Think Italy. Think food. This was the main takeaway as friends and partners of Italy gathered in Accra on November 15 to celebrate the 7th edition of the Italian Cuisine Week in the World. Hosted by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), the celebration took place as part of the global festival of Italian food and wine held annually in November.
The inspiration for the Italian Cuisine Week is simple: Italy has much to offer the world through cuisine. Why is this so? The art and traditions of food constitute a vital ingredient of Italian culture. In Italy, food is not just nourishment but also lifestyle. It is a source of pride, and sharing it is a means for bonding. Italians love and respect food, and tend to it with utmost pleasure, care, and sensitivity. This passion has sustained centuries of culinary traditions and innovations that the country has been sharing with the world.
“We want to share a bit of Italian happiness and passion for food and wine with our friends in Ghana,” said Ambassador Daniela d’Orlandi as she opened the celebration at the Italian residence in Accra. The night featured a panoply of Italian delicacies and wines for the enjoyment of guests and celebrants, who included diplomats, business executives, entertainers, and government officials.
The menu, prepared by local Italian restaurants that partnered the event, had specialties like bruschette, lasagna, parmigiana, porchetta, panzerotti, insalata tropicale, calamari fritti, gnocchi sorrentina, risotto all’amarone, pizza margherita, and pizza diavola. For wine, the eclectic range, chosen from different regions of Italy, included Amarone della Valpolicella, Serna Rosso I.G.T., Canti Asti, Barolo DOCG Palás, Colonnara, Verdicchio classico, Primitivo di manduria, Negramaro Salento IGP, Santo Ippolito, and Lambruscone.
Paying tribute to her country’s exceptionally diverse viniculture, Ambassador d’Orlandi said: “Italy has been producing wine for 4,000 years. There are 590 varieties of grapes, and all of the 20 Italian regions produce wine. So there is a wine for every palate.”
Alessandro Gerbino, the West Africa Director of ITA, also stated: “Italy has the greatest amount of grapes in the world. It has a very diverse climate from north to south, and this allows a very big and diverse production. So you will always find the right wine for you.”
The annual festival of Italian cuisine is an occasion to bring people together through food and wine, Gerbino added. “As food and wine is one of the many things that Italy is known for, we want Ghanaians to savor it so they can appreciate Italy’s culinary diversity, quality, and uniqueness.”
Another aim of Italy in marking the annual Cuisine Week is to promote values associated with its culinary culture which the country holds dear. This can be seen in the theme for this year’s celebration—“Conviviality, sustainability and innovation: the ingredients of Italian cuisine to keep us healthy and protect the planet.”
Conviviality captures the essence of food and its enjoyment as a means to promote family and friendship. Sustainability shows the need for food to be healthy for people and sustainable for the planet. Innovation is about Italy’s world-renowned skills and artisanship in cuisine, which make the country and its regions a rich source of products and services for the world.
“These are the values we want to share with our friends and partners,” said Gerbino, “as we also promote Made-in-Italy products to the Ghanaian market.”
The 7th Italian Cuisine Week in the World celebration in Accra was supported by 14 food and wine partners. The food partners were Newco Catering & Logistics Ltd., which provides catering services to the oil and gas, mining, and other industries; Pomona, one of the best Italian restaurants in Accra; Country Club, a high-end hospitality business located in the Trasacco Valley luxury estate; and Pinocchio, the ice cream business whose gelato is the best in Accra. The wine partners, comprising both local and international wine traders, were 8ORO, San Marzano, Say Cheers, Grandi Vini d’Italia, Moncaro, Unexpected Italian, Barona, Imexco, Panific, and Africa Wine Club.