My husband, Chris, and I have been in Montenegro for the last month. Although we’ve been exploring the entire country, we’ve been staying in Ulcinj, which is located at the southernmost tip, near the Albanian border. Spring fills the air with the sweet scent of orange blossoms which I really only thought existed in expensive perfumes. The climate is conducive to various citrus: limes/lemons, grapefruits, oranges and kumquats. The only farmer’s “green” market is located in an understated warehouse that we missed several times in our quest until our landlord physically showed us. The vendors make up for whatever the building is lacking on the outside by displaying colorful fruits, vegetables and farm fresh eggs. Two days of produce cost us about 4€.
Navigating the produce scene came quickly (once we found the market) but I found the dining out experience to be more of a challenge. The majority of restaurants in Montenegro are some variation of a pizzeria serving pastas, pizza and other random entrees. After several weeks of asking around and eating too many flavorless pizzas we finally got down to the bottom of it. Here are some highlights that I wish I knew about sooner: Blitva is a simple but flavorful side dish consisting of boiled potatoes and chard. It is usually served with meat or fish entrees. Potatoes and chard grow in abundance in the Balkan region. Burek is a traditional phyllo dough pastry filled with ground lamb or a feta-like cheese. These greasy delights are found in the bakeries (pekaras).
My favorite restaurants ended up being Misko in Ada Bojana which has an incredible selection of fresh fish and Manhattan in downtown Ulcinj. We were unable to find a reliable butcher, despite being surrounded by grass fed cows. The owner of Manhattan takes great pride in providing the most tender beef in town. The Montenegrins cook up the perfect grilled sea bass. This was my go-to meal on many occasions.
This part of the world is known for the honey soaked desserts which are delicious but I was particularly fond of the Trilece. This is a simple white cake with an almost burnt carmel topping sitting in a pool of cream that soaks into the cake. I will have to create my own recipe when I get back to my kitchen in Seattle as I’m not finding any online recipes that look to be exactly what I had.
According to the locals, they eat a lot of goulash, which originates from Hungary, though we didn’t find one restaurant that had it. I ended up making a Hungarian Goulash at home which was yummy. I will post the recipe soon along with a simple cucumber salad that complements it perfectly.