Italian cuisine has cemented its spot as one of the most flavoursome cuisines in the world and rightly so. Celebrating those authentic flavours is the World Week of Italian Cuisine — an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. Organised across the world, it is now in its sixth edition. The focus of this initiative lies in “promoting Italian cuisine and the uniqueness of original Italian ingredients and products”.
Kolkata saw its version of the celebration on an evening that was complete with pizza and wine. Hosted by the consul general of Italy in Kolkata, Gianluca Rubagotti, the Night of Pizza Napoletana, was held at the Italian consulate.
“We tried to merge everything Italian here today. There is Italian pizza, wine and even an art corner. We tried to bring in the essence of an authentic Italian evening. There are different kinds of pizzas and pizza Napoletana is different from the others, as it has got a thicker crust and is a bit soggy on the inside,” explained Rubagotti.
The deputy consul general, Maria Claudia Marini, who has recently arrived in Kolkata, said, “This event happens everywhere in the world, where our embassy and the consulates promote Italian food and authentic products. Right now, there is not much available in terms of authentic Italian products here (in Kolkata) and there is space to improve, especially because the people here do have means to afford it.”
As a part of True Italian Taste project, the Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) within its Authentic Italian Table activity, also organised a display of 11 Italian ingredients that are available in India, thanks to select importers. They include artichokes, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Extra Virgin Olive Oils (Evoo), peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, truffles and truffle oil from nine original Italian brands like Boscovivo, Dolce Vita, Barberra, Madama Oliva, Ponti, Rosso Gargano, Solania SRL and Urbani Truffle. The objective of True Italian Taste is to let consumers know about Italian products, their origin, the sustainable means with which they are produced and then guide them to choose the right, made-in-Italy products.
The event also featured imported Italian wine and along with it, pizzas from Kolkata’s very own — Fabbrica. Sealing it off were desserts from Ciocaffe — a Kolkata-based Italian confectionery. “I am trying to introduce some items which are basically regional items of Italy. Each region has its own typical food, just like north India has its naan and such. So that people come to know that Italy is not only pizza and pasta,” said Monica Galbardi, CEO and managing director, Ciocaffe, who baked a south Italian snack, taralli, for the evening. These bite-sized baked, cracker-like goodies were available for guests to taste as well as take home. There were a number of photographs scattered around the venue, showcasing various stages of pizza-making.
The pizzas with mouth-watering cheese were cooked to perfection. “I have been a huge Italian buff ever since I was a kid. I was lucky enough to travel a lot because of my parents and I was exposed to authentic Italian cuisine at a very early age and I think that’s what’s really transpired into Fabbrica. The style of pizza that we were doing, when we started off, not a lot of people knew about. It’s actually the purest form of pizza and this style of pizza has actually got a heritage value from the United Nations. We are trying to uphold those traditions through our recipes and our style of making it. We are trying to emulate all the traditions from Naples and Italy,” said Naman Dhandhania, director, Fabbrica.
The Napoletana-style pizzas that originated in Naples and are known for their simple toppings, airy crust and extra sauce, included Margherita Con Bufala, Tartufo, Quattro Formaggi, Prosciutto, Salami and Speck. Patatine —home-made potato crisps, served with fresh pesto, was on the menu too.
Pankaj Parekh, chairman, Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with Maria Claudia Marini, deputy consul general, consulate general of Itay in Kolkata.
Guests were treated to authentic Italian Spumante or sparkling wine — imported from Italy, which were ideal for a fresh, bubbly and crisp drink.
Pictures: Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata