December 10, 2019

Ambassador Perugini Hosts Luncheon

By Catherine Dailey.

The Hague’s elegant Restaurant des Juges, located in the Peace Palace complex, is one of the world’s most exclusive dining rooms. Last Friday, it was the venue for the “Ambassadors Luncheon” hosted by H.E. Mr. Andrea Perugini, the Republic of Italy’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  

H.E. Mr. Andrea Perugini, Ambassador of Italy.

The luncheon, part of the “Week of Extraordinary Italian Taste” program, featured a four-course menu. It was one of more than 1,000 unique gastronomic events, held in more than 100 countries from November 18-24, during Italy’s fourth annual week-long series of culinary and cultural programs designed to introduce Italy’s gastronomic traditions to the world.  “Food Education, the Culture of Taste” was the 2019 theme.

Permanent Representative of Germany to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Christine Weil and H.E. Hong Xu, Ambassador of China.

The menu featured regional specialities such as swordfish pie with eggplant and basil, risotto carnaroli with shrimps, red shrimps “Capitan Frank Style” and Sicilian cassata, cannoli, and fruit bellavista prepared under the oversight of Sicilian Chef Franco Guilio from Capo d’Orlando.  Chef Denis Botrot, of Restaurant des Juges, worked together with the Sicilian guest chef to prepare the luncheon.  

The ambassadors enjoyed a relaxing informal afternoon together in a club-like atmosphere of friendship and collegiality, as sunlight permeated a dining room offering panoramic views of one of the world’s most iconic symbols of peace—the Peace Palace.

Italian chefs working at the Restaurant des Judges’ kitchen.

Ambassador Perugini chose a Sicilian Chef to organize and prepare the menu for the luncheon. The decision was especially appropriate given that Sicily, a Mediterranean “cultural crossroads” has gastronomic and viticulture traditions developed over the course of millennia.

 The event, an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic, is organized in the Netherlands by the Italian Embassy in The Hague in cooperation with the Italian Chamber of Commerce and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura.  In addition, some sixteen Italian restaurants participated in the weeklong program designed to educate the public about the flavors of authentic food and the health benefits of the “Mediterranean Diet.”

Other Events, hosted or sponsored by the ambassador, were held at Europol, the European Space Agency (ESA ESTEC), the Hotel Crown Plaza Promenade, and more.  Several of the events were preceded by concerts performed by the Italian prodigy, pianist Daklen Difato, and Letizia Elsa Maula (clarinet) and Mario Rio (Cello). Both are internationally renowned musicians, who regularly perform together as the “Philia Duo.” 

Three local restaurants supporting the event include Da BracciniVino e Cucina and Bacca Perbacco.  In addition to programs which took place in the Netherlands during the past week; concerts, lectures, seminars, cooking classes, wine tastings, dinners, as well as various other culinary presentations and cultural initiatives such as movies and documentaries showcasing Italian food culture and traditions, were organized throughout the world. 

H.E. Archbishop, Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio and Belgium’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Mr. William Roelants de Stappers.

The “Mediterranean Diet”, the essence of Italian food culture, was added to UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage to Humanity in 2013.  This year, the “Week of Italian Gastronomy in the World” placed a special emphasis on the “Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene” located not far from Venice, in north-eastern Italy.

The area, which includes part of the vine growing landscape of the Prosecco wine production area, was recognized by UNESCO in July of this year, for being of “outstanding universal value.” The Prosecco region is Italy’s second wine producing region to receive such a distinction—the first being “the Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Lange Roero and Monferrato.”

In 2015, the city of Parma, home to the corporate headquarters of Barilla, the world’s largest producer of pasta, and a major supporter of Italy’s worldwide “Week of Italian Taste” event, was the first Italian city to receive the UNESCO “Creative City” award for demonstrating “tradition, talent and innovation” in gastronomy.  

ALMA, the famed international culinary school and the Academia Barilla are also located in Parma. Barilla’s 14,000 volume gastronomic library and 5,000 plus collection of historic menus are of particular interest to both professional foodies and culinary adventurers.

While the week of “Italian Gastronomy to the World” has become a new “tradition” of promoting Italian food culture abroad, Italy has long been appreciated by “foodies” for a long-standing tradition of regional culinary food festivals taking place throughout the entire year. Noteworthy is Alba, the capital of Piedmont, which has also been recognized as a “Creative City” for gastronomic excellence. Today, the “Truffle” city, closed the  89th International White Truffle Festival!

Epicureans, wishing to further explore Italy’s gastronomic traditions and cultures, are invited to visit the “Gastronomy” page of the “Travel Ideas” section of the Italian National Tourist Board for more than thirty suggestions for the very best of Italy’s authentic culinary inspired experiences.

Twitter:

@ItalyMFA @ERTourism @UNESCO #ItalianTaste2019 #HelpVenice

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