After many years spent in Italy, Altin Prenga returned to Albania. Arrived in Fishtë in his native country, in the hills between Lezha and Scutari, which also gave birth to the well-known Albanian poet Gjergj Fishta, he opened a restaurant. Not just any restaurant, but a new philosophy for Albania, the 0 km products and the Slow Food philosophy.
While Altin worked in Albania, on the other side of the Adriatic, a young Albanian, Fundim Gjepali, established himself as chef of one of the best Roman restaurants, the Antico Arco. In the 2013, for World Food Day, FAO invited him to cook a dish that was then on the menus of Eataly and at Palazzo Chigi he cooked for Mario Monti, during a lunch with the then Spanish premier.
In 2011 in Albania, thanks to a group of young people returned from Italy, Agorà was born, a small Albanian non-profit association that deals with issues related to immigration. In the year of their debut in Albania, they presented in a prestigious conference an overall picture of Albanian emigration to Italy. Altin Prenga, in that conference, was one of the testimonials that told of their experience of return.
I know the first two well, and I try to help Agorà. All full of good will and healthy love for Albania. For years now, in Albanianews we have given space to Albanian associations, and one of the things that is most dear to everyone is the teaching of the Albanian language in Italy. Here then is that talking together came the idea of organizing a lunch at the Mrizi i Zanave, where all the proceeds were destined for the support of the Albanian associations that organize Albanian language courses in Italy.
Fundim and Altin were enthusiastic about it and made themselves available without reservation. After days of work and intense contacts we arrived at the date of 25 January, where at the Mrizi Zanave there will be lunch and our two chefs have prepared a menu that combines modernity and tradition, enhancing Albanian products. The water will be that of the source of the Mrizi Zanave, and the wine of the area. Everything then at km0 to bring the results to distant miles on the other side of the Adriatic. Even saffron, for the occasion, will be of the highest quality and Albanian production, of a small niche company that offered its support to the initiative, the Victus shpk.
We have therefore put together Albanian excellences, which were formed in Italy, and represent the best of our two countries. And after years that Albanian immigrants send remittances to Albania in support of their families and the Albanian economy, for once in Albania we collect funds to help migrant families living in Italy, in one of the sectors that most honor each other to the work of our associations, to keep the Albanian language alive.
Lunch will take place on Saturday and Monday, and books and materials will be purchased and sent to Italy. On the site of Albanianews we will make visible a section where the new associations and those we do not know today will be able to request part of these books, while to those already known we will send the necessary material in addition to what they themselves already provide.
All the proceeds from the lunch will go to this cause. Moreover, at the end of the lunch, there will be an auction with paintings by Albanian authors who also live in Italy, where the 25% of the proceeds will be added to the funds for the purchase of books.
The initiative was sponsored by the Albanian Ministry of Education and Sport and by the Italian Embassy in Tirana. Obviously a special thanks goes to Mrizi i Zanave, who made the restaurant available, and to the Antico Arco restaurant, which in addition to Fundim also sent an aide and gave the truffle for the menu.
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