Sunday, September 20, 2009

ÇOBO KANTINA

Yet again I am fortunate I live in an Albanian city full of culture. The occasion? Annual Wine Festival. By special invitation, I was invited to the yearly event at the Çobo Cantina, about 30 minutes outside of Berat in the beautiful countryside. Not fully knowing what to expect, a group of 7 Peace Corps Volunteers from the region and 5 tourists from the local hostel arrive into a mass of cars parked every which way, police on the roads directing traffic, and traditional Albanian folk music penetrating all the way out to the highway.

We were warmly greeted: given our very own 2009 souvenir mugs full of wine, and ushered in toward tables of free food and live entertainment. It was one of those nights that made me feel so… includedso Albanian, I suppose… in a way almost inexplicable to be quite honest. At 7:00pm, the traditionally dressed band led the way into the vineyards- in which everyone followed in sort of a parade-like session. After retrieving baskets and baskets full of grapes, we returned to the main event, where they were placed into the giant wooden vessel waiting in the center of the lawn. The group of Albanian teenage girls finally stepped in barefoot: treading the grapes to the beat of the music, everyone circled around and cheered full forcedly as if they were attending a huge sporting event. The rest of the night went down in history: circle dancing, drinking wine, eating plate after plate lamb, making new friends, chatting socially with the VIP’s of Berat, and well… just enjoying ourselves. In the Albanian language: Gezuar! (Cheers!)

Eat. Drink. Be Merry!

Çobo Winery

Live Entertainment leading the pack

Emerging from the vineyards

stepping into the grapes

grapes, rrush

Corinne and I digging in on the lamb chops

The last supper...Aida.Eric.Daryoush.Phoebe.Me.Chloe.creepy track suit man. Scott.

2 comments:

  1. i love that you have been saving so many blog posts. you must be totally burned out on posting. i didnt say it in the last one, and im pretty sure i said it on the actual day, but happy birthday again. i love that you are so involved with the culture of albania, i hope things are going well, and the food looks fantastic!

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