The bardhë i Tiranës, whose name means “white of Tirana,” is a local olive variety from western Albania, where it accounts for 60-70% of the olive trees. This variety produces a lot of fruit, is resistant to cold, and is well adapted to hilly terrain. This variety flowers abundantly around the third week of May. The harvest takes place between October and January and is done mostly by hand or with handheld shakers.
Bardhë i Tiranës olives are made into oil and also cured as table olives, used in salads, fish casseroles, and olive spreads. The leaves are used to make a tisane, which is considered effective for preventing diabetes and disease associated with high blood pressure.
The cultivation of olives dates back millennia in Albania, and old trees are often found in close proximity to ancient and Medieval buildings—at the Petrelë and Prezë castles, both near Tirana, there are trees that range in age from 1,500 to 3,000 years.
The 14th-century Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg, was reputed to have encouraged young couples to plant olive trees before getting married. According to Albanian tradition, the mistreatment of olive trees will bring bad luck and if an olive tree was damaged while people were working the land, it was a sign that something bad would happen (war, an earthquake, etc.). This was one of the reasons that people built strong stone
walls to protect olive trees.
Source: ‘Arka e Shijes’, Dhurata Thanasi (Luga e Argjendtë)