Liljana Gashi’s Heartfelt Visit to Kosovo: Celebrating Culinary Heritage and Generational Bonds

Celebrating Albanian Women, Cuisine, and Traditions with Eating Albanian.

A Journey of Flavor and Tradition by Votra Inc. 

In the picturesque month of May, Kosovo transforms into a captivating tapestry of lush greenery, vibrant blooms, and breathtaking landscapes. The air is perfumed with the delicate scent of wildflowers, while the sun’s gentle warmth casts a magical glow over the serene countryside. Bustling streets brimming with life reflect the rich heart and soul of this beautiful region, offering a visual feast for every visitor.

Amidst this stunning backdrop, Liljana Gashi, the acclaimed co-author with Aferdita Delaj of the beloved culinary tome “Eating Albanian”, made her much-anticipated visit to Kosovo with her loving husband Pjetër Gashi. 

Published in New York by Votra Inc., the book is a heartfelt celebration of Albanian cuisine and traditions, encapsulating the essence of a culture steeped in history and culinary excellence. It showcases a rich array of recipes passed down through generations, each dish telling a story of heritage and identity. The authors’ passion for their homeland is evident on every page, inviting readers to experience the flavors and warmth of Albanian hospitality.

 Her visit not only rekindled her connection to her roots but also highlighted the timeless beauty and rich heritage that make Kosovo an unforgettable destination.

During her visit, Liljana extended a heartfelt invitation to all the remarkable ladies who participated in the cooking videos filmed in Kosovo from January to March 2024 as part of the promotional campaign for “Eating Albanian” by Votra Inc. by hosting a beautiful dinner to break bread together and get to know one another.

These videos, showcasing old recipes passed down through generations of women, hold immense cultural significance. They are not just about cooking; they are about preserving a rich heritage, honoring the wisdom of our ancestors, and celebrating the unbreakable bonds between women. Sharing these recipes with the world is a way of keeping our culture and traditions alive, allowing others to experience the love and care embedded in every dish. It is through these culinary traditions that we connect with our past and ensure that our heritage continues to thrive.

Feride Rushiti, a Kosovan activist, director of the “Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors

Albana Murseli, a journalist in RTK and Feride Rushiti, a Kosovan activist, director of the “Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors” and one of the pioneering human rights activists in Kosovo, who played pivotal roles in managing the realization of these videos and organizing the event, ensured that everything was perfect for this special occasion. The event took place at the elegant Diamond Hotel, a venue that provided a fitting backdrop for an evening filled with warmth, joy, and connection.

The gathering was a beautiful celebration of tradition and community. As the sun set over the rolling hills of Kosovo, the ladies arrived, each bringing with them stories of their families, their traditions, and their cherished recipes. Liljana Gashi, with her gracious demeanor, welcomed each participant with open arms, embodying the spirit of hospitality that is at the heart of Albanian culture.

With a full heart and deep gratitude, Liljana Gashi expressed her utmost admiration for all the women who attended the beautiful dinner for the promotion of their cookbook and Albanian heritage. Each lady brought a valuable contribution with their videos, and Liljana felt privileged to have had the chance to meet each one of them personally.

Additionally, she thanked Mrs. Albana Murseli and Mrs. Feride Rushiti for their unwavering support in this project of Votra Inc.

Albana Murseli, a journalist in RTK

She expressed her gratitude for the guests’ precious time, their participation in the friendly dinner, and their support in promoting the book, “Eating Albanian,” which she co-wrote with Aferdita Delaj.

Finally, she extended a big thank you to her family, especially her husband, who had supported her throughout her life journey.

Throughout the evening, Liljana signed copies of “Eating Albanian”, for the attendees. 

Each autograph was accompanied by a personal message that reflected her deep appreciation for their contributions. 

The atmosphere was electric with feminine camaraderie and shared purpose. 

They all shared stories, danced, and enjoyed a delightful meal together, reminiscent of the joyous gatherings that have been a cornerstone of Albanian life for centuries.

