Montenegro’s Finest Rakijas

  • By Luštica Bay
  • 26 Feb, 2016
If one were able to spy on several random dining tables across Montenegro right now, it is almost certain that bottles of   Rakija   would grace them. Why? Well, the tradition of drinking   rakija , or brandy to you and me, is a strong one in this Adriatic country, often enjoyed as an aperitif – and at other times, too, depending on its flavours and the mood of a dinner party. In any case, it is a well loved custom, and enjoyed across the country.

Perhaps the most well known brandy found on these tables at meal times, is the one that is made from plums:   Šljivovica . That said,   rakija   isn’t limited to just this fruit, for apricots, pears, quince, apples, blueberries, raspberries and grapes – one popular type being   Lozovaca   – are other revered flavours.

This brings us on to   Maginja.   One of the most-liked versions of this, at times, quite potent tipple, is the full-bodied   maginja,   which is made from the bearberry, an evergreen shrub that is found to grow in abundance in the Mediterranean region and around the Luštica Peninsula, too. During the months of December and January, the hills of the Krtoli region are dotted with   maginja   trees, recognisable for their luscious berries, which come in an array of red, orange and yellow. It is from these small fruits, that the   rakija , the equally beloved drink of both locals and visitors, is made.

For centuries, the   maginja   plant was considered wild, and years went by before people began to realise that mouth-watering marmalade and warming liquor could be made from its inviting berries. Over time, the local people of Krtoli and the Luštica Peninsula embraced this fruit and the production of   maginja rakija   took off.

For those wishing to try locally sourced and distilled  maginja  whilst visiting Montenegro, make sure to taste the  rakija  made by the family Moric from Tici village on the Luštica Peninsula. For all other types of this delightful and well-liked aperitif, get yourself invited to a Montenegrin dinner party some time soon!

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