joined by local experts, chefs, farmers, fishermen small holders and every day unsung experts in Balkan cookery.

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As we journey between societies, across dramatic landscape changes, from the coast to the peaks, our menus reflect the local ingredients and seasonal conditions – this was ‘eat local’, before there needed to be a label for doing what once just came naturally.

In Montenegro the themes will of course be the Adriatic Sea food – Montenegro has one of the best preserved fishing stocks in the Mediterranean. We follow the pairing of ingredients from the sea, coastlines and the mountains of the coast.

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Guests can choose a variety of cooking styles and themes – with their chosen ingredients – if local and available. In Montenegro alone you can from:

1. Claypot. The basics but also one of the most versatile techniques and the flavour combinations are superb – Octopus and potato with carrot, goat cooked in milk, or fresh mussels local herbs and wine.

2. Grilling on Vine sticks, outdoor.

3. Tanjiraća. Literally plough- share fashioned into a very shallow cooking pot which stands on 3 short legs – like a large wok. The fat collects in the center of the pot and round the edges are placed the meats. The meat is traditionally basted with branches of wild rosemary which is dipped in the fat.

4. Large flat heated fire stone for sizzling – a pork chop is recommended.

5. Spit roast – usually sheep or lamb. Goat is available. 4 hours slow cooking often with beer and then one hour to cool.

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For vegetarians – Montenegrins eat far more fresh fruits and vegetables than the tourist restaurant menus would suggest. All types of techniques are still remembered for cooking and preserving all of this natural abundance . Pickles, conserves provide some really good ingredients for winter cooking , quite different from the summer salads.

Gastronomy and Wine – Montenegro 1. Bay of Kotor. 

Gastronomy and Wine – Montenegro 2. Hiking the Bay leaf forest

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How to use the Geotourism MapGuide

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GeoTourismMapGuide

Online Map that captures and conveys the authenticity of the region through the eyes of people who know best – You!

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What are people posting? What can you share?

Seeks to promote and enhance the region’s natural, historic, and cultural sites to domestic and international visitors seeking authentic travel experiences

What can I nominate?

  • Historical/ Cultural Site, District, Village, Town
  • Festival and Event
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Natural Area
  • Local Artist, Musician or Craftsperson
  • Regional Tours
  • Local Businesses (e.g. locally owned food, drink and accommodation provider)
  • Local Points of Interest (Market, Statue, Religious Structure, Unique shop, etc.)
  • Participation Opportunities (Voluntourism Opportunities)

… anything that is authentic to Western Balkans and sustains or enhances the character of the region.

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Open the map!

What is Geotourism?

Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

A test for inclusion on the MapGuide: “Is the spot, attraction, business, activity or experience distinctive to our town, area or region, and is it authentic to The Western Balkans?”

GeotourismPrinciples

–          Promotes and supports character, tradition and cultural heritage of the site

–          Promotes and supports positive practices of environmental and heritage protection

–          Promotes and supports involvement and prosperity of local community

–          Offer and method of work focused on authentic and quality offer

 

How?

  1. Go to:

http://www.balkansgeotourism.travel/participate.php

And create your profile

  1. Click on +ADD NEW NOMINATION
  1. Select the best category for your nomination
  1. Follow the steps and add full description of your nomination:

Click SAVE AND EXIT at the bottom of the page to move from Text to Media to Contacts to Mapping

  1. Once you have entered all the information, change the status of your nomination and submit it to the editor for review, approval and activation (at the bottom of the page)
  1. Click SAVE
  1. If you want to link your nomination to other nominations on the MapGuide and/ or the themes, click on  CONTENT RELATIONSHIPS  at the top of the page and click every nomination that could be associated with yours then click SAVE             to keep the changes.

If you want to add another nominations, click in the top left corner and repeat the steps.

  1. Contact the Country portal director or the editor to review your nominations and activate them.

Gastronomy and Wine – Montenegro 2. Activities

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Hiking the Bay Leaf Forest

Above the bay of Kotor , just south of Dubrovnik, a mountainous ridge line runs from Mount Orijen to join the Montenegrin Coastal Transversal range, where high mountains fringe the sea. The coastal cuisine blends Mediterranean sea dishes with mountain meats and vegetables. Use of native wild plants in traditional cookery also reflects the incredible diversity of wild habitats.
Authentic Balkans cuisine should not only be prepared, ingredients must first be gathered following tradition as old as the landscape. The wild hillsides are a source of herbs and spices to create the most distinctive of local flavours. Depending upon the season it is possible to collect all manner from the hills: olives, wild asparagus, wild garlic, mushrooms, figs, pomegranite, lemon, sweet oranges, sage, copriva, shaffran and more than 100 other types of medicinal plants and herbs.

Guests will be guided by knowledgable guides and with a shopping list of seasonal items to collect, for use in their dishes.

An example hike, close to the farm is the impressive ‘forest of bay trees’ – an evergreen and ever fragrant forest comprised of only one tree species, the Bay tree. Balkan Lore sets a limit of 3 bay leaves used, maximum for any dish, the bay is a popular ingredient in so much Balkan cooking.

The first water stop.

Hiking the Bay leaf forest

The way to walk through the bay forest is barefoot, the evergreen leaves have a short life so the forest floor is buried beneath a layer of bay leaves – said to have medicinal properties, certainly one cure for foot odour, I am guessing.

A walk through the forest with out shoes was said to be a good deterrent to the Tenjac (Vampires from hereabouts).

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Plenty of hiking staffs are left by other walkers at the start of the church path.

After we leave ‘the last house in the village,’ along this road at least, the path becomes a forest track again . Only the church is still to be reached, sitting on the peak above us. Before we departed we had to stop and sample Zova Juice (Sok), chilled, a gift from the family who live here – We would be collecting some to make and use in our recipes. At this last house we were entrusted with the key to the village church and invited to go in and if needed take a drink from the many left there, for passing walkers in the hills.

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Cold drinks on this shaded terrace from gracious hosts.

Below the church is the large forest clearing – the church lawn – long the picnic and party place for villages, for weddings and saints days, dances and important gatherings.

There are several established fire cooking sites here which guests can use to cook outdoor and festive dishes – reviving a tradition of meals that were cooked here for village gatherings.

The woodland enclosed green is a perfect venue for yoga – which can also be arranged, (and will be included as an option in our package).

The climb to the church is a steep but short one, until suddenly the bay trees give out and you have reached the summit – enjoy the view!

Typical Cottage

The end of the road

RECIPE FOR ZOVA SOK
Equal measures of sugar and Zova flowers by weight.
Add 2 litres of warm water for KG of Flowers/Sugar mix.
Stand, stirring often , for two days until the sugar disappears.

Strain the flowers and serve – chilled if you can wait for it to cool – never easy.

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Also: http://vojvodjanskakuhinja.blogspot.com/2009/05/sok-od-zove.html (na srpskom)

Why not nominate your travel ideas to National Geographic Western Balkans Geotourism Mapguide.  Where tourism can help . thankyou