Algeria, like other Maghreb countries, produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones.Lamb is commonly consumed. Mediterranean seafood and fish are also eaten and produced by the little inshore fishing.
The Kesra, traditional Amazigh flatbread, is the base of Algerian cuisine and eaten at all meals.[who?] A popular Algerian meat is merguez, a spicy lamb sausage, that originates from the Atlas mountains. A common and one the most favorite dishes of Algerian cuisine is couscous, with other favorites such as shakshouka, Karantita, marqa bel a'assel, a speciality from Tlemcen, and the Chaoui dish chakhchoukha. Spices used in Algerian cuisine are dried red chillies of different kinds, caraway, ras el hanout, black pepper and cumin, among others. Spices including cumin, nutmeg, coriander, fennel, ginger, mace, star anise, and chillies are very popular in Algerian cuisine. Algerians also use tagines, handmade in Algeria. Frequently Algerian food is cooked in clay vessels, much like Maghrib cuisine. Algerian cuisine represents the region north of the Sahara desert and west of the Nile. Algerian chefs take a lot of pride in cooking skills and methods and their many secrets lie in the variety of ways they mix special spices.
There are many different types of Algerian salads, influenced by the French and Turkish, which may include beetroot or anchovies. There are also dishes of Spanish origin in Algeria, like the Gaspacho Oranais, an Algerian version of a Manchego dish.
Sweets like seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals. Common pastries include makroudh, nougat and asida. Halwa are cookies eaten during the month of Ramadan and some pastries are prepared for special occasions like for Eid-al-fitr and weddings. Algerians are the second greatest consumers of honey per capita in the world. Mint tea is generally drunk in the morning and for ceremonies with pastries. Algerians are heavy coffee consumers and Turkish coffee is very popular. Fruit juice and soft drinks are very common and are often drunk daily. Algeria previously produced a large quantity of wine during the French colonization but production has decreased since its independence.