Viva Italia: New York, Jan.11-17

Italy Week, New York, Jan.11-17

Jan.11-12, International Culinary Institute hosts Italian Chefs in its annual Italian Culinary awards program.  Winners include Master pastry Chef Gianluca Fusto; Master Chef Pietro Zito for  pasta; Master Butcher Simone Frascassi, for salami, salsiccia; Pizza Masters Massimiliano Crocetti and Domenico Crolla; Michelin star chefs Gennaro Esposito and Pino Cuttaia, both of whom offered a Master Class demonstration of their classic dishes in this two-day event at the ICI, located on Broadway and Grand sts., in New York City. At this I was able to sample a variety of regional dishes. My favorites  included Ossobuco Milanese, and various types of Rissoto. I also witnessed the making of fresh pasta, exquisite Neopolitan style pizza, and hefty provisions of salsiccia and salami. Wow! Also served in bold presence was the ever popular formaggio Grana Padana  now produced in five regions of Italy, I’m told. Their Grande Riserva, aged for 20 months or more is considered world-class. Choice of beverage included acqua Ferrelle  and Illy coffee from Trieste, Italy. Master Chef and Dean of the Italian Studies program at the ICI, Cesare Casella, officiated. This event is to follow on Jan.17 with the International Day of Italian Cuisines, a global event.

In this same week the region of Marche is here to celebrate its heritage through some of its  popular wines, natural food products, travel, theatre and art. On Friday, the 13th, salumeria Di Pola, a 100 year plus fixture on Grand Street in Little Italy will showcase its fare in an invitation only event from 5-8pm. Pasta Campofilone will be introduced by Vincenzo Spinosi, iconic producer from that region who states  ” we still break our eggs by hand.” Distillery Varnelly will provide a sampling of traditional products also while the Domodimonti Natural Wine group will oblige the guests with its varietals from its Ascoli Piceno precinct. The tasting then moves uptown to Eataly, a younger station but perhaps NYC’s largest emporium for traditional Italalian products. This takes place on Saturday, the 14th from 12-8pm at their 23rd street location.  In their Eccellenze Corner the tasting will however run from noon to closing. Not to be undone, the region will also celebrate its artistic measurements with a featured performance of Alexis, A Greek Tragedy, performed by Motus. Both The New York Times and I-Italy, a national web-site applauded this rendition of the ancient Greek play by Antigone.The La Mama Theatre in the East Village is the locale. Says Gilberto Santini of AMAT, the organizers of the event, ” At the beginning of each show we provide each viewer with an elegant program containing, along with the plot of the show, also detailed information about our region.”

A more detailed view of the Italian Genius may be experienced in a large panoramic display at the Italian Cultural Institute located on Park Avenue and 68th Street in New York City. The program runs through February.

Michael Zufolo, reporting

About The Author

Michael Zufolo, Producer/Co-Host of Let's Travel! Radio

Michael has been an active player in Media Relations and Marketing for the past 30 years with stints at The New York Times, Forbes, WOR Radio, TV Channel 11, Attenzione Magazine,, and with participation in the Caribbean Tourism Org.,/ CTO, the Pacific Travel Assn./ PATA, the Foreign Press Assn./ FPA, and the International Society of Travel Writers/ ISTR. Libra/ America, his latest signature, provides travel opportunities to VIP travelers and groups world-wide. Let’s Travel! Radio is an extension of his experiences.

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