Active Ingredients – Cooking in a Melting Pot, was an exchange which took place in the wonderful and stunning
area of the Mazury Lakes In Poland from the 13th to 22nd June 2011. It saw the participation of 30 other youths
coming from 3 different youth organisations in Europe, namely Membrillos por el Mundo an organisation from
Cordoba Spain, Malta Unesco Youth Association from Malta and the hosting organisation from Warsaw Poland.
On 12th June, when we, the 7 maltese participants landed in Poland we had a first day for ourselves in Krakow,
since we had decided to spend a Sunday together to get to know each other better. This was a very good idea
because it served to break the ice through the smallest of things, even deciding together where we wanted to
visit and what we wanted to see. Even though all of us had different tastes and opinions, we spent a very nice
day together touring the city’s attractions. In the long run, this did us a lot of good in terms of team-building and
preparing us for the week ahead!
The day after we headed out to Warsaw by train to meet all the other participants from Poland and Spain. What
impressed us in the group was that all of them were such nice and warm-hearted people; you immediately felt like
you knew them forever.
We had cooking workshops including basic kitchen practises. We had to work in team from the 3 countries and
this help alot for the 30 participants to be able to work with each other. Almost none of the participants have
ever worked in a kitchen, but creativity and imagination have led to wonderful meals everyday both for lunch
and dinner. Other workshops that we had, was on preparing serviettes according to the occasion, the history of
ingredients in europe and worldwide. It amazing to know the history and origin of certain ingredients, as we now
take for granted. In truth there are vast stories behind every ingredient and mixtures we do have in every kitchen,
most of which include ancient cultures and explorers who discovered these things and exported them globally. We
also had the opportunity to have a demonstration of how polish cottage cheese is made... the smell is not that nice
but we must say that the taste is better than the smell.
Activities apart from the cooking workshops were fantastic, including the canoeing trip around the lake, the daily
energizers and games, lakeside cookout and the rest!
Each country had the opportunity to participate in the intercultural evenings spread over 3 evenings. As usual the maltese team had loads of food and drinks to share with others. We also had the opportunity to participate in a local festival in Milki where we meet locals, played beach volley and shared our own traditional food, which indeed poles like our qassatat (which we prepared in the morning), maltese bread and beer we must say!
We must say that the exchange was very well-organised by Magda and Giovann, a Maltese chef who managed the
cooking workshops – a sincere thank you from all the group!