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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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Gastronomy & Wine – Montenegro 1.

The story…

The basic idea started with brothers Micky and Zee who own “Portofino” restaurant in the old town center Herceg Novi.

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Zee (left) and Micky in front of Porto Fino – Bela Vista Sq

 

Bela Vista at night

Bela Vista Square

They collect natural foods for the restaurant and buy organic produce from Vesko  in nearby Kuti. Vesko is renovating his family home 150 – 200 year old Ethno-House, as a traditional working, organic farm.  The three friends produce their own wine and olive oil at the farm.

Ethno House Kuti, Vesko and Jeep :-)

Ethno House Kuti, Vesko and Jeep 🙂

The ‘farm’ produces only organic foods, there is a wine cellar, and room for catering to groups of up to 40.  Vesko is also renovating an old stone mill in a steep wooded ravine behind the property. The property is supplied with its own potable fresh water springs.

The Mill

The Mill undergoing renovation

With network and marketing help and advice through  the REG. Western Balkans product,  development project – Ethno House Kuti will open in 2015 as a high end – Gastronomic Holiday retreat offering classes and active training  in the collection and preparation of traditional Adriatic coast foods – such as eels, wild herbs, seafish and shellfish. The farm streams will be re-stocked annually with eels, the brothers already cultivate mussels nearby, the whole site is only 4km from the sea. Seasonal wild herbs grow in the hills close to the site and can be reached by long (1 day) and short (1 hour) hiking paths. The organic farm can supply all necessary fruits and vegetables, there are goats and a couple of horses.  Active excursions include – squid fishing with fishermen in the bay, olive orchards and stone presses on the Lustica peninsular, Trebinje in BiH for wine and honey recipes (*below), smoke houses at Njegusi. Buying produce from local farmers and fish markets.

Ethno House has wine cellars, stone fire pits, iron cooking ranges, and a training kitchen will be added by Zelko .

Ethno House has wine cellars, stone fire pits, iron cooking ranges, and a training kitchen will be added by Zelko .

The waterfalls and streams in the high cliffs behind the house also offer opportunities for some adventurous activities. Other adventure active options will be available.

Yoga courses can also be arranged in combination with herbal teas therapies using locally collected plants.

The cookery courses will be linked to Portofino restaurant – with guests preparing a final ‘graduation’ group meal in the old town

Gastronomy and Wine – Montenegro 2. Hiking the Bay leaf forest.  https://montenegroadventure.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=425&action=edit

Tour Features

  • Bay of Kotor
  • Flight connections – Dubrovnik, Tivat.
  • Links to: Trebinje BiH  in 1.5 hours, Albania via Lake Skadar. Kosovo and Serbia.
  • Main attractions – Ethno House, Traditional food gathering and cookery lessons. Sea food and wild herbs.

Local Connections

 

  •  A German company is building a large  accommodation complex  500 meters from Ethno – House. The buildings follow traditional architectural styles and contain only traditional, locally sourced building materials. We want to set up a joint meeting and include this business in our plans. Ethno house can provide a major year round attraction to fill the new accommodation.

 

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Through our project we will facilitate cooperation and joint promotion between the businesses.

  • A number of large, high value developments are taking place close to Kuti – the super marinas at Porto Montenegro and Kumbor for example. The project will create connections so that these larger developers can help Ethno House to be more sustainable (for example, providing hessian sacks for compost, recycling etc.) In turn Ethno House can provide an attraction of  these developments and a source of organic produce.
  • A local travel agency partner will be invited to create a range of excursions and activities – such as white water rafting.

Regional / W. Balkans Connections.

We are assisting in the preparation of a short 3-5 day program which can link to complementary Gastronomic and Wine attractions regionally to create multi center holidays.

The first of these supporting attractions has been identified in Bosnia at Trebinje (1.5 hours by road). Here we will create a similar ‘cluster’ of local businesses to deliver the following guest experiences:  honey production and cookery, domestic wine production, fresh fish dishes (using trout from the Trebinjica River), greenhouses for organic salads, horse back riding and village monasteries to learn about sacred foods and church wine making techniques.

Other countries in the Western Balkans  will add – Muslim, Turkish cuisine, Serbian smoke houses, outdoor cooking (in the ground) in Macedonia, mountain cheese production and much more.

How is REG and the Western Balkans Network helping?

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We offer : advice, ideas, best practice examples and fact sheets. We meet with the businesses and find connections. We help the businesses to develop a product plan. We use the product development model developed by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (because they are the best) . We explain target markets, customer preferences and market planning. We help businesses overcome  vital issues like – sustainability and safety. And when everything is ready, we will help our partners to sell these tours to support local communities and to give our guests  life changing , memorable and sustainable travel experiences.