The kick-off conference of the 5th edition of the “Week of Italian Cuisine” took place 18 November at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Garden City.
The Week of Italian Cuisine is an annual event, held all over the world by diplomatic and consular offices, Italian cultural institutes, and the Italian Trade Agency network, and aims to promote Italian food and culinary traditions as a distinctive trait of Italian identity and culture.
The conference was presented by director of the Egyptian Chefs Association (ECA) Ashraf Gamal, who gave a brief introduction on the popularity of Italian cuisine in Egypt and all over the world in the presence of a number of Egyptian chefs, food bloggers and media figures.
Italian Ambassador Giampaolo Cantini speaks at the conference of the Italian Cuisine Week
This was followed by a welcome speech of Italian Ambassador in Egypt Giampaolo Cantini, who said, “Italian cuisine is distinguished among other cuisines for celebrating the value of tasting based on very high quality and original components. The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and Italian cultural institutes organise the “Week of Italian Cuisine” every year in the same time, so it became a tradition that promotes this year authentic Italian coffee and gelato.”
“Promoting healthy Italian cuisine helps in protecting world food security. Italy cooperates with the FAO as well as other NGO’s in Italy and is supported by the EU to reduce hunger and malnutrition worldwide. In Egypt, Italy supported financially Al-Minya, Al-Fayoum and Marsa Matrouh governorates in planting high quality fig, olive and grapes. Italy also supports Italian restaurants in Egypt, through providing them with Italian products. The “Week of Italian Cuisine” contributes to the spread of knowledge about the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet, to encourage consumer awareness in promoting healthy, carefully selected ingredients in line with Italian tradition in this field,” Cantini added.
Attending the conference was director of the ITA Francesco Pagnini who said: “The Italian government has adopted a plan directed at promoting Made in Italy products in the world. Special attention is dedicated to the support of the agro-food industry and food production, strategic assets of the so-called 'Italian Country System.' In this framework, the Week of Italian Cuisine is a project that aims at involving the whole network of Italian institutions worldwide in the valorisation of food traditions and food production, healthy and natural ingredients and cooking savoir-faire: in two words, the Mediterranean diet.”
“The Week of Italian Cuisine project, in its 5th edition, intends to capitalise on the positive trend of the food sector. The week reaches every year tens of thousands of customers, giving them the tools to make informed choices while selecting ingredients for their meals. The results of past editions are impressive; more than a thousand events organised overall in more than 100 countries have allowed the attention of international consumers to focus on Italian cuisine and Made in Italy products,” Pagnini explained.
The conference showed two videos on Italy as the healthiest country in the world, as the producer of over 600 varieties of cheese, the pasta leader for over 500 years, with over 150 years' experience in producing tomato sauce, and number one country in producing extra virgin olive oil.
(L-r) Chef Abdallah Ashraf, Director of the ECA Ashraf Gamal, chef Hussein Saleh, Director of the ITA Francesco Pagnini, chef Salma Abdel-Hady (Photo courtesy of Dottopia)
Following this, the director of the ECA presented the three winners of the Italian cooking competition of the International Hotel Supplies and Catering Equipment Fair (HACE), that took place 16 November: Syrian Hussein Saleh and the Egyptians Salma Abdel-Hady and Abdallah Ashraf.
Pagnini then listed the week’s variety of events. During the week (22-26 November), prestigious restaurants in Cairo, Sharm El-Sheikh and Alexandria will develop a special menu inspired by the culinary traditions and typical ingredients of Italian cuisine.
The “Astronauts Eat Italian” webinar with Professor Claudio Margottini, former scientific officer of the Italian embassy, will focus on the nutrition of astronauts participating in space missions, and will be held on Wednesday, 25 November, at 6pm. The Italian astronaut Roberto Vettori will participate online, via video link, giving his direct testimony. The webinar is organised by the Italian Cultural Institute in Zamalek.
Meanwhile, a “Coffee and Ice Cream Tasting” training session will be given by Ahmed Nassar from Illy Coffee Academy at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Rooftop in Cairo on Thursday, 26 November, 12-5pm.
In addition, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, videos and QR codes of different Italian recipes will be made available.
For more information see: https://www.facebook.com/theweekoftheitaliancuisine