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The Central regions

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A variety of wild animal species flourish here. From waterfowl and poultry species to mammals such as wild boar, this rich diversity augments local cuisine. Particularly in the Divjaka Forest, on the Adriatic coast, many game species are hunted and incorporated into popular dishes. Fishing, too, represents an important economic activity and enhances cuisine through the use of these “fruits of the sea.” Sole, bass, eel, and mullet are all popular. The land and climate here support a wide variety of agricultural products, as well. Berries and fruits, in particular, are delicious. Grapes, as previously mentioned, serve as the basis for raki production. Popular dishes of this region include plum casserole, Elbasani yogurt, Tirana stew, baked phyllo pie, and baked rice. Ballokume is a special crumpet-like dessert, and is characteristic of Elbasan. It is masterfully prepared by local homemakers - primarily for the celebration of Summer Day on March 14th. The pastry traditionally combines flour, butter, egg, and sugar to create this scrumptious dessert. The Berat region is home to some of the largest fig plantations in the Balkans. Often, the figs are prepared as preserves or jam. The figs are renowned for their exceptional quality and are sometimes strung together or ground, formed into shapes, and dried. The area of Myzeqe is noted for turkey production and a particular dish called turkey with mash. This dish is available throughout the country, but locals say it is most delicious in this area. What follows is a description of this local delicacy: Clean the turkey. Rub the outside with salt and butter. Bake in a small amount of water and reserve some of this to use in the mash. Crumble the dough (prepared beforehand using maize flour, water, salt and some oil) or the maize bread, and leave it in a pot. Lightly fry a leek or onion, pour the turkey juice and some water and let it come to a boil. Add the crumbled bread and stir until it thickens. Serve the turkey with the mash.

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