Making Albanian Raki at Turtle Farm Albania – Distilling Grapes in Daias, Albania

On my first full day back in Albania, my boy Erjan took me to his family’s farm in Daias, which we have converted into Turtle Farm Albania, the country’s first tortoise sanctuary! Come along with me as we show you how we make Albanian raki at Turtle Farm Albania!

On my final day in Albania back in the August of 2020, my boy Erjan from Travel Media EU and I visited his family’s farm in Daias (located roughly 20-25 minutes outside of the capital city, Tirana) and brainstormed the idea of Turtle Farm Albania, a 2.5-acre sanctuary of sorts that would serve as a safe haven for Albania’s many Hermann’s tortoises.

These beautiful creatures move very slowly and are often hit by cars as they venture across roads around the country, and many of them don’t make it. At Turtle Farm Albania, we’ve built a place for them to safely live and thrive, far from dangerous roads.

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We’ve also created a unique experience for our visitors that you can’t get anywhere else where you can meet our tortoises, pick grapes, have lunch, go off-roading, try our rakija (also known as raki), and even have a sunset dinner on our property! I’d be starting with eggs, butter, cheese, tomatoes, fig jam, yogurt, and cucumbers, all from the farm and garden! It’s a complete farm-to-table experience!

Check out the Top 15 Things to See and Do in Tirana, Albania

It was currently raki season, so we were starting to harvest our grapes, which we then ferment and distill. I couldn’t wait to show you guys how we make raki at Turtle Farm Albania! Our breakfast spot overlooks the entire farm and you can see the capital in the distance. Nearby is the tortoise pen and a terrace where you can enjoy meals! The cheese is incredible, especially with the tomatoes and butter. 

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I made a sandwich with the bread, eggs, and vegetables. The cheese was so soft and had some pepper on it. I also loved the fig jam! We also had some pomegranates because it was pomegranate season. The raki was also super smooth! You can buy a bottle of our raki for 700 lekes. We also produce wine and olive oil, as well as jam!

After breakfast, I went over to the tortoise pen and then toured the property. We have a vineyard, vegetables, an olive tree grove, and a couple of tortoise pens: one for the summer that’s in the shade and one for winter that’s in the sun. There’s also a grassy area we might develop into a park for kids.

Check out my VIDEO: South Albanian Food in Berat Castle!! Exploring UNESCO Ottoman Houses | Berat, Albania

Erjan then picked some grapes to show me the process of making raki at Turtle Farm Albania from start to finish. The grapes were so sweet and delicious! We make dolmas with the grape leaves. Then, we took the grapes to a machine where they’re crushed and squeezed. From there, they go into barrels, where ferment for 10-14 days. Then, they go into another machine to be distilled. The fermenting grapes have a powerful smell!

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I watched Erjan crush the grapes over a barrel. In other barrels, I could see the bubbling from the fermentation! He tests the fermentation level. When it gets to zero, it’s ready to be distilled into raki. You can put 120 liters into the distillation machine, which makes 30 liters of raki! After the grapes boil, the steam goes through the pipes and mixes with the cold water, and the raki is produced.

Back at the tortoise pen, we saw some of the tortoises, including some super tiny ones! The tortoises have been mating, so we’d have some tortoise eggs soon!

Check out my article on Mrizi i Zanave: The Ultimate Agrotourism Experience in Albania

Then, we toasted with some raki. The key is for it to not contain any sugar. The raki at Turtle Farm Albania is super strong! What a morning of making raki at my tortoise sanctuary, Turtle Farm Albania! Huge thanks to my boy Erjan and the amazing Guxha family for making this all possible. We’re only just beginning and I’m so excited to build the farm even further in the months and years to come!

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I hope you liked coming with me to see how we make raki at Turtle Farm Albania! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures from around the world!

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