CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 3…Albania, The Land of the Eagles…

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…I have Chel to thank for giving me some ideas from which this one took shape…Thank you Chel x

Albania is located in southeastern Europe. Albania is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west, Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of North Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south.

The eagle is the national and ethnic symbol of the Albanians, considered an animal totem associated with freedom and heroism in their folklore. It has been used as a national symbol since their earliest records and was a common heraldic symbol for many Albanian dynasties in the Late Middle Ages.

Cuisine wise Albania is divided into three main regions…The Northern region is mostly mountainous… The Central Region is rural and mountainous plus coastal…The South is both rural and coastal.

The Northern Region…

Meat, fish and vegetables are central to the cuisine of the northern region. The people there use many kinds of ingredients, which usually grow in the region including potatoes, carrots, maizes, beans, cabbages but also cherries, walnuts and almonds… the main staple here is ground corn…Traditional dishes in the north include meat and vegetable casseroles, pasta, chicken, rice, sudjuk (similar to salami), and Petula (fried dough made sweet or savoury).  Fish dishes are very popular as there are many rivers and lakes in this area.

The Central Region…

Central Albania has the kind of soil that can grow just about anything.  Poultry features heavily in dishes here – duck, goose, chicken, and turkey are all raised here.  Fishermen catch flounder, perch, grey mullet, and sole in the Adriatic Sea. You’ll find eggs, spinach, cabbage cakes, nettle cakes, liver, and curd.

Tavë Kosi the national dish of Albania made by baking lamb and rice in yoghurt is something to try if you visit Albania…Almost all meat dishes are served with bread or rice and some greens.

The carp dish Tava e Krapit is especially popular…in both the central region and the south…Carp is not a fish I have eaten but it is very popular in the Baltic regions…Carp are what my hubby calls bottom feeders which means they forage for food at the bottom of rivers and lakes hence their strong fishy flavour but prepared correctly that fishy flavour can be minimised.

The Southern Region…

Most of the cattle are raised in the southern region of Albania, which means that dairy products often take centre stage in dishes.  It’s well known for fantastic hard and soft cheeses, as well as kefir so thick that you could cut it with a knife. The climate is warmer here and so you’ll find citrus and olive groves throughout the area…popular dishes are roasts, biftek (beef loin), qebaps (kabobs), and qoftë (meatballs). Fergësë Tirana, a hot dish of meat, peppers, eggs, and tomatoes, In southern Albania, kukurec (sheep intestines broiled on a spit) is a common entree.

Another speciality is “Pace” or boiled animal head of either a pig, cow or sheep…that is then made into a stew with onion, garlic and spices…

This video although not in English is easy to follow and uses a sheep head…

A popular dessert throughout Albania is a pudding made from figs and sheep’s milk..called “Oshaf”

The traditional Albanian drink is raki, a local brandy distilled from twice distilled grapes that is often drunk before a meal…Rakia is deeply connected to the Albanian tradition and as such, it is produced everywhere in Albania and Kosovo, sometimes professionally and sometimes in an artisanal way.

Other regions worth noting are the Berat region where you’ll find the Balkans largest fig plantations.  Myzeqe produces turkey and Albanians say the turkey and mash (a kind of stew) is the best here.  Plus along the Albanian Riviera, you’ll find fantastic seafood options all freshly caught daily year-round.

I hope you are enjoying the series as much as I am and I have definitely got to have a go at making some of these dishes…maybe the “pace” as pigs heads are freely available here on my local market…

That’s it for today …I look forward to your comments…tomorrow it’s time for another edition of Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen hope to see you there…Have a good week…x


40 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 3…Albania, The Land of the Eagles…

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Yes, I am going to have to try the Tavë Kosi and love pigs cheeks but would use the head to make the pave just not the eyeballs a step too far…Thankyou for popping in and leaving a valued comment 🙂


    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Sally… yes it is amazing the differences in cultures regarding food with many westernised countries as you say far more faddy about offal and other animal parts.. Yes eyes as a side dish is too far even for me.. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Hi Robbie…I think the Tavë Kosi sounds interesting too…we get pigs heads here as well Robbie plus all the other bits but I believe that is the same in most Asian cuisines…nose to tail eating…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        I have always known that expression it must have come from my mum or grandmother.. Strange what expressions we learn sometimes… It certainly applies here and in many other countries still… I hope you are having a great week, Robbie 🤗x


    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I have grown up with my mother cooking all of an animal so it doesn’t bother me but I understand if you haven’t and your reticence, Marian 🙂


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  4. beetleypete

    I have never been to Albania, and despite a large Albanian community in London, I never came across an Albanian restaurant. I did eat sheep’s head in a Greek restaurant once, but declined the eyes, which were considered to be a delicacy. (But not by me…)
    Best wishes, Pete. x

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  5. Prior...

    I have never tried Carp and seem to rember it being used as bait ? Or is that mullet? Also – Pace seems so culture specific and not sure I could cook it….
    good post Carol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Yvette…I could cook it not much freaks me out…lol…Carp can be used as bait as can Mullet also mackerel..a fish to catch a fish and normally a bigger fish…my hubby loves fishing 🙂

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