I’ve got three different non-alcoholic Albanian drinks to try today: boza, kompot, and mountain tea! The boza and kompot are from TurkishMart, which is one of the few Canadian stores that also carries imported products from Albania, while the mountain tea is from a local Mediterranean grocery store.
Boza – Got a jar of homemade boza, a non-alc drink made from fermented flour – usually wheat and corn. It’s drunk in not just Albania, but Turkey and Bulgaria as well. This was shipped by mail, so I’m not sure if it fermented more in the bottle, but there was that satisfying pop when I opened it. The boza is thick and frothy, a little fizzy, and sweet with a tangy bready aftertaste. This is delicious – I’ve never had anything like it! I’m adding a dash of ground cinnamon to the top, which is a common (and even tastier) way to serve it.
Sejega plum kompot – Kompot is drunk all across Eastern Europe, it’s preserved fruit with extra liquid (as opposed to a Western European compote, which is more concentrated). The Albanian name for kompot is “komposto” and this one has whole plums in it. The plums are sweet and tender from being stewed in the liquid, while the liquid itself is a bit more tart with a rich plummy flavour. Refreshing and summery!
Mountain tea – This herb is most commonly called “Greek mountain tea” here in Canada, but sideritis is drunk all through southern Europe and the Balkans. It’s generally wild-collected in Albania and sold in dried bunches of stalks and flowers. The scent of the herb is very similar to sage, and the tea tastes like a mid-point between sage, mint, and chamomile, but a bit earthier.