Albanian cuisine, what a passion! The traditional Albanian dishes
Albanian cuisine, as I have already had occasion to tell when I talked about my favorite restaurants in Tirana, The food is strongly influenced by the peoples that over the centuries have invaded and dominated the nation. Similarities with Greek, Turkish and Italian Mediterranean cuisine abound; beef and lamb, dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt and seasonal products of the earth such as fruit and vegetables, are the main basis of traditional Albanian dishes. In the seaside and lake resorts, fish is added, an essential element especially in those areas where fishing is the main source of work for the population. The main patrimony of Albanian cuisine is given by the raw materials which, even today, are of high quality and naturally organic. What is most noticed by tourists is the intense flavor of the fruit and vegetables that reminds those of the past, and it is indeed so, not everywhere, but in the most rural locations, where agriculture and livestock are the primary means of sustenance, you will be able to find flavors that progress and globalization have taken away from us.
To make you understand the intensity of these flavors, in Orikum is a seaside town that lives exclusively on what the area provides, therefore fruit and vegetable cultivation, cattle breeding and a lot of fishing. The hotel where we spent the night served us an amazing champion breakfast: scrambled eggs with cheese and fresh tomatoes, fresh milk, organic honey, homemade jam, bread, butter. It took several days and a lot of insistence before you will get used to the intensity of the local food!
Among the many itineraries that can be done in Albania, the one of taste is one of the most stimulating and full of exciting emotions for the palate. Each area has its specialties to offer; ancient dishes that are handed down from generation to generation, whose memory is kept with fervor and enthusiasm.
But in modern Albanian cuisine, there is no shortage of experiments and innovations, there are in fact several restaurants, including high-level ones that try their hand at revisiting traditional dishes. Which greet you in a warm and welcoming environment, allows you to explore Albanian food in a modern and refined guise.
Then there are cities and areas particularly well known and appreciated for their cuisine, such as Permet and its district located in the southern hinterland of the country. An area very rich in natural beauty and culinary masterpieces; one of these, famous for having been included among the Slow Food Presidia, is Permet’s Gliko , a special fruit compote prepared according to an accurate and precise procedure that gives it the uniqueness that distinguishes it.
Korça is another city of Albania famous for good food, for the authenticity of its products and for the abundance of its portions. In fact, it is here that I tasted for the first time, falling in love instantly, the peppers stuffed with cheese, speca me gjize and the kernacke, very tasty sausage-shaped beef or pork meatballs.
In the north instead, near Shkoder, the carp of the homonymous lake is the main course. Cooked in the oven, stewed or grilled, you can enjoy it in one of the many restaurants that overlook the lake.
Travel and holidays in Albania full of taste, all the dishes you need to taste
The tasty sufflaqi, the excellent grilled meat or the delicious byrek, because I assume that you will taste them. The dishes you really don’t want to miss are these:
Salce kosi: a cream based on solid yogurt (kos) and olive oil, sometimes flavored with grated cucumber or garlic, is considered to be an accompaniment for meat and vegetables.
Ne tavë: more than a dish, it is a way of preparing different dishes usually based on beef, veal or lamb cooked precisely in tavë, that is, single-portion terracotta bowls. The addition of vegetables, yogurt, ricotta or spices and flavorings diversifies the flavors. Here are some tavë very different from each other, but always of meat.
Kukurec: this is one of the oldest and poorest specialties. It is a long skewer cooked on the grill made of layers of lamb entrails wrapped in the intestine of the animal. I attended the preparation of kukurec in Orikum, a real art, I also tasted it despite not being the kind of food I prefer, it was very tasty and particular, to try at least once!
Petulla or petë të fhsira: a sort of layered crepes cake topped with cheese, chicken and vegetables. Tender and tasty, it is ideal as an appetizer and is a typical Korça dish.
Shrimp saganaki: it is a typical dish of Greek cuisine that you can find especially in southern Albania, in Ksamil and Saranda. It is usually served in a terracotta bowl and consists of a preparation of prawns with tomato and white cheese. Some prepare it in layers with fresh tomatoes and thin slices of cheese, others use diced cheese and tomato pulp, little changes, the result is always excellent!
Trilece: going to desserts this is my absolute favorite! It is a milk-based dessert, three different types of milk, to be precise, that is, milk, cream and condensed milk which imbue a soft and fluffy sponge cake which is then covered with a generous layer of caramel
Baklava: a clear example of Turkish influence is given by this dessert which you can find anywhere in Albania. With a very sweet taste and made from thin layers of phyllo dough, completely impregnated with sugar syrup and embellished with walnuts or pistachios.
Hasude: the dessert that perhaps most represents the Albanian tradition, simple and made with genuine and poor ingredients such as sugar, butter, cornstarch, dried fruit and egg brushed on top. It is served especially during the festive meals, dusted with cinnamon, and is a symbol of tradition that represents belonging and conviviality.