The diversity of natural resources and the richness of the cultural heritage of Herzegovina are especially enriched by the hospitality and cordiality of the local people who, in accordance with tradition, welcome guests with a rich table of healthy and natural food. The people of Herzegovina are good and attentive hosts. As a sign of welcome, according to the old custom, they open the door or gate wide. Old houses were mostly built of stone, and in the middle of the kitchen there was a hearth above which chains hung. Some houses had another, slightly higher hearth where bread was baked. Meat was also being dried above the hearth. In the old days, families ate at a low table, sitting on tripods or on tables with carved semicircular backs. What makes this region truly recognizable is the traditional cuisine, which matches the climatic characteristics of the area and takes what nature has to offer. All this is confirmed by the vast areas covered with lush pastures, diverse medicinal flora, numerous lakes, forests, rivers and springs, which is proof of a healthy environment. Livestock are also grazed in such an environment, whose milk and meat are later used to make famous specialties. Today’s time is characterized by enormous pollution of food, water and air, so healthy food is very important for human health and life expectancy. The production of meat, milk, cream and cheese in these areas is based on the feeding of livestock with natural food (without the use of mineral fertilizers), mostly produced on one’s own property. The production of agricultural and vegetable crops is carried out under natural conditions, spring water is used for irrigation, and fertilization is carried out exclusively with manure.
The most represented dairy products are:
Kajmak – it is made by putting the salivated calyces of kajmak in vats, salting them in turn and storing them in wooden vats until they ripen. The cream in the mixture is called old, and the young is salivated from the calyx.
Cheeses: Torotan – made from milk from the cups from which the cream has been collected; Whole cheese – made from non-skimmed milk, when the milk has settled, the cream is removed; Young cheese – rennet is poured into fresh, strained milk.
Flour and grain dishes:
Bread is most often made from wheat and corn flour (a special specialty is bread baked on a stone slab and under a stove).
Pies occupy an important place in traditional cuisine, and what is important to note about them is that the pie crusts are made in a homemade way thanks to the skilled hands of local housewives. Cheese pies (made from homemade cheese and eggs), greens (spinach, swiss chard, often made from herbs harvested from the pasture) and potato pie are most often found on the tables.
Cicvara with honey – a favorite specialty of the residents of this area. Cicvara is prepared from wheat flour and seasoned with cheese, cream, butter or oil.
Pura (kačamak) – is prepared from corn flour by pouring flour into hot water, and when it boils, salt is added and the excess water is poured off, then it is mixed with a pestle (wooden spoon), cheese and butter are added, and it can be eaten with with the addition of cream or sour milk.
Uštipci or priganice – they are made from wheat flour and fried in oil in a pan, served warm with cheese, young cream, jam or jam.
Prijesnac – wheat or corn flour is mixed with milk, cream, cheese, eggs are added and it is baked.
Lojanica – a soup to which lard is added, and zeljanica is a soup with various greens: nettle, Swiss chard, spinach.
Potatoes – prepared in various ways: boiled or baked in the oven, eaten with cheese and cream. It is a special treat when topped with cream and baked in the oven or under the stove.
The traditional preparation of dry meat for long cold winters has been preserved from oblivion and is still prepared according to the methodology used since ancient times. Prosciutto is made from pork, and dried beef, dried mutton and sausage are also indispensable on the table.
Dishes with meat:
Lamb meat under the sach and on the spit. Sač is a large metal lid in the shape of a shallow bell, which is used to cover the dough for bread or meat for roasting, and on which ashes and embers are then poured. Restaurants all over Herzegovina have kept this traditional way of baking under the stove. The meat prepared in this way remains juicy, and the potatoes are enriched with the taste of the meat.
Roast kid and boiled kid
Peasant stew with meat – cooked with lamb, along with homemade pasta, potatoes and cream.
Peasant stew without meat.
Stinging nettle soup – a prized dish for its healing properties.
Fish – trout (water trout) is a widely known Herzegovinian specialty.
Mushrooms – freshly picked from pastures, are a favorite delicacy among the population and in local restaurants. There are different ways to prepare it: grilled, with cream, in broth. Most often, they are boletus, champignons.