The Ark of Taste: Albanian Walnut Gliko
Walnut Gliko is a sweet preserve made from unripe boiled walnuts and sugar-water syrup. It is a traditional recipe from southern Albania, a landscape of dense forests, deep canyons and old Ottoman bridges. The preserve is often served with spirits or juices at celebrations or family feasts, and also brought out to welcome guests into the home.
Despite being such a celebratory dish, walnut gliko is at risk of disappearing as younger generations display less interest in traditional culinary traditions and, because the walnuts grow in the wild, it is difficult to harvest large quantities of the fruit for gliko production. This region of Albania has low levels of employment and high levels of migration, but – as Dan Saladino reports – if this special recipe could be turned into a small industry, it could change people’s future and protect an endangered food tradition.