Meze – Appetizers


This dish was a favorite of my fathers’. Whenever he had visitors he would ask me to make him some Meze for his guests. It is a very important part of Albanian hospitality, it shows the guests that they are part of the family and allows them to relax and enjoy the friendship that has been extended to them.

Meze refers to small collection of various dishes served prior to an Albanian dinner, much like appetizers. A good combination is: boiled eggs, meats, olives, feta cheese, pita, byrek, peppers.

The name of the dish is derived from the Greek word Mezze, which was inspired by Turkish word meze, which was again inspired by Persian word Maze. This word meze can be referred to something which can be relished, smacked, flavored and tasted. The meanings indicate that the dish is usually associated with exotic tastes of the land where they are enjoyed.  The meze recipes may vary as per the personal choices.The popular meze recipes and dishes of Albania may include salami, brined cheese, and prosciutto ham, which are normally teamed with green olives, bell peppers and hard boiled eggs. The collective dishes of this genre are normally served to fulfill two purposes: enhancing the flavor of drinks, and to kick start a social gathering. Normally this genre of collective foods derives their body and form from the social scenario where it is served. Usually the meze is served in small bowls, and is shared by everyone sitting across the table. These dishes not only deliver variety of tastes but also generate the feeling of convivial and happy atmosphere. Meze is traditionally served with Raki or Ouzo.


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