Gastronomy of Albania

The cuisine of Albania is uniquely influenced by Turkish, Greek, Syrian and Italian cuisines. Albanian gastronomy is known for its high nutritional values and delicious taste. Albanians enjoy a variety of appetizers, soups, casseroles, stews, pilaf, pies and desserts. The main meal of the Albanians is lunch which usually consists of the main dish of slowly cooked /usually lamb or beef/ meat, and a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomato, cucumbers, green peppers, olives and feta or cottage cheese. The salad is dressed with olive oil, vinegar and salt. Seafood specialties and fish dishes are common in the coastal areas of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas or Albanian cities by lakes /Durres, Vlora, Shkoder, Pogradec and Sarande/.

Among the non-alcoholic drinks in Albania, it is “boze” /a refreshing drink made of corn/, which is produced in the north of Albania, especially in Kukes, and also “rehani” /a drink made from grape juice/, which is the typical drink of central Albania. Skenderbeu is the famous Albanian cognac brandy of a great taste.

Baked Lamb and Yogurt (Tavë Kosi)  /for 4 persons/

1-1/2 lbs lamb
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
2 tablespoons rice
Salt, pepper

For Yogurt sauce:
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
2 lbs. yogurt
5 eggs
Salt, pepper

Cut meat in 4 serving pieces, sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper, and bake in a moderately-heated oven with half the butter, sprinkling the meat with its gravy now and then. When meat is half-baked, add rice; remove the baking pan from the oven and leave it aside while you prepare the yogurt sauce: saute flour in butter until mixed thoroughly. Mix yogurt with salt, pepper and eggs until a uniform mixture is obtained, and finally stir in the flour. Put the sauce mixture in the baking pan; stir it with the meat pieces and bake at 220 degrees C for about 45 minutes. Serve Tave Kosi hot. Tavë Kosi is one of the most popular and favorite traditional dishes in Albania.