Not sure what are the best terms to use to impress the locals? Knowing Albanian cooking terms is critical in the development of your language skills. Today, we've prepared a list of the most commonly used vocabulary. We've also prepared some information on Albanian cuisine generally. The most crucial words to know as a start: Bake is piqem, Boil is vlim, and fry is skuq. Let's take a closer look at the sections below!
|Poach||Gjuetar pa leje|
|Steam||Lëvizem me avull|
|Stew||Mish i shterur|
As we've mentioned in previous articles, the concept of Besa runs through all Albanian culture. Roughly it translates as a pledge of honor and is common in former tribal societies. Loosely it means that it is your obligation to give a feast for friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers. Another common Albanian custom is to keep a spare room prepared for any unexpected guests who might arrive in the middle of the night.
The first thing to say about traditional Albanian food is that it belongs to the Mediterranean diet category with countries like Italy and Greece. That means a lot of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and fish. Just as we wouldn't lump all U.S cuisine into one category, we wouldn't do the same with Albanian cuisine. It can be divided into three different regions. Northern, Central, and Southern.
Typical ingredients used in Northern cuisine includes meat, fish, potatoes, carrot, beans, cabbage, cherry, walnut, almond, garlic, onion.
The central region is flatter, so it provides for better growing conditions. That means more vegetables. Because it's close to the sea, there is more of a Meditteranean feel.
The south is pastoral as well as coastal. This includes dairy, citrus, olive oil, meat, and seafood on the coast. In all regions, mushrooms are heavily favored.
Unlike England, breakfast is typically light. Bread is a staple food and served with cheese, jam, or yogurt. With your breakfast, you could drink coffee with milk or tea.
Generally speaking, Albania has excellent coffee. In fact, Tirana has the highest number of coffee shops per capita of any city. For every 100,000 residents, there are 650 coffee shops.
Tea is also widely served and mixed with herbs popular. A famous Albanian tea is called mountain tea, widely believed to have curative effects and with a distinct and delicious flavor. Another popular tea is Turkish tea which is black and served with sugar, lemon, milk, or honey.
Lunch is generally thought of as the premier meal. There's no such thing as a quick bite to eat at this time. Albanian lunches are typically meat-based and often stewed. Lightness to the dish is added with a Mediterranean salad traditionally made with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives. Grilled vegetables are also popular.
Because lunch is such a hefty meal, supper is smaller and similar to breakfast. There might be a cheese plate with bread.
Albanian desserts are very pastry-based. Patisseries are common everywhere. Particularly popular are pastries with citrus fruits that grow widely in the country.
The most famous is baklava which is also famous in nearby Turkey. It is commonly served at both Christian and Muslim holidays. Baklava is made of filo pastry with crushed nuts and honey. It is one of the best typical Albanian dishes imaginable. Another typical dish is petulla which is fried dough served with feta cheese or jam. A famous example of jam is Reçel.
Mediterranean and Albanian cuisine are almost one and the same.
The Mediterranean diet has been described as unique since it was first studied in the 1960s.
Common foods in the diet would be a lot of what we've already mentioned, like olive oil, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and fish. Another factor is a moderate amount of red and white wine.
Studies have shown that the diet reduces the risk of heart disease, heart disease being one of the major killers globally. Heart doctors and diabetic doctors recommend the diet to patients suffering from those problems.
What's more, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to influence cognitive ability. A 2013 review showed that it lowered the risk of Alzheimer's. There is also a link between a Meditteranean diet and a reduced risk of depression.
We hope you enjoyed that crash course in Albanian gastronomy. We could go on all day about traditional Albanian dishes as well as the new food that can be found in Tirana's swankiest bistro.
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