Albanian women have always known that the significance of women supporting, helping, and celebrating each other’s achievements is a powerful force that nurtures a sense of sisterhood and collective empowerment. When women uplift one another, they dismantle barriers and create opportunities for growth and success across all areas of life. This beautiful solidarity not only magnifies individual accomplishments but also paves the way for future generations to flourish in an environment of mutual respect, inspiration, and shared joy.

Aferdita Delaj, the co-author of “Eating Albanian”, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the participants through a touching video message also. In the video, she thanked each woman for their invaluable contributions, emphasizing how their participation has brought the rich tapestry of Albanian culinary traditions to life. Aferdita highlighted the importance of the book in preserving these cherished recipes, which are more than just methods of cooking—they are stories of love, resilience, and cultural identity passed down through generations. She underscored that by sharing these recipes with the world, they are not only celebrating their heritage but also ensuring that future generations can connect with their roots and keep these beautiful traditions alive.

The book and the cooking videos by Votra Inc., showcase recipes that have been lovingly preserved through generations. 

These recipes are more than just instructions for making food; they are a tapestry of memories, love, and resilience. 

They tell the stories of women who have nurtured their families, maintained their traditions, and passed on their knowledge with pride and affection. This project has highlighted the importance of these culinary treasures, ensuring they continue to be cherished and celebrated by future generations. Sharing these recipes is a way of honoring our ancestors and keeping their legacy alive, allowing others to taste the history and culture that have shaped who we are.

Also, Albana Murseli and Feride Rushiti extended their heartfelt thanks to Liljana Gashi for the beautiful dinner and to both her and Aferdita Delaj for the incredible opportunity to play a pivotal role in the project in Kosovo. They also shared sincere gratitude with the participant ladies, expressing how honored they felt to tell the story of the kitchens of the Albanian Women of Kosovo. 

Albana and Feride conveyed that Sofra, filled with Albanian dishes, more than just a round table, is a celebration of love and tradition. 

Their words resonated deeply with everyone present, underscoring the importance of preserving and sharing their rich culinary heritage. Through this project of Votra Inc., they emphasized the significance of community and the bonds formed around these cherished traditions, leaving everyone with a renewed sense of pride and connection to their cultural roots.

Other ladies shared thankful messages also: 

“I am deeply grateful for the wonderful dinner and the opportunity to share my favorite recipes with the world.”

 “This dinner was a beautiful celebration of our culinary heritage, and I’m honored to have been part of it.”

 “Sharing my family’s cherished recipes through this project has been a dream come true.”

 “I feel blessed to have connected with so many amazing women and to have showcased our traditional dishes.”

 “Thank you, Liljana, for creating such a memorable evening and allowing us to share our culinary stories.”

 “This dinner has been a testament to the power of food in bringing people together.” 

“Being part of this project and sharing my recipes has been an incredible experience.” 

“I am honored to have my recipes featured and to celebrate our rich Albanian heritage.” 

“This dinner was a wonderful opportunity to bond and share our love for cooking.”

 “Thank you for this beautiful evening and for helping us share our culinary traditions with the world.”

As the evening drew to a close, the sense of fulfillment and joy was palpable. The event was a resounding success, not only in celebrating the rich culinary heritage of Kosovo but also in reinforcing the bonds between the women who participated. 

It was a testament to the power of community, tradition, and the shared love for the culture and cuisine that define Albanian life.

Liljana Gashi’s visit to Kosovo in May was more than just a trip; it was a heartfelt journey of discovery, connection, and celebration. Through her efforts and the unwavering support of Feride Rushiti and Albana Mursel, the event became a memorable tribute to the enduring legacy of Albanian women and their invaluable contributions to preserving and sharing their rich culinary heritage. 

This visit and the stories shared reaffirmed the importance of passing down old family recipes as part of our culture and heritage, ensuring they continue to nourish both the body and the soul for generations to come.

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