Jul 212015
Vice Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, explaining the Made in Italy strategy.

Vice-Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, explaining his strategy for educating the American consumer about authentic Italian products at the Javits Center’s Italian fashion fair.

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.

New York Italian Trade Commissioner Director, Maurizio Forte announces the launch of Made in Italy in New York

New York Italian Trade Commissioner Director, Maurizio Forte announces the launch of Made in Italy in New York

Italy's fashion artisans showcase their work at Milan Unica, Javits Center, NYC.

Italy’s fashion artisans showcase their work at Milan Unica, Javits Center, NYC.

That fine Italian hand: Italian designs on display.

That fine Italian hand: Italian designs on display.

There's a buzz.

There’s a buzz.

Creativity on display.

Creativity on display.


Photos by Nathan Hoyt.




Jun 162015
Rapini: Ultimate Italian Soul Food with 8 New Recipes for the Beloved Bitter Greens

You may know it as “broccoli rabe,” but any Italian will prickle at that mangled term for their beloved bitter greens. Here’s a crash course on how to pronounce it, cook it and love it, with eight terrific new recipes, read on….

May 302015
Grocers of Legend: From Fruit Stall to Food Empire and Embracing "Local"

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…]

May 132015
D'Ya Think the Italians Know How to Give a Party?  Arriverderci Pier Paolo!

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  

May 042015
Meating with the Stars at the Food Network Kitchen

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…]