Harvest in Montenegro

  • By Luštica Bay
  • 29 Oct, 2015

After a summer spent lapping up the sun’s rays, Montenegro’s fertile lands heave with ripened fruit, heralding the arrival of autumn’s main event – Harvest.

During early autumn, harvest is reserved for Montenegro’s expansive range of grape varieties, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, to the indigenous and ancient Krstač.

Wine harvest season sees families gathering to make their own wine, and more importantly, the national liquor, the fruit brandy, ‘rakija’. Once the wines have been bottled, anything leftover is distilled to produce the rakija. Although traditionally drunk at the start and end of a meal, even the slightest excuse is usually enough to sample another sip of this delicious tipple.

Once the grapes have all been gathered and distilled, harvest’s attention turns to Montenegro’s plums, raspberries, blueberries and cornelian cherries. Each fruit is used to make homemade, sweet, sticky jam, so moreish that making it last throughout the winter – let alone the year – can be testing to say the least.

However, harvest’s crowning glory has to be the noble olive. Montenegro’s love of the olive runs deep and is as secure and enduring as the roots of its mighty tree. Typically grown along the Montenegrin coastline, the majority of olive trees line the Luštica peninsula in Boka Bay and Ulcinj, in Valdanos cove.

Still harvested using mostly traditional hand-picking methods and the use of nets on the ground, the olives are then transformed into olive oil, fondly referred to as ‘liquid gold’ for its diverse remedial properties.

Olive oil is not only used to add flavour to dishes and in some cases, as a natural remedy, but also to create nourishing soaps and conditioners. In the past, local fishermen would even pour the oil onto the surface of the sea in order to better see the fish below!
If all this talk of food and wine whets your appetite, why not pay us a visit and try your hand at grape and olive picking? We promise there will be a glass of rakija and a slice of toast splattered with jam waiting for you at the end of it all.
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