A worldwide Week of Italian Cuisine was celebrated in Israel November 20-26, 2017, with meals, master classes, movie screenings, symposia and other activities highlighting the second time this initiative was marked in this country. Under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy in Israel, the Week of Italian Cuisine enjoyed the active support of the local chapter of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, which sponsored several events promoting awareness of and appreciation for the culinary arts of our Mediterranean neighbor to the west.

 

 

The special guest of the Week of Italian Cuisine in Israel this year was visiting chef Cristina Bowerman, President of the Association of Italian Ambassadors of Taste, who has a Michelin Star to her credit. The week’s events were inaugurated on November 20 at a gala dinner at the residence of Italy’s ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Gianluigi Benedetti, who delivered the following remarks at the gathering:

“Welcome to the Residence of the Embassy of Italy, to the dining table of the genius chef Cristina Bowerman, and welcome to the Israeli edition of the World Week of Italian Cuisine.

“This initiative takes place from 20 to 26 November in more than 100 countries all over the world, with the aim of promoting Italian culinary traditions. It is at the kitchen where all our values as Italians meet - values of quality and originality, of sustainability, of cultural heritage, and of food security.

“We Italians are indeed what we eat, what we cook, what we harvest and produce. I invite you to join us at one - or why not more!- of our activities this week: workshops, personal meetings with chefs, food-and-wine tasting events, dinners, commercial promotion collaborations and cooking classes. These activities are the fruit of the collaboration between several Italian bodies that deserve our gratitude: the Italian Cultural Institute, the Italian Trade Agency, the Israeli-Italian Chamber of Commerce, and finally to the Accademia della Cucina.

“I am delighted to present to you the starred chef Cristina Bowerman, our special guest of the Settimana Della Cucina. Chef Bowerman is a real embodiment of Italian creativity and innovation, as you will personally get to acknowledge tonight.

“Federico Fellini used to say that ‘life is a combination of magic and pasta.’ We are thankful to [sponsors] Consorzio Grana Padana, IIlly, Antinori, Disaronno, Acqua Panna e San Pellegrino, the importers HaCarem and Tempo, for allowing us to show you some Italian magic today.”

Guests at the ambassadorial launch -- included Israeli composer/singer Matti Caspi -- were treated to Ms. Bowerman’s creations of antipasti and small plates, two pasta dishes, and two desserts. Excellent wines from Italy were also served.

On Thursday, November 23, the Italian Academy of Cuisine sponsored a tour of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market. Led by Master Chef winner  Massimiliano Di Matteo , the tour of the “shuk” focused on places specializing in Italian food.

The first stop on the tour was M-25, a restaurant-cum-butcher shop that was inspired by Italian chef Dario Cecchini. M-25 conducts workshops that teach handling and preparation of every cut of beef. Participants in the tour were treated to tastings of beef tartare and meatballs.  

Established just four months ago, Bocca Bocca is a stand that sells Italian street food, emphasizing dishes quite different from the usual restaurant fare of pasta and pizza. Bocca Bocca serves daily specials, such as focaccia topped with roast beef and Arancini, for the very reasonable price of NIS 25. Participants also tasted the proprietor’s homemade limoncello liqueur.  

Arte Glideria, an ice cream shop on Nahalat Binyamin Street, serves award-winning Italian gelato from Tuscany and handmade ices crafted in the tradition of Sicily. The proprietors, originally from Milan, carefully source the finest quality fresh ingredients in the Carmel and Lewinsky markets. Arte even offers low-sugar, vegan and gluten-free gelati and sorbetti, all available for tasting before purchasing. In addition to five varieties of chocolate, Arte is always inventing new flavors, and has introduced an innovative line of Mediterranean flavors created in collaboration with noted Chef Nir Zuk.

During this stop, participants were also treated to authentic Roman pastries originating from Delizie, a kosher pasticceria and restaurant located on Ben Yehudah 41.  

Finally, back in the heart of the marketplace, the tour visited Davka Gourmet, a cheesemonger that imports fine cheeses from Italy, including wheels of Gran Padano Parmigiano.  

On Friday, November 24, the Italian Academy of Cuisine, in conjunction with Israel-Italy Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Italian Culture, organized an academic brunch at La Repubblica di Ronimotti, the restaurant of Chef Motti Sofer.

Guests were greeted by Dr. Cinzia Klein, Delegate of the Italian Academy of Cuisine in Israel, and Dr. Massimo Sarti, director of the Institute of Italian Culture in Tel Aviv. The brunch was also the occasion for the launch of the book Carciofi alla Giudia (referring to a Roman-Jewish recipe for artichokes). Author Elisabetta Fiorito discussed her book with journalist Fabiana Magri.

The brunch menu featured eggs, olives, salad, breads, cheeses, artichokes, marmalade, desserts and Italian wine. Among the guests were businessman Ambassador (ret.) Amos Radian and Ron Fogel, Bailiff-Delegate of the Israel chapter of the Chaine des Rotisseurs.

 

 

 Photos Silvia G  Golan  

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