THE POWER OF FOOD MEMORY, BETWEEN PASSION AND NOSTALGIA/ Albania’s journey to Terra Madre “Salone del Gusto”, 2022
January 27, 2023 || views
Everything varies with the changing of eras, customs, thoughts, even the taste for food. Everything has its time.
Undoubtedly, until there, in the streets, among the people, in the squares, in the houses, in the cities, in the world, the aroma of those ancient recipes, cooked slowly, without haste, spread. The aroma of freshly milled wheat, bread cooked in a wood-fired oven, “Mishavinë” cheese from Kelmendi, tomatoes and pickles in oil, “Osa” from Gjirokastra cooked with dried meat from Malësia e Madhe also spread.
And immediately that indissoluble link between food and memory awakened, capable of evoking memories of a bygone era and that accompanies us throughout our lives, such as our favorite sweets as children, our first experiments in the kitchen, the lunches made from the grandmother, the family recipes that pass from generation to generation, that particular food that for years has marked our happy moments.
So it is natural not to be surprised why Albania’s stand at the Terra Madre – Salone del Gusto 2022 was the most crowded from early morning until late evening.
It was a choral participation that was also the result of the positive synergies between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), VIS Albania, DeP Dora e Pajtimit, Mrizi i Zanave, Luga e Argjendtë, the members of Slow Food Albania from North to South, as: Slow Food Elbasan, Slow Food Fishta, Slow Food Gjirokastra, Slow Food Sofra e Kelmendit, Slow Food Tirana, activists from Klos, Shkodër, Durrës and Malësia e Madhe, Agricultural University of Tirana (UBT), Engim as well as the representatives of Slow Food Chef’s Alliance in Albania as Altin Prenga and Naim Bashmili.
Albania presented itself in Turin with a triumph of flavors, smells and colors, in perfect harmony with the driving concepts of Slow Food: good, clean and fair.
A scenario of a completely ecological wooden stand embellished by the presence of the stone mill produced in an artisanal way by two young people from Tale in the province of Shëngjin, Lezha. An idea realized within 24 hours by Chef Altin Prenga from “Mrizi i Zanave”, Besmir Rrjolli from “DeP Dora e Pajtimit”, Chef Arbër Kukaj and Albanian volunteers living in Italy.
This year the Terra Madre – Salone del Gusto 2022 was dedicated to the REGENERATION and the Slow Food Albania community, supported for the first time by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, created a food chain dedicated to wheat, this fundamental and important agricultural crop for our life.
A stand powered by electricity through solar panels, and which wanted to represent the kitchens of the time, where they cooked with wood-burning ovens and stoves and where different chefs from other countries came to prepare their dishes.
Where the strength of the memory of food, between passion and nostalgia, has meant that Albanian chefs, who have emigrated to Italy for more than 20 years, have come to collaborate in the Albania stand at Terra Madre – Salone del Gusto 2022.
Chefs who, together with the chefs of the Slow Food Alliance, have done their best to promote the ongoing work done by the Slow Food Community. Who with an intelligent innovative vocation, but always respecting the tradition, have been able to transform the exceptional quality of dough, raw materials and Albanian agro-food specialties, into gastronomic jewels.
Chefs who, masterfully mixed the typical products of the Slow Food chain from North to South of Albania, offered visitors exquisite dishes of traditional cuisine which in Albania is the reality of the present.
Thus ended the journey of Albania in the 14th edition of Terra Madre – Salone del Gusto 2022, which represented a moment of meeting between exhibitors and visitors passionate and fascinated by stories, products and territories.
A unique emotion that showed, once again, how much energy and how much passion the Slow Food network brings with it but above all, it showed a wonderful Albania that finally moves in unison, enhancing its environmental, natural and landscape heritage, identity and agri-food. By focusing on man as a worker of the earth, the preservation of tradition, the craftsmanship of his hands and his mind, a symbol of resilience and elasticity, the pivot of our economy.