Eco food in Herzegovina
The variety of natural resources and the abundance of cultural heritage of Herzegovina have replenished local people with hospitality and kindness. According to tradition, the guest is here met with rich offer of healthy and natural food. Herzegovinians are nice and caring hosts. As a welcoming sign, the gates are always wide open. Old houses are mostly built from stone, and in the middle of the dining area there used to be a fireplace with chains above. Some houses had one more fireplace which was slightly more raised and it was used for baking bread. This was also the location for smoking meat. In the old times families used to dine on low tables, sitting on tripods or chairs with carved half rounded backs. The most distinctive feature of this region is traditional cuisine which matches the climate characteristics of the area and uses everything that nature offers. All of this is confirmed by vast spaces covered with rich pastures, various medical herbs, numerous lakes, forests, rivers and springs, which is the proof of a healthy environment. These conditions also favor cattle breeding, and their meat and milk are later used for well-known specialties. Because of the high environment pollution today, healthy food is very important for mankind. The production of meat, milk, kaymak, and cheese is this area is based on feeding the cattle with natural food, without the addition of mineral fertilizers. The production is mostly done in private households. The agriculture production is done under natural conditions, irrigation is done from spring water, and everything is fertilized strictly naturally.
Most commonly dairy products are:
Kaymak: made by picking up the milk fat from flat wooden dishes, which is later placed in a wooden vat until it ripens. Kaymak in goatskins is called ripe, and the one that was picked up from wooden dishes is called curd kaymak.
Cheese: ‘torotan’ – made from the milk in wooden dishes after picking up kaymak, whole cheese – from unskimmed milk, when it ripens the cream is picked up from the top, curd cheese – rennet is put into freshly filtered milk.
Dishes from flour and wheat
Bread is most often made from wheat or corn flour, and the specialty is bread baked on a flat stone plate or under bell.
Pies have an important place in the traditional cuisine, and the fact that pastry is made by skillful hands of local housewives is very important. Most common variations are cheese pies (with cheese and eggs), spinach or chard pie (sometimes is also made from wild pasture plants, such as nettle), and potato pie.
Cicvara with honey: a favorite specialty of this area, it is made of wheat flour and cheese, kaymak, butter and oil.
Pura/kačamak (maize porridge)– made from corn flour by putting it into hot water, and when it boils salt is added and water is poured off, then it is simmered with a wooden spoon, after that butter and cheese are added, or kaymak and sour milk.
Uštipci/priganice (fritters) – made from wheat flour and cooked in oil on a frying pan, served warm with cheese, curd kaymak or jam
Prijesnac (cheese pastry) – made from wheat or corn flour with milk, kaymak, cheese, eggs and baked altogether
Lojanica (tallow pie) –basically prijesnac with added tallow, and zeljanica is prijesnac with green vegetables: nettle, chard, spinach.
Potato: prepared in various ways: cooked of roasted in oven, eaten with cheese and kaymak. Special delicacy is when it is topped with kaymak and roasted in oven or under bell.
Traditional preparing of smoked meat for long and cold winter days has been preserved and is still done, based on methodology used in ancient times. Prosciutto is made from pork, and smoked beef, mutton and sausages are also an inevitable part of local cuisine.
Lamb under bell and on a spit
Bread dough or meat is placed under a big metal lid that resembles a bell, and after that it is covered by embers and ash. Restaurant throughout Herzegovina have preserved this traditional way of food preparing. This way the meat stays juicy and give potatoes a special flavor.
Roasted and cooked goat
Villager soup with meat: made with lamb with domestic pastry, potatoes and kaymak.
Villager soup without meat
Nettle soup – highly appreciated for its healing power
Trout fish (stream fish) – very famous Herzegovinian specialty
Mushrooms – freshly picked from pastures, this a favorite delicacy in the local restaurants and among people. They can be prepared on barbecue, with kaymak, in soups… Most common types are penny buns and champignons.