How to dine in Venice, a fishy tale…
I’ve been on my soapbox for years about the fakery of too many products being passed off as Italian when, in fact, they are not. Wisconsin “Parmesan” isn’t parmigiano-reggiano, the true Parma cheese crafted with 800 years of knowhow and tradition behind it. Canned tomatoes are brazenly branded “San Marzano” when they have never been kissed by the Italian sun. It’s the age-old problem of profiteers making off with Italy’s good name — and benefiting from its cachet. No more. Italy has a plan. It’s called the “Made in Italy” campaign and it aims to educate, promote, and protect the genius and high quality of Italian artisanal products abroad. Carlo Calenda, Italy’s Vice Minister of Economic Development, was in New York City today with the new Director of the Italian Trade Commission, Maurizio Forte, and other top officials, announcing the launch of their “Special Fashion Plan for the U.S.A.” Excited as I was to hear this for the fashion industry, I asked the Minister how the strategy relates to the food sector. “We’ll be working with the F.D.A. to protect our trademarks and geographical indications through official channels,” he said. I’d say that’s very good news.
Photos by Nathan Hoyt.
Once upon time, there was Balducci’s, the grocery-cum-take-out market that started people thinking about real Italian cooking at the outset of America’s food revolution. Maybe they even started it, at least the Italian flank. NYC was the epicenter of the foment in those days and it sent shock waves across America. In the 1970s, when other “Italian” grocers were selling the usual American-Italian provisions and Italian-style restaurants were still thinking along the lines of tomato sauce and blankets of cheese on top of everything, or branding their restaurants “Northern Italian” (only the color of the sauce changed, from the perfunctory red to indiscriminate white), […more…]
A few weeks ago a message arrived in my inbox announcing that The Italian Trade Commissioner, Pier Paolo Celeste, is off to a new post in Moscow, and of course, there would be a little send-off. I don’t deny I was feeling sad about his leaving, as we’ll miss the creativity and vigor he brought while in New York City. Here’s to your mission in Moscow, Pier Paolo. Stay warm and in bocca al lupo! — You sure know how to give a party! Photos: ©Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2015
When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually hesitate before answering. Writer? Journalist? Chef? Cook? Teacher? Story teller? Food advocate? Environmentalist? All of those descriptives are true for me, as they are for so many of us. Food can’t be separated from its source and what happens to it on its way to our plates. Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit that educates about a better food system and celebrates the best in American cooking, is made up of hundreds of chefs, cooks, growers, farmers, fisher people, ranchers, cheese makers, artisans, writers, reporters, publishers, educators, activists — and it’s a mighty brain trust. Its […more…]