i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 34

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Dining In
Taking Italy toYour FamilyTable
authentic Italian food products
to the American table,” said
Mr. Celeste. “Italy is a nation
steeped in tradition, culture,
beauty and good taste. What
better way to convey all its
richness than a massive sprawl
of the best there is in Italian
gastronomy? As you walk
through our area you’ll find
yourself on a gustatory trip
from the cool Italian North
to the sunny, Mediterranean-
washed South.”
Fancy Food is clearly a fair
for professionals, well known
to those in the industry. To
us, however, it seems like an
excellent occasion for all.
“Yes, definitely, you can
find the biggest players in
the Italian agribusiness
representing their products.
But it’s a real ‘Made in Italy’
fair, an enjoyable excursion for
everyone.”
The quality standard of
Italian products is directly
linked to the region from
which they come. Each
product gains its unique
flavor because it comes from a
certain area whose conditions
cannot be replicated
elsewhere.
“The Italian government is
getting serious about defending
food made in Italy and the
Italian Trade Agency is helping
out in many different ways.
We advise Italian producers
to draw attention to the
specific quality indications,
such as the PDO (Protected
Designation of Origin), which
identifies the designation of
a product that is produced,
processed and prepared in a
specific geographic area; and
the PGI (Protected Geographical
Indication), which certifies
at least one of the phases
(production, processing,
preparation) takes place in
a specific geographic area.
There is also TSG (Traditional
Specialty Guaranteed), which
guarantees that a food has
been traditionally produced,
processed or made with
traditional raw materials, but
that does not certify that the
protected food product has
a link to a specific place of
origin.”
to be legalized in the US, and
progress is being made.”
Meanwhile how are food and
wine exports to the US going
in general?
“It’s going great. At the end of
2013, Italy ranked 8th among
nations exporting food and
beverages to the US, with an
increase of 7.20%, but came
in a secure first place in the
most important categories,
such as olive oil, cheese, pasta
and wine. In 2013, Italian food
exports to the U.S. rose to $4
billion, $1.6 billion of which is
in the wine sector alone.
What explains this success?
“This increase in Italian food
exports is due to the fact that
Americans have become more
health conscious and have
realized that Italian products
not only taste good, they’re
also good for your health.
Authenticity, quality and good
nutrition all come together in
the Mediterranean diet. Try it
yourself at the Summer Fancy
Food Show, where you can taste
Italy away from Italy.”
We often ear that the
Italian Trade Agency has an
educational function too. What
does this mean?
“We advise Italian producers
on how to invest in the
American market and, most
importantly, to educate
consumers. That is our mission
too. Education is important and
it’s achieved through tastings.
At the Fancy Food Show
people will have the chance to
taste the high quality of our
products. They will be able
to tell the difference between
lower quality products.”
All foods and beverages will
be displayed and offered for
sampling, from olive oil (the
most widely-represented
group) and balsamic vinegar
to preserved vegetables, from
fresh pasta to baked goods,
from ready-to-eat meals to
organic cheeses and meats.
Coffee, soft drinks, wines and
liqueurs will also be displayed.
Anything special this year?
“Well, there will be more gluten-
free and organic products than
before. And we’ll have Chinotto,
a soft drink that Americans are
not so familiar with. Chinotto
is produced from the juice of
the fruit of the myrtle-leaved
orange tree and its appearance
is similar to that of cola. It’s not
as sweet but it’s rather bitter.
Chinotto soda dates back to the
1950s and is produced in Italy by
different companies.”
As for the classic Italian
delicacy – cured meats,
or salumi – last year at
Fancy Food the Italian
Salumi Promotion Institute
announced that a 40-year ban
on the importation of Italian
Salumi had been lifted, and
taught the American food
trade all about meat products
such as salami, pancetta,
coppa and other cured meats
that had been aged under 400
days. Are things progressing
in this realm?
“Yes, there are new salumi
like Prosciutto Toscano,
which got its PDO in July 1996.
Tuscan salt-cured ham has
been made in Tuscany since
the 15th century. It is aged for
at least one year and cured
with a blend of natural spices
commonly used in traditional
Tuscan cuisine, such as pepper,
garlic, rosemary and juniper.
This results in a more intense
and spicy flavor compared
with Prosciutto di Parma
and Prosciutto San Daniele.
Prosciutto Toscano has been
available in the US since 2013.
But there are more cured
meats that are still waiting
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