Wild Wonders of Europe – Durmitor NP and Tara Canyon Mission, Montenenegro, 2008 october
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Northern Region

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It is the region of high mountains, with predominantly continental climate. This region is covered with dense forests of beech and conifers (mainly spruce and fir), with upland meadows and pastures on higher elevations. Those mountain and alpine habitats are rich in biodiversity and natural resources.

Although there are 13 towns in the region, it is rather scarcely populated. Most of the population lives in rural areas, in villages scattered across the mountainous terrain, and in recent years, there is a marked migration towards urban areas. Population still lives off traditional agricultural practices – small-scale subsistence agriculture is still exercised. Local population grows corn, vegetables and continental fruits. They also keep small herds of cows and sheep, and they are kept in a traditional pastoral manner. In the summers, the cattle is taken to upland pastures, to places called katuni, where herders spend summers looking after the animals that are grazing freely.  Life in katun is simple – daily activities revolve around animal husbandry. Sheep and cows are taken to the pastures for a day. Upon return, they are milked, and milk is immediately processed into curd or cheese, that is maturing over the summer. Diet is simple but hearty – dairy products, cured meats, oven-baked bread and kacamak are a typical foods eaten here.

Foraging for wild fruits, herbs and mushrooms is also exercised, and presents an important part of local population activities and source of additional income. Wild forest fruits, particularly blueberries of which there is an abundance, are particularly prized. Local population uses them to make preserves, jams and cordials that are consumer over the winter months, when they provide not only a pleasure to the palate, but nutrition that boosts immune system.

Typical food products for this region of Montenegro consist of dairy and meat products, cooked and processed vegetables and fruits, including preserves, juices and brandies. In some parts of this region, there is an oriental feel to the food, due to the influence of strong Islamic culture and traditions.