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Ancient Crossroads… One Memorable Journey + 3 Wonderful Cuisines

BlogPic-Greek-food-(1).jpgGreek cuisine will likely be familiar to many travelers. Even first-time visitors might recognize dishes from their own dining experiences back home, even if they’ve never been to a Greek restaurant… From Gyro sandwiches to Spanakopita (Spinach Pie), Greek specialties have found their way onto many American restaurant menus.
In general, you’ll find the cuisine to be delicious and healthy… Olive oil, Feta cheese, garden-fresh vegetables, and grilled meats and seafood are common elements at the dining table. Many Greek meals start with Mezes – small dishes that could include marinated olives, grilled octopus, fried vegetables, cheeses, sausages, salads, and dips made from beans or eggplant. Many Greeks will actually make a meal out of Mezes – ordering a wide variety accompanied by wine or other drinks.
Among entrees, Moussaka is a popular layered casserole of eggplant and minced beef (or lamb) topped with a Béchamel sauce and baked; tomato puree and potatoes are sometimes added. Other traditional fare to consider are Domates Yemistes (Baked tomatoes stuffed with meat and rice); Dolmades (Stuffed grape leaves); Avgolemono (Chicken soup flavored with lemon); and Souvlaki (Grilled meat on a skewer, not unlike a Shish Kebob).
Like its history, Macedonian cuisine reflects a variety of influences that might be familiar to you – Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Italian and even German and Hungarian. Popular traditional dishes may also remind you of Greek favorites: Burek is a savory puff pastry that can be filled with a variety of ingredients including feta cheese, spinach and meat. Musaka is a layered casserole of potatoes, eggplant, onion and ground meat.
More local and unique to Macedonia, Pastrmajlija is a delicious oval-shaped piece of fried dough topped with salted, cubed meat. Found in restaurants and homes, Tavce Gravce is a bean stew, usually prepared in an earthenware dish and richly flavored with paprika and other spices. Some recipes also call for bacon, sausage or smoked ribs. Many Macedonians consider this hearty stew to be their national dish.
Dining in Albania also reflects the influences of nearby Mediterranean countries like Italy and Turkey. Prominent ingredients include familiar fresh vegetables like eggplant, beans, tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper. Lamb, beef and chicken are the most frequently used meats. Seafood specialties are also popular, especially along the Adriatic coast. Like other cuisines of the region, common seasonings include Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil and rosemary as well as chili pepper and garlic.
Here in Albania, you’ll encounter familiar dishes similar to Greek Spanakopita and Macedonian Burek as well as stuffed vegetables that recall the Domates Yemistes and Dolmades of Greece. For a more classic Albanian dish be sure to try Tave Kosi, a satisfying casserole with lamb, rice and a yogurt sauce. Typically served with a fresh salad, it is said to have originated in Elbasan, a central Albanian town southeast of the Tirana.
You can Dine like an Emperor, a King and a Sultan on our
Ancient Crossroads tour to Greece, Macedonia + Albania >>


Posted: 5/23/2019 3:41:33 PM by Alexander + Roberts