Belshi, from the lakes to slow food and saffron tea

November 6, 2019 || 1135 views

By: Jonel Kristo, Dr. Ols Lafe

ALBANIAN FOOD TOURS 2018

Belsh is so beautiful! It has always been beautiful because nature has given it eighty gorgeous pearls which seemed to form the necklace of a badly dressed women…Now that Belsh has become a little Pogradec, adorned and decorated with a new waterfront, with re-qualified architecture and many tourism objects ready to welcome visitors, the pearl necklace is shining!

We could hardly wait for this day, to write about Belsh as a proper tourism destination with a central plaza, with museums, souvenir stores, festivities and activities throughout the year and not simply with good looking natural lakes. Now is the day to include this city in a special culinary tour, not only for its slow food cuisine which has started to be offered in the traditional restaurants of Dumrea but also to point out the unique miraculous plant that has started to be offered in Belsh; saffron! In fact, the inclusion of Belsh as a culinary destination stems naturally because recently the Tourism Investment Fund with the support of the Belsh Municipality has included this area in its development plans while doing nice activities in Belsh.

The various events, festivities, nature tours, education of visitors with natural food and bringing to light tradition recipes, the opening of the city museums, the encouragement to open local products souvenir stores, are all in the right direction to take Belsh towards a more regular frequentation, both from us Albanians and foreign visitors alike. We are not doing anything else apart from offering the carefully prepared tour from this organization, which offers the best of Belsh.

 

One day culinary tour of Belsh and the surrounding villages
Every Saturday and Sunday, at 9.00am, the bus leaves for Belsh from the Mother Theresa square. The daily program comprises:
Departure from Tirana at 9.00am.
-Arriving in the city center of Belsh and getting to know the city.
-Continue with the bus to visit the Dega lake, Dëshiran forest and the Red Hollow. 
-We arrive at the “Dumrea Rubin” restaurant where we are welcomed with saffron tea.
-The chef presents the main straditional plates, brought with elegance at our farm.
-We taste the cheese and farm wine and can thus understand the philosophy of the rural development project.
-At 13.30 we seat for lunch, cooked personally by Slow Food Chef Naim Bashmili and his crew.
-At 15.30 we go for a stroll around Seferan lake and visit the village store.
-For sport lovers, we offer the bike tours, lake sailing and fishing and boat races with miniature sails.
The children can feed and play the farm animals at the restaurant (baby lamb, baby goat, rabbit, chicken etc).
-At 16.00 we depart for Tirana after we stop for the last time at the village store for souvenirs and typical products of the area. 
To became part of the experience, reserve at +355 68 57 70 739.

Places to visit
Belsh center, Dega Lake or the Flower’s Lake, the Lake and Forest of Marinza, the Lake and Forest of Dëshiran, Seferan Village (lake, theatre, guesthouses, art gallery, farm and slow food restaurant) are only some of the places you can visit if you come to Belsh. But even with these places on your bucket list the tour would be complete.
Festivities and activities
It would be advisable to visit Belsh in the days when many activities take place such as Summer Day on March 14th, the Aphrodite Fest in May, the Food Days in February and March, the Artisans Fair in October, olive tasting in November etc.
What to bring with you
Jam and compote made in Seferan, egg, butter, village milk. Vegetables and fruits, Wine and brandy prepared directly on the farm, Paintings and sculptures by a village artist, Various memorabilia (water shovels, blouses, and vintage decorations) and naturally the famous saffron the symbol of Belshi.