Saturday, March 29, 2014

A new savor

A couple of days ago, during an afternoon outburst of heavy rain, I ran into a shop that, last year, was pointed out to me as ‘the’ place to find all sorts of coffee. 

It was a brand new type of store for Tirana, well furnished with a variety of goodies that in addition to an enormous variety of coffee beans, included a superb assortment of chocolates, but it was practically a whole in a wall. While being served one could enjoy an excellent espresso, by standing up (such as many Italians do at their bars) since it had room only for a couple of high round stands where to park the serving cup and saucer. I remember enjoying then the strong, wonderful aroma that hit me when I entered this place, and where the owner obliged me in offering me different samples of the grind I was looking for to brew an American type of coffee. 

This time I found the store a bit larger and redecorated, but with the same setup of small, high tables; thus I sipped an espresso standing up. When the friend I was supposed to meet in that part of town reached me, she and I went next door to another larger café where we could sit down, be served, and chat. Here she suggested a new drink that I had never heard of before, named ‘salep’.  This new potion whose ingredients she tried to describe, was a fabulous brew that it’s touted to have several health benefits.  The basic product is extracted from some type of orchids’ bulbs, and the best ones come from Turkey (that my friend wanted to be assured of, when she placed the order with our waiter).  The best description and recipe of this thick and creamy delight can, of course, be found online here also with related pictures.       

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