Indigenous herbs have been used for centuries in the gastronomic tradition of the Bay of Kotor, and although it has no distinctive specialities of its own, it is precisely these wild plants that givedishes fromtheBayof Kotor their speci city. Suchdishes, inwhich the localsusegrasses inabundanceasthemainingredient,or justaddcertainkindsofmedicinal herbsfortaste,areindigenousandbelongtothegastronomicculturalheritageofMontenegro. Steamed,boiledorservedrawinsalads,onlyoccasionallydried, theseherbsarealwaysdrenchedwithlocaloliveoil.Andwhenpreparedcheaply, servedwithaglass of localwine, theyprovidedeverythingthatwasneededbythefarmersofthebay. Among the edible grasses of the Bay of Kotor, the humble chicory, a form of dandelion, is the uncrowned empress, a veritable holy grass provider. Her ower is rich in colour and beauty, and there are many legends of the emergenceofthisblue oweringbeauty,oneofthemostbeautifulofwhichemerged on the shores of theMediterranean. A blue-eyed beauty loved a young sailor greatly. They bequeathed themselves to one another, with their wedding announced for the coming spring – as soon as the sailor returned from another voyage. He had to earn money foraringandawedding!Thegirl joyouslycountedthedaysandmonthsawaitingthereturnofherdearest.Ayearpassed,hersmilefroze,andtearsincreasingly splashedonherface.Asecondyearpassed,thenathird... Theblueness of her tear- lledeyes, tears, love, distress and the pain for her lover, who has been covered by waves, somehow far away, in the in nite blue – everything owed into the land, from which sprouted a grass with the most beautiful blue ower in the world. Chicory! Her gentle petals blossomwith sunrise and turn everything around them blue, like the hope of a girl waiting on the seashore. Then, with sunset, the petals close, grieving until a new spark of dawn and a newexhale – and perhaps Our Lady will return him tome. Chicorydandelionsarecharacteristicofanimpoverishedtable,yearsofstarvationandwar,butalsoaspecialityofspreadsforfeasts,whenthepeoplecoulda ordmeat or sh. It ispresent throughout theMediterranean region, though it isn’t usedeverywhereas an edible ingredient in the same way. It can even be con rmed that it has always been considered a nutritional staple and is today a speciality in the Bay of Kotor, Istria, some Dalmatian islands and Southern Italy, while in other areas it has only occasionally beenmentioned as an edible plant. The people of the Bay of Kotor are indebted to this edible grass. The debt is huge. Like the burden of history. Chicorywas on the tablewhen thunder struck, when the sh ed to thekingdomof the seabed,when itwasn’t possible to leaveone’s ownyard,when tributes and banks were paid, when children cried waiting for a handful of mouldy our to cook incopper pots,whendiseasesdecimated thepeopleandcattle,when the streamsbled. Chicory dandelions have always been on the table and have never been paid for... nor prayed for. When thunder struck, when tributes and banks were paid, when diseases decimated people and cattle, when the streams bled, it was always there NICA