The 2nd meeting of the project “CheeseCulT – Cheese route as an innovative cultural heritage driving force for rural tourism development in the cross-border area”, which is co-funded by the Interreg IPA II Greece-Albania Programme 2014-2020, through European Union and National Funds of Greece and Albania, was successfully implemented on Thursday 25th of February 2021.
The meeting was attended by all partners and, among others, Professor Ioannis Skoufos, Associate Professor Mr. Eleftherios Bonos and Ms. Evangelia Gouva from the Department of Agriculture – University of Ioannina that is also the project’s Lead Partner, Dr. Alexandra Mega from the Hellenic Agricultural Organization – Demeter: Director of the Dairy School of Ioannina, Ms. Aurora Lazaj representing the University “Eqrem Çabej” Gjirokastër, Ms. Ilda Mara from the organization ARGJIRO. The meeting focused on deliverables related to the diagnosis of needs between the CB Dairy Value Chains & Tourism potential, which will lead to the design/ mapping of a joint Cheese Route.
Specifically regarding the produced cheeses, the relevant specialized analyses made by the Department of Agriculture of the University of Ioannina in collaboration with the Dairy School of Ioannina were presented. The analyses show high quality and distinct categories of milk and cheese products of Epirus (kefalograviera and feta) from specific regions and breeds of sheep and goat, which positively contribute to human health, have special quality characteristics and at the same time, have a low environmental footprint, following the current consumer trends at European level. The relevant research will deepen even more on the local sheep and goat products that are produced in the cross-border area, so that they form the backbone of the new Cheese Route, which is the desired result of the project for the promotion of the cross-border areas.
For further developing the Cheese Route, a useful tool is the mapping through GIS based on activities such as selection criteria procedure and development of a respective database, using regional data for the production of various thematic routes, which is currently in progress.
In addition to the above, partners discussed the development of other project deliverables (training seminars, Cheese Exhibitions Centres, an electronic version of a Joint Cheese Cookbook, a Cheese Agri-tourism network to include all interested tourist enterprises of the CB area and link them to the Cheese Route initiative), as well as, the needs caused by the global health crisis, which resulted in the postponement of certain activities for a later stage of Project implementation, compared to the original schedule.
It is noted that CheeseCulT is designed to capitalize the CB area’s agri-food focus on dairy production, and incorporate it to local sustainable tourism on a viable development plan for the regions involved.
For more information on the meeting, please visit the project website (https://cheesecult.eu/)
(you can download the press release below)
Press Release Meeting 2 (.doc)