A bouquet of delicacies from Shkodra
January 30, 2023 || 47 views
It`s hard to believe that is a more appropriate word in the Albanian language than the beautiful dialectic “gojë gaditëse”, (which means) “sweet up or palate fixer”, to name the “catering” food in Shkodra. But we are not bringing the argument here for that reason.
Maybe for that too. But the reasons are others and many.
Since we started the column “Made in Albania” in the magazine, the desire and goal has been to bring beautiful and inspiring stories from people without fuss but with a beautiful soul, original ideas, courage that goes beyond possibilities, return to origin, renewal and grandparents’ house, preservation of tradition, support of the local community, and everything else that reflects human stories in the struggle to make their lives livable and diverse.
Today we are happy to say that right in the heart of the pandemic crisis, another beautiful storytelling was added to Shkodra, written by two girls, who wanted to give their city a place to enjoy “delicacies” as stated in today’s language of gastronomy or a place where you can “satisfy your mouth” as it is said in everyday language in Shkodër, but also the most beautiful parties and events to remember, creating and cooking each food by their hands, with products that are equally clean and safe as the ones we choose for our homes and of course, with what is demanded and appreciated so much today, the decorated and colorful table.
How the girls, Sanida and Benida started this story, how they name the specialties, where their inspiration comes from, who invites them to organize their own party for the first, is a really interesting story but more than just interesting, every story is unique in its own, because it is unlike any other story told or happened. We have plenty of evidences of how many beautiful successful stories were born during the “Covid 19” pandemic, and this is undoubtedly one of them.
Since almost everyone “lost” their jobs, or stopped working at what they had been doing until those moments, many people gave up, living their selves “in the hands of fate”, waiting for this bad dream to end as soon as possible. But there were also those few, who not only didn`t give up, but released the reins of fantasy, looking for new paths.
The two friends, who, like everyone else, had stopped working, spending the days at home, cooking for passion, in a certain moment asked each other: why not cook for others? Now that restaurants are closed, it’s not like people aren’t celebrating. Why should we take away their right to celebrate beautifully, with decorations, tastes and stuff? And so they decided to start.
What about the name? Why “Gojë gaditëse”? It`s difficult to translate this word on other languages but in the light of Sanida’s mother’s expression “do we have something to sweet up” or “to satisfy the palate”, is the way to call that morsel that we often look for in the fridge or in the food cupboard to fix our mouths after a meal or away from meals. Each province has its own expression, “I fix my mouth” or “make my mouth”, “satisfying mouth” but “gojë gaditëse” is so “localist”, so representative of Shkodra gastronomy that, if we had to describe its strength of identity, we can just compare it with the atom, so in the cell of the character it is located.
Our first “customer”, Benida says, as can be expected, was our friend, who was celebrating his birthday. The test was successfully passed and after it, other orders came gradually increasing, both from the “institutional” level and the number of people, which forced us to “get out” from the kitchen of the house where we started our adventure and look for a bigger environment and new equipments. Later, the internal need arose to give everyone the opportunity to try our delicacies, not only those who ordered for catering. Therefore, the environment we found in Gjuhadol neighborhood, right in the heart of the historical center, where today a whole tourist area has come to life, was exactly what we were looking for and would fulfill the dream we had in our heads. Today, together with the office, which we have also decorated and filled in the form of a gift shop, “Goje gaditese” has turned into a meeting place for friends, where morning and evenings are spent through selected music and delicious food.
Our preference as a local enterprise with a clear identity name and activity, where the features of the country stand out, would be that the food was also characterized by typical local dishes, but it is very difficult to include “Carp Casserole”, the “Mullet in tile” or other typical dishes in catering food, so we stuck to the modern and colorful image, in the way that we can play with fantasy and bring as much joy as possible to the celebrations. Even the drinks, as well as the food, are selected, natural squeezed juices, organic teas, and even the cocktails, are mainly based on gin, (which is somewhat similar to our brandy raki), from the 22 types that we have in the bar.
However, “Goje gaditesja” has its own prominent features, not only from the name but also from the composition of the menu, which changes constantly, thanks to our experimenting but also by welcoming different “nicknames” and delicacies by the events that mark us every day. On the menu, for example, “Mom`s buns” or “Mom’s flowers” have taken place, naturally introducing the heirlooms of parents but also the favorites of friends, which are inserted at the future orders, especially when they are liked, even though they were not on the menu, like “Belma’s brioche” or other mouth-satisfying dishes.
Today the World Tourism Organization is “shouting loudly” about the direction that tourism should take a direction that should go towards the people and not towards the destination. Although the formula is the same for the whole world, “tourism for people, to people”, the experiences are unique in each country because the people are also unique. Each story is unique and unrepeatable. Therefore, experiential tourism will never go out of fashion.
This is an invitation to all of you, when you go to Shkodra and you don’t have clear ideas where to “satisfy your mouth”, somewhere in Gjuhadol neighborhood, two girls are waiting for you to “satisfy mouth”