My first full day back in Albania continued that afternoon as I got my first look at how we produce our delicious extra virgin olive oil at Turtle Farm Albania! Come with me as I show you how we make extra virgin olive oil at Turtle Farm Albania and give you a taste of an authentic village lunch in Daias, Albania!
Turtle Farm Albania is my new business venture with my good friend and guide Erjan Guxha from Travel Media EU. When I visited his family’s farm in August of 2020, we came up with the idea of turning it into a sanctuary for Hermann’s tortoises, who often get hit by cars as they attempt to cross Albania’s busy roads.
We rescue the tortoises and give them a safe place to live. We have opened the farm to guests, and offer them a true Albanian farm experience. They can meet and feed our tortoises, have lunch and dinner, pick grapes and vegetables, go off-roading, and much more!
It’s the perfect place for families visiting Tirana, and our outdoor sunset dinners are great for couples looking for a relaxing and romantic experience. We’re located just 24 minutes from Tirana by car, so please reach out to us to schedule a visit if you’re ever in the area!
Our afternoon began at Turtle Farm Albania, where we would have lunch and make olive oil from local olives. We would start off with a traditional village lunch of chicken; white cheese; a soupy-looking fërgesë; a fresh salad with tomatoes, green peppers, and cucumbers; rice; and a sweet, milky dessert. We also had white wine, red wine, and raki!
There were lots of bees flying around the food, but Erjan burned some coffee grounds at our table to keep them at bay! The chicken from the village was so tender and fresh, and 100% organic. I loved the crispy skin. They have about 120 chickens on the farm, who lay lots of eggs every day. This chicken is as organic and natural as you can get!
Next was the fërgesë, which is made of roasted red pepper, chicken stock, and corn flour. It also contained chicken kidneys. I added it to the rice. It was like an oily roasted pepper soup! I loved dipping the bread into it. The cheese was also incredible! It was like burrata cheese and was perfect with the salad.
The milk dessert was creamy, almost like flan. It was sweet and much thicker than yogurt. It’s basically crème brulee without the burned top! Next, we tried some young and fruity shesh i zi red wine. We’re eventually going to have a barrel room where we’ll ferment our wine! It was the perfect way to cap off our Turtle Farm Albania lunch!
Then, we took some of our salad and gave them to our Hermann’s tortoises, and picked some melons to give them as well. We have over 100 tortoises that get up to 12 inches in length. They live up to 50 years! Then, it was time to pick some olives! We filled up a bucket with olives and drove a couple of minutes through Daias, past a school and mosque, to the olive factory.
We get our olives from our olive groves and then press them into olive oil at a local restaurant and factory, Restorant Piceri Vani! We had enough olives to produce a liter of olive oil in their production facility. I watched the olives get washed, go up a conveyor belt, and get pressed. They get extracted and filtered, and then you have olive oil! I tried a bit, which was so tasty.
From there, poured it into some bottles and went up to the restaurant to have our olive oil with some bread. The olive oil was so thick and a rich green color! Erjan added salt to the olive oil. It was so good! The salt was outstanding, and the oil itself had a ton of flavor! I also loved the airy and fluffy local bread.
Our farm produces about 500 liters (roughly 1,000 bottles) of olive oil per year. The best thing is, you can buy it from the village, which helps the locals. The restaurant is also super nice. It’s full of plants and is free-flowing. There’s an outdoor terrace and a kid’s area as well! Then, we headed back to Turtle Farm Albania to put labels on our bottles. You can have this experience if you visit Turtle Farm Albania during olive season!
Huge thanks to my boy Erjan and the entire Guxha family for making this possible, and to my friends at Rental Car Albania for helping me get around this amazing country! If you’d like to help us at Turtle Farm Albania with a donation, we’d really appreciate it! You can donate to the farm here. Every little bit helps, and every cent goes toward building a better environment for our tortoises and creating a better experience for our guests!
I hope you liked coming with me to see the extra virgin olive oil we produce at Turtle Farm Albania and our traditional lunch! 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 around the world!