Feeling Like Royalty In Tirana

What I thought would be a night or two in Tirana is now three nights. In between getting work done, laundry, and learning about Balkan wines from Jimmy, I continue to meet a host of influential people from the Albanian world of hospitality, literature, and wine.

The largest distributor, exporter, and importer of wines in Albania is Vila Alehandro, and they also have a wine shop. And here at Hotel Dinasty I meet Lola the director or big boss of the firm. She shows me a video that promotes the firm’s new wine shop in Tirana. It’s well produced and features a cameo by Zhek, my new friend the Albanian poet. I learn that they import the finest Italian wines, and probably most of those offered by the restaurants on the Albanian Riviera.

Lola does not speak English, but we soon learn we both speak Spanish, so our conversation dotted the world of wine, Albanian food, and travel.

Talking wines in Spanish with Lola, the director of Vila Alehandro, the largest wine distributor, importer and exporter in Albania.

Lola invites me, Zhek, and Jimmy for a lunch at a traditional Albanian restaurant. The chef at What I thought would be a night or two in Tirana is now three nights. In between getting work done, laundry, and learning about Balkan wines from Jimmy, I continue to meet a host of influential people from the Albanian world of hospitality, literature, and wine.

Lola does not speak English, but we soon learn we both speak Spanish, so our conversation dotted the world of wine, Albanian food, and travel.

Lola invites me, Zhek, and Jimmy for a lunch at a traditional Albanian restaurant. The chef at Mullixhiu is known throughout Albania for his take on traditional dishes. They bake their own bread from wheat and corn milled on site. I take a moment and capture the action in the mill while the chefs there also create special Albanian bread. Check out the video for more detail.

Jimmy, head chef Bledar Kola, and breadmaker Jovani at restaurant Mullixhiu in Tirana, Albania

Lola and her two boys.

Delicious roasted potatoes and vegetables from the wood fired oven at Mullixhiu in Tirana

I feel like royalty here in Albania. First, at Cobo Winery in Berat I’m treated to barrel tastings of young wine and brandy, at Uka Winery and Farm I feel feted on wine reserved for presidents and prime ministers, get a private tasting and introduction to Albanian wine by the president of the sommelier association, and here for lunch I’m treated to a feast of Albanian food paired with wines chosen by the director of the largest wine distributor in the country. Wow! All of this is overwhelming and makes me forget about the crowded roads and crazy drivers.

I like Albania, maybe I should stay here longer.

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