Brkulja wheat from Knezevo

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Brkulja wheat

Brkulja wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) stands as one of the oldest original varieties in the Knezevo region of Bosnia Herzegovina, tracing its roots back to the 1960s. During the era of hybridization, where new hybrid varieties surged in popularity, Brkulja wheat faced a decline, surviving only in extensive agricultural areas like the mountainous terrains of the Kneževo/Milan Knezina region. This ancient wheat variety boasts distinctive physical and sensory characteristics: medium-sized kernels with a variable weight, slightly heavier than modern wheat due to its denser composition and reddish hue. Its texture is denser and coarser compared to hybrids, yielding a robust, slightly chewy consistency when ground into flour. Brkulja wheat often emits a nutty or earthy aroma, characteristic of ancient wheat varieties. Once milled, Brkulja whole grain flour exhibits a greyish hue, distinct from commercial flours, with a nutty aroma reminiscent of its natural scent. Bread made from Brkulja flour remains intensely dark, soft, and fragrant for days.

Beyond its agrarian significance, Brkulja wheat holds profound cultural and historical importance within the Milan Knežina region, deeply ingrained in local traditions and identity. Originating from Montenegro, most of today’s Kneževo/Milan Knežina populace carries this heritage. Brkulja wheat has also found preservation in two northern Montenegrin locations: Bijelo Polje and Berane. Historical records suggest its cultivation in the Vlašić region for centuries, where it became integral to local communities’ sustenance. Used in traditional dishes like cicvara, Brkulja wheat epitomizes cultural heritage and agricultural practices, connecting generations to their culinary roots and fostering pride in their heritage grains. Celebrated for its culinary versatility, nutritional richness, and role in preserving the Vlašić region’s agricultural legacy, Brkulja wheat stands as an emblem of local tradition and cultural heritage.

However, despite its significance, Brkulja wheat faces numerous challenges. Limited production, low yields, evolving agricultural practices, consumer unawareness of its quality, and climate change jeopardize its existence. Primarily cultivated for household consumption, Brkulja wheat is now maintained solely by the Bajic family’s entrepreneurship, driven by a commitment to preserve cultural heritage and uphold familial traditions. Consequently, its limited availability in markets contributes to its obscurity and vulnerable market presence.

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Cereals and flours

Nominated by:Duska Delic CEO of Familyholding Bajic