From 21 to 27 November, with the coordination of the Italian Foreign Ministry, a series of initiatives aiming to highlight quality Italian cuisine and in support of Italy’s agrobusiness sector, will for the first time take place in the United Kingdom and other 104 countries.
The many gastronomic traditions of Italy are among the most fundamental aspects of Italian identity. The evolution of food production and processing has, over the centuries, constituted a necessary response to the most fundamental of human needs, but more than that, it has come to define the Italian culture and transform the physical landscape, testifying to some of the most distinctive characteristics of Italian society. It is no coincidence that the 2015 Universal Exposition in Milan was dedicated to food and the challenges of feeding the world population over the coming century.
Following up on the themes developed at Expo Milan 2015, the Italian government has created a strategic plan for supporting agroindustry and Italian culinary practices around the world. To this end, a memorandum of understanding was signed in March by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; the Ministry of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; the Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research, aimed at promoting high-quality Italian cuisine around the world. This memorandum of understanding was the springboard for the initiative of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World.
The initiative will be held simultaneously in 105 countries from 21 to 27 November. Over 1300 events are planned, promoting Italian culinary tradition as one of the defining aspects of Italian excellence, in the sense not only of savoir faire but also of savoir vivre. The common thread running through all these events is Italian gastronomy, centering on authentic traditions and high-quality products, but space will also be made for other sectors widely associated with Italy, such as art, music, science, business, cinema and design. Events, among others, will include conferences, workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, themed dinners, tasting sessions, and masterclasses with sought-after Italian chefs.
In the UK, the programme for the week will be coordinated by the Italian Embassy, with the expertise of a team that brings together institutions, businesses, chefs and sommeliers, all ambassadors of the Italian lifestyle. The week will open with a screening of the documentary Marchesi. The Great Italian, dedicated to the master chef Gualtieri Marchesi, and will end with a gala dinner courtesy of the chef Francesco Mazzei, an icon of Italian cuisine in London. Bookended by these two events will be a stimulating programme of scientific seminars, presentations on the culture of the Italian aperitivo, film screenings, workshops run by the Embassy chef Danilo Cortellini, initiatives on organic and religious (halal, kosher) food certifications, book launch events and round tables, including discussions with representatives of the Italian Imaginative Innovators initiative (the Embassy’s “Triple I conversations” series).
– Please note that the events taking place at the Excel Centre are part of “Food Matters Live” and that registration on their website is required to access those events