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Top 5 National Dishes of Albania

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Photo: Top 5 dishes of traditional Albanian cuisine that you should try
Photo: Top 5 dishes of traditional Albanian cuisine that you should try

Albania is one of the few traditional Muslim countries in Europe that just a few decades ago was inaccessible to external travelers. Today, with tourism actively developing in the country, the numerous natural and cultural treasures of Albania have become open for exploration.

The majority of Albania's territory consists of stunning mountain ranges that captivate from the first glance. The coastlines of two seas - the Adriatic and the Ionian - which wash the country, have also become favorites among vacationers.

Albania is full of secrets, cultural and historical landmarks, and fantastic landscapes. But to fully understand and experience this country, of course, you should taste the best dishes of Albanian cuisine.

Flija

Photo: Flija, Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Flija is an Albanian pie that consists of two basic layers. The first layer is made from a mixture of classic dough - flour, water, salt, and eggs. For the second layer, a mixture of oil, heavy cream, yogurt, or clotted cream is used. Despite the numerous variations of this recipe, the ingredients always remain simple, unlike the quite complex cooking process. Each layer of the pie is gradually poured into a triangular shape and then baked separately, covering it with a special dome previously heated over an open fire. After one layer of the mixture is baked, the next layer is applied, and the process is repeated.

Qofte fërguara

Photo: Qofte fërguara, Source: https://ling-app.com

Qofte fërguara is a popular traditional Albanian meat dish, with a special ingredient being mint. To prepare the meatballs, ground beef or chicken is mixed with feta cheese, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, and also mint leaves. The mixture is then thoroughly mixed, adding spices, and forming small balls or sausages, which are fried in a pan. The dish is served hot, along with warm potatoes or rice, or fried vegetables, accompanied by a cream sauce.

Fërgesa

Photo: Fërgesa, Source: https://albanianpost.com

Fërgesa is one of Albania's national dishes, which has its own adaptation in each region of the country. The base of the recipe always includes vegetables - peppers, tomatoes, onions, and also cheese and spices. The mixture is baked to a thick gravy consistency in a clay pot. However, among the variations, besides "Fergesë e Tiranës me piperka" - with peppers, "Fergese me melçi" is also widespread, where liver is added to the vegetable mixture.

Tarator

Photo: Tarator, Source: https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com

Tarator is an Albanian appetizer, which is also eaten as a refreshing standalone dish. The cold soup is only served in the summer, and it is believed that it should be consumed before all meat dishes. The soup itself is quite easy to prepare. It consists of Greek yogurt, cold water, chopped cucumber, and salt. Optionally, herbs or ground walnuts can be added, giving the dish unique spicy notes. The taste of the soup is often compared to the traditional Albanian drink "dhalle."

Tavë kosi

Photo: Tavë kosi, Source: https://www.casapappagallo.it

Tavë kosi is a casserole made from lamb, rice, coconut seasoning, and Albanian kefir made from goat or sheep milk. The recipe for this dish dates back to the 15th century in the city of Elbasan. Later, Tavë kosi became so popular that it spread to Kosovo and even Turkey, where it is better known as "Elbasan tavë" and includes a béchamel sauce in the recipe. In Albania, sometimes instead of goat milk, yogurt and eggs sauce are added, and also chicken meat replaces lamb.

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