Ukljeve is a small bleak found only in Lake Skadar, Montenegro – one of 7 endemic fish species in the lake. This tasty little fish is just one of the many treats you will find at Virpazar’s annual Ukljeve i Vina festival, held in February this year. I’d heard Virpazar was a sleepy little lakeside town – pretty, but not much to do. So I was surprised when we arrived to find an endless line of cars, ear blasting folk music, and more people in one place than I’d seen since arriving in this country so far.
Of course you must try the ukljeve here at the festival, as well as the wine - Vranac is Montenegro’s best and most plentiful variety. Carp is another local specialty, smoked or marinated. The ukljeve will be served up mostly fried during the festivities, although if you want a break from the crowded town square and something to settle your stomach before heading out for more rakija (brandy) sampling I highly suggest stopping in restaurant Badanj where the bleak is prepared as an excellent cold salad, marinated in oil and herbs. Also delicious at Badanj is the fish soup, traditionally prepared with carp and eel from the lake just outside your window.
The Virpazar festival is a showcase for Lake Skadar’s regional specialties and validation that Montenegro’s national cuisine is more than just meat and potatoes.
Virpazar, Skadarsko jezero
(069) 508 019