Organizing pilot actions and training seminars of the CheeseCulT project in Gjirokastra – ALBANIA, co-funded by Interreg IPA II Greece – Albania Programme 2014-2020″

From 28 to 30 October 2021, the Argjiro NGO has organised in the city of Gjirokastra, seminars 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 and more specifically by the European Union and National Funds of Greece and Albania.

The purpose of the training seminars was to train the stakeholders involved in the Project (cheesemakers, breeders, local tourism actors, etc.) on Agritourism, Cheese Production, Cheese Quality, Marketing and Culinary Innovation, to acquire the necessary knowledge for their active participation in the “Cheese Route”.

In close cooperation with the University of Gjirokastra and its technical staff of the Laboratory of the University as well as stakeholders from the region of Gjirokastra the context of the seminars, presentations were made by representatives of the two Albanian Partners of the Project and in particular by Ms. Ilda Mara, executive director of Argjiro NGO and Ms. Irma Gjolleshi of the University of Gjirokastra, the project coordinator,  Prof. Brunilda Stamo, Trainer in Agrotourism, Ms. Elefteri Liti, Expert of National Food Authority, Ms. Irina Canco, Trainer in Agrotourism and Ms. Klodjana Cabiri representative from GID.

In the Section “Cheese Production”, special reference was made to the production of traditional cheeses of South Albania but also to the importance of single-breed cheeses.

In the Section “Cheese Quality”, emphasis was placed on highlighting the importance of locality of cheese, traceability and the application of safety standards and principles of Health and Safety in the production of traditional cheese.

In the Unit “Culinary Innovation” traditional and innovative recipes were presented, while the “Marketing” section analysed the general principles and the current trends in the dairy market.

In the “Agritourism” section, a presentation was made on how Agritourism can be a tool in the development approach of the region of Gjirokastra, as well as the institutional challenges for its development.