Italian Cuisine Week, an initiative run by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its international diplomatic network, promotes Italian culinary identity and the Italian agrifood sector. This year, twenty events were held in London over the course of the week, coordinated by the Embassy of Italy.
The second edition of Italian Cuisine Week came to a close on Sunday 26 November. The Week, an initiative run by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestries and the Accademia della Cucina Italiana, is a legacy of Expo Milan 2015 and aims to promote Italian culinary culture around the world.
Twenty events were held in London this year – almost twice as many as last year – thanks to the involvement of numerous members of the sistema Italia: the UK delegation of the Accademia della Cucina Italiana; the Italian Trade Agency; the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the UK, the Italian Cultural Institute, and the Italian Tourist Board, who worked together with partners in a range of sectors including agrifood, trade associations, institutions, finance, media, academia and even literature.
In the UK the themes of the Week included the potential for partnerships between Italian and British chefs; sustainability and the circular economy, innovation; the impact of Brexit on the agrifood sector; the value of the Mediterranean diet, the health benefits offered by the social aspects of Italian food culture; and Italy’s leading role in the food industry.
As with last year, Italian Cuisine Week in the UK coincided with Food Matters Live, a high-profile trade fair attended by a range of global stakeholders, where Italian innovations were presented, including ground-breaking start-ups and products certified as halal and kosher.
The events held during the Week included round-table discussions, seminars, exhibitions, conversations, masterclasses, and opportunities to socialise over food and drink.
Among the high-profile figures who participated were the former Italian president, Mario Monti; the chefs Livia and Alfonso Iaccarino, Giorgio Locatelli, James Dugan, Enzo Oliveri and Francesco Mazzei; academics and researchers such as Sonia Dagnino and Stefano Predieri; the author Simonetta Agnello Hornby; and managers and trade representatives such as Luigi Scordamaglia.
The initiative aimed to maintain and strengthen Italian leadership in the UK and to promote Italy’s capacity to innovate and generate best practices in matters such as sustainable production and consumption and food security. This leadership is based on Italy’s agroindustrial sector and related technologies – the second most important sector in Italy’s economy in terms of employment, output and export. The overall aim was to help Italy’s agrifood exports reach a value of €50bn by 2020 (from a current value of €40bn).