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culinary tourism, Albania

Specialties from North to South

June 26, 2020
Food & Wine

Albania is still not fully discovered by international tourists. Besides the high season between July and September, which mainly takes part in the Albanian coast, the country is not overcrowded yet. Even though the Albanians maintained their culinary tradition over the last decades, the country is not popular for their food, or for being a culinary tourism destination. Considering that about 55% of the Albanian people work in agriculture, it is a pity that Albanian cuisine is not internationally known so far.

Traditions and Organic Produce

As there are regional disparities in the natural environment, it is not surprising that there are huge differences in the cuisine within the regions of the country as well. This variety of traditional dishes and regional products is one thing that makes the food very special in Albania. Additionally, the country’s history shaped the cuisine too. The roots of the Albanian dishes can be traced back to the ottoman empire. In combination with modern influences from neighboring countries like Italy, Turkey, and Greece the cuisine is diverse as well as distinctive and described as Oriental-Mediterranean. Differences in the landscape and different climate zones play a major role when it comes to the dishes of the regions.

Variety Between Regions

The north is well known for its good climate to grow any kind of vegetables and fruits. The south, on the other hand, has the majority of cattle farms, which means dairy products are often used in their dishes. The climate in the South is much warmer than in the North, so citrus fruits and olives are cultivated there. Another region is Berat, which is well-known for its fig plantations and jam production. Meanwhile, on the coast, with a lot of seafood and fish, they have their culinary specialties as well.

Not to forget that Albania has a giant production of local wines. Several vineyards decorate the country hills. Many wineries and eco farms are selling wine tasting tours, which are enjoyed in high demand.

This variety of dishes and products shows a huge opportunity for Albania to grow as a culinary tourism destination. Albania is a small country, so it’s easy to travel to all the different areas and exploring the food differences without spending too much time on the road. Even though there are differences, all the regions have an important fact in common. Most of the products used for dishes are from local farmers. A large proportion of the farmers still cultivate naturally, which means a major part of the products are not just local and seasonal, they are also organic. As awareness grows in our society, this is an extra plus for the Albanian cuisine.

During the last years, some agricultural farms have become very famous for tourists. Besides the trend of ecotourism and agrotourism, movements like Farm-to-table and the Slow Food Movement got bigger in Albania as well.
So go for it and try the outstanding taste from the North to the South of Albania!

Written by: Nina Saggese, Intern at Elite Travel Group
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