Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Adventures In Food: Albania

In six days in Albania, I ate one stuffed eggplant.
That's what this post looks like anyway.
But the truth is that in six days in Albania, I was unprepared. It is really hard to find out what Albania is like until you go there. (Good example: there is no organised public transport, so you kind of just have to hope you can get to the place you want and ask around in the place you want to leave). I'm sure not many people have ever been to an Albanian restaurant, or know what they would serve in one. That's kind of what happened to me. It was only after spending a few days there that I became aware of common dishes and ingredients that make up Albanian food.
Also, we ate a lot of pizza and pasta. More on that in a minute.
Also, I am vegetarian, so much of the traditional food in much of the world is out for me.
Also, we had a few nights of homestays. As I have mentioned before, I don't tend to take photos of what I'm eating in those kinds of experiences (partly because there's not usually wifi and my phone is lying forgotten in my bag).
All these things have led to me posting one picture of an eggplant stuffed with veggies in a tomato sauce and sprinkled with parmesan. Albanian food!
Ok so the parmesan, pizza and pasta mentioned above are because Albania and Italy seem to be connected. Much more so than Albania and any other country- excuse my historical ignorance for why this is so. But it does mean than pizza and pasta can almost be counted as traditional Albanian food... almost.
A few things I definitely saw again and again: rustic whole wheat bread, local white cheese and local cherry or fig jam. Combine the three for a tasty breakfast! But actually we often had bread and cheese on the side of lunch or dinner.
I also had some great bean soups, and ratatouille-style vegetable stew. So in the end, Albanian food is not as bleak as it is represented in pictures here! All in all, if you are veggo in Albanian, expect to eat some pizza and pasta and some delicious veggie heavy local food.

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