Albania – places and edible spaces

Albania is a beautiful country. Last August I flew to Tirana, travelled on to Shkodra and then continued up the into the Albanian Alps to Kelmend province, spending a week staying in Lepusche.

My interest was in the food of the region and looking for edible spaces in the cities we visited. In Shkodra we arrived in a heatwave, and it was too hot to really get out and appreciate the place. However, at one of the restaurants visited there was an urban farm attached and we spoke to a lady who said she used locally grown food at her hostel. Alas, there was no time on this visit to follow up on these discoveries. The local speciality in Shkodra is carp, and that is what I ate (for the first time) at Tradita Geg & Tosk. Carp is a meaty fish, and it came grilled and accompanied with grilled vegetables.

In Kelmend province the cheese is famous. Mishavin cheese is part of the Slow Food movement Ark of Taste, and you can find a short radio segment describing it here. The area was also rich in local honey and blueberries. The traditional alcoholic drink is Raki which is made from a variety of fruit including grape although plum was the version we came across most often. The area is also famous for trout which was delicious.

I will go back to Albania as I want to spend more time discovering the edible spaces and the local cuisine.

I travelled to Albania as part of the Leeds Beckett Volunteering scheme and the Balkan Peace Park Project.


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