Here’s another one of the things that Tropoja – within Albania – is famous for. Come September, you will see shepherds, children, and pretty much anyone else with nothing better to do at the moment, doubled over, searching the ground, and if you take the time to watch you’ll notice they’re stuffing their pockets. With Walnuts! The trees grow prolifically – and to gigantic proportions – especially in the lowlands around Bajram Curri. Last year I was poking around my yard with Ramiz, and I pointed at the gigantic walnut tree that towers over my garden and I said “What’s up with this tree? Why doesn’t it ever make any walnuts? Do you need 2 trees or something?” And he said “Are you nuts?” (no pun in Albanian). And started picking up handfuls of walnuts that I’d never even noticed littering my yard. Oddly enough, the dogs also started rooting up walnuts (which they’d never done before), cracking them open in their jaws, and then gobbling up the nutmeat, with peculiarly blissed out expressions. In any case, Tropojans love walnuts, particularly in the form of baklav which every family makes for New Years. Multiple layers of thin pastry, with walnuts and local honey. And yes, like every other Tropojan delicacy, it takes hours – if not days – to prepare.