Zelena menestra, the oldest recorded dish of the Republic of Dubrovnik
The Konavle zelena (green) menestra is an autochthonous dish that is mentioned in historical documents as far back as 1480. This winter specialty has been prepared for centuries in the Dubrovnik area, and has been especially popular in the last ten years since the Association of Agrotourism Konavle organized the event "Scents of Christmas in Konavle". During the event, zelena menestra is offered in all Konavle agrotourisms as a gastronomic specialty. Homemade prosciutto, bacon, dried pork head, sausages, dried lamb, are the basis of green menestra. Three types of cabbage and potatoes are cooked in water in which the meat has been cooked before. Serve warm stacked dried meat and sausages on a platter, and cabbage in a deep bowl with a little liquid. A glass of homemade red wine is a great epilogue to a menu meal. This dish should soon be on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage.
Dubrovnik Malvasia, a premium wine with a pronounced varietal aroma
Malvasia dubrovačka is a rare grape variety that has a long tradition in our area, and it is assumed that it has been grown in Konavle since the time of the Greek colonization of the Mediterranean. Under the names: malvasia di Lipari, malvasia di Sardegna and malvasia di Sitges are grown in several isolated Mediterranean areas of Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearics and the Canary Islands. Due to its extreme sensitivity, it was almost extinct in Konavle. In the seventies of the last century, it was preserved from oblivion and additionally revitalized and popularized in the last fifteen years. The oenological potential of this variety is extremely high - it gives very strong and full wines, at the same time very fresh accentuated varietal aromas. It is precisely the intensity of the aroma and the satisfactory acidity that distinguishes Dubrovnik Malvasia from other southern varieties. Due to the loose grapes and firm, fleshy skin, it is very suitable for drying and production of dessert wines, by various methods and procedures.
Mantala, a traditional sweet that you will not find in stores
Mantala is a traditional Konavle dessert that has been prepared in Konavle houses since ancient times. It is a characteristic black color, decorated with orange leaves. It was prepared in the fall during the grape harvest and left for Christmas and other holidays because it can stand longer without special storage conditions. The preparation of mantala is a process that begins with the selection of the best bunches of grapes from which the must is obtained, all the way to the finishing, cooking and cooling, and drying of the dessert itself. Seven kilos of grapes are needed to make only one liter of precious syrup - varenik. According to the traditional recipe, coarsely ground home-made wheat flour, nuts, most often almonds, orange and lemon peel, and spices are added to it: cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The thick resulting mixture is then cooled and dried. It is best served with a good homemade liqueur.
Konavle cheese from oil, a spicy delicacy of mountain pastures
Konavle cheese is made from mixed cow's, sheep's and goat's milk, while in the past it was made only from sheep's milk obtained mainly from Dubrovnik Ruda, which is today an endangered breed of sheep. This quality cheese processed from whole milk is 10-12 cm in diameter, 3-4 cm high and weighs 160-340 g. It is produced in three variants: young cheese, dried cheese and cheese from oil, which is the most valued. Cheese from oil is obtained by placing dried cheese in earthen or glass containers and pouring olive oil over it, which keeps it from spoiling. It can stand in oil for up to half a year, and the longer it stays, the more spicy it becomes. Putting cheese in oil is an old recipe created out of necessity, not out of gourmet playfulness, but cheese from oil should definitely be included in the greatest Konavle delicacies. Nevertheless, it is not commercialized and you can only find it if you visit some of the local agrotourisms. It is kept for special occasions and special guests.
Bobica with olive oil, Konavle farmer's dish
Bobica is an extremely healthy vegetable originating from the Mediterranean, which was an indispensable food in Konavle's traditional cuisine. Only 100 g of the bean satisfies all the body's daily needs for fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. The bean is a nutritious, yet dietary food that until the introduction of potatoes and beans was the basis of the diet of farmers large families. In Konavle, the bean is prepared as lentils, a thick soup that can be a stand-alone dish. Before preparing the beans, it is necessary to soak it and cook it until it softens. When serving, it is obligatory to add homemade olive oil.
Roasted under the bell, the taste of young goat that melts in your mouth
This is the most luxurious dish that was traditionally prepared and served in Konavle for festive occasions. Traditional roasting is prepared on the hearth, and the meat is covered with a metal honeycomb and covered with embers, with all the aroma and sweetness are preserved. Baking under a bell with young potatoes is a delicacy that should not be missed. The young kid (goat) tastes like a mountain aromatic herb that melts in your mouth. During baking, it is additionally enriched with the aroma of rosemary and laurel sprigs. The process of preparing the embers and raosting takes about four hours and all agrotourisms and restaurants require prior notice.
Wild asparagus with eggs, a spring dish
In Konavle, only wild asparagus is prepared, which is harvested in olive groves and surrounding bushes in April and May. Asparagus has been used for food since Roman times. This wild, low-calorie food has a beneficial effect on the liver and kidneys, which is why it is additionally appreciated. The bitter taste of asparagus goes perfectly with the full taste of eggs, which is why in Konavle asparagus is traditionally prepared boiled and served with hard-boiled eggs richly seasoned with homemade olive oil and wine vinegar. In recent times, and under the influence of other cuisines, they are prepared on scrambled eggs or various sauces for pasta and risottos are made with them.
Potatoes, the queen of the Konavle table
Krtola, as the people of Konavle call potatoes, are one of the most common foods in the local cuisine and there are almost no days when they are not served on the table in various variants. Thus, the potato is most often prepared "whole", boiled with dried meat. It is unavoidable with cooked vegetables, kale, chard, beans, beans, courgettes ... chopped with onions or baked under the stove. Modern variants of potato dishes and side dishes are also prepared. For gourmands, it is a special experience to prepare a baked potato in a crust in hot ashes and topped with homemade olive oil and garlic. Despite today's representation, the potato is a newer food that came to Europe from America, but the people of Konavle did not want to grow it, believing that the bulb was unacceptable, until the beginning of the 19th century, during Napoleon, a decree was issued that this plant must be grown. Since then, this cheap and affordable food has become the queen of the Konavle table.
Lešada, simple, high quality and healthy
This simple and healthy dish in Konavle is one of the few classic dishes that are often prepared and which is a must-try. Especially if the meat is from domestic breeds, bushe cattle or sheep ore, which graze on the surrounding pastures. The basis of preparation is cooking meat in water with the addition of salt and, often, minimal use of spices. This is why it is an ideal meal for hot summer days, especially if grease is removed from the surface during cooking. Onions, potatoes, tomatoes and carrots are most often added as an addition during the preparation of the meat. The meat needs to be cooked for a long time in order to achieve the optimal effect. After cooking, the meat should be soft and the muscle fibers slightly separated. Cooking yields a delicious soup that is served before meat and side dishes.
Zavajun, a rustic energy drink
Zavajun is a drink made from egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine, prošek. The best zavajun is made from home-made eggs, and the preparation takes a few minutes. Beat the egg yolk and sugar with a spoon until the mixture fades, or until the sugar melts. Then a little prošek is added to the mixture and served. Records of zavajun date back to the 16th century, and it is believed that it was brought to our area by the Venetians. It was mainly given to children, the sick and mothers to restore strength and extra energy. Coffee, milk or rum can be added instead of prošek, but no matter how the zavajn is made, it is always an excellent energy drink.