Cel­e­brate au­then­tic Italy at gala din­ner

The Georgia Straight - - News - By Photo by Kp­cofgs

(This story is spon­sored by GIA and Na­tional Im­porters Canada Ltd.)

They say that the way to a per­son’s heart is through their stom­ach. And for that rea­son, our love af­fair with Italy is one of our most pas­sion­ate. At the hands of an Ital­ian, food be­comes so much more than just sus­te­nance. It’s emo­tional. In fact, eat­ing has be­come so in­grained in the coun­try’s de­li­cious cul­ture and his­tory that it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to think of Italy with­out think­ing about some of its gas­tro­nomic delights.

And while eat­ing well is some­thing that peo­ple in Italy par­take in year-round, the “Week of the Ital­ian Cui­sine in the World”, tak­ing place Novem­ber 19 to 25, gives the rest of us the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate and in­dulge in the coun­try’s culi­nary ex­cel­lence. Now in its third year, the week will see more than one thou­sand events be­ing held around the world pro­mot­ing Italy’s agri­food in­dus­try.

The Ital­ian Cham­ber of Com­merce in Canada–west (ICCCW) has op­er­ated since 1992 as a pri­vate, non­profit, mem­ber­ship or­ga­ni­za­tion with the goal of en­hanc­ing busi­ness, trade, and in­vest­ment ex­changes be­tween Italy and Western Canada. So to mark the week-long oc­ca­sion, the ICCCW has part­nered with the Re­gione Emilia Ro­magna, Union­camere Emilia Ro­magna, Enoteca Re­gionale Emilia Ro­magna, APT Emilia Ro­magna, Casa Ar­tusi, and the Con­sulate Gen­eral of Italy to put on a very spe­cial se­ries of events in Van­cou­ver. The city will play host to a del­e­ga­tion of more than 15 food com­pa­nies from Emilia Ro­magna, a re­gion in north­ern Italy cel­e­brated all around the world as the home­land of many of the coun­try’s most fa­mous del­i­ca­cies. Think Prosci­utto di Parma, Parmi­giano Reg­giano, Bolog­nese, tortellini, Bal­samic Vine­gar of Mo­dena, and so much more.

And if you’re al­ready sali­vat­ing at the thought, then you’re in luck. That’s be­cause on Wed­nes­day (Novem­ber 21st), the ICCCW in­vites you to join the Ex­tra­or­di­nary Emilia Ro­magna!, an ex­clu­sive gala din­ner and pasta-mak­ing show tak­ing place at Van­cou­ver’s Westin Bayshore (1601 Bayshore Drive). The su­pe­rior culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence will in­clude a fab­u­lous seven-course din­ner served with premium Ital­ian wines, all in­spired by the re­gion’s tra­di­tional recipes. Guests will be treated to three buf­fet ap­pe­tiz­ers, two en­trées, a main, and, of course, gelato. There will then be a fresh pasta-mak­ing demon­stra­tion led by the “Ma­ri­ette” teach­ers from Casa Ar­tusi, a cen­tre ded­i­cated to re­gional Ital­ian cui­sine and its rich cul­ture. So in an evening that’s sure to be full of sur­prises, there’s also the unique op­por­tu­nity to learn a se­cret recipe for the per­fect tortellini, mean­ing you can take a lit­tle taste of Italy home with you.

And ev­ery ef­fort has been made to en­sure the menu’s au­then­tic­ity, with some prod­ucts be­ing flown in es­pe­cially for the oc­ca­sion. Af­ter all, one of ICCCW’S key man­dates is not only to pro­mote ex­tra­or­di­nary Ital­ian taste and food ex­cel­lence, but also to ed­u­cate the pub­lic on the dif­fer­ence in cer­ti­fied DOP and IGP prod­ucts, which are sourced and man­u­fac­tured in Italy. In fact, the True Ital­ian Taste project, co­or­di­nated by As­so­camer­es­tero and pro­moted and fi­nanced by the Min­istry of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, is ded­i­cated to the cause of safe­guard­ing gen­uine Ital­ian agri­food prod­ucts. And visi­tors to the web­site are en­cour­aged to dis­cover “gen­uine ori­gins, true plea­sure”.

As the most ro­man­tic coun­try in the world, the pas­sion Ital­ians pour into food and eat­ing is no sur­prise. And it’s for that rea­son that au­then­tic­ity is some­thing they take very se­ri­ously. And while some prod­ucts may look Ital­ian, once you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the real deal there is no mis­tak­ing it. This is es­pe­cially true when it comes to cook­ing be­cause to en­joy a proper Ital­ian meal re­quires gen­uine in­gre­di­ents. And of all the com­po­nents used, surely gar­lic can be rec­og­nized as one of the most crit­i­cal in Ital­ian dishes.

GIA is a fam­ily com­pany lo­cated in Emilia Ro­magna and it was founded in 1980 af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the process of man­u­fac­tur­ing gar­lic into a paste. And while tube foods might not have the most el­e­gant of con­no­ta­tions in North Amer­ica, the Ital­ians have stayed to true their rep­u­ta­tion and el­e­vated the hum­ble recipe es­sen­tial into a high­qual­ity and con­ve­nient tube for­mat. In the years since, GIA has ex­panded its prod­uct of­fer­ing to in­clude sun-dried tomato paste, an­chovy paste, tomato and gar­lic purée, chili purée, onion purée, shal­lot purée, and pesto.

All GIA prod­ucts are made from fine fresh Ital­ian herbs and in­gre­di­ents, which are care­fully se­lected, con­trolled, and pro­cessed us­ing mod­ern equip­ment to en­sure the per­fect bal­ance of the prod­uct in a tube. An Ital­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive from GIA to­gether with the Cana­dian im­porter, Ni­tish Nayak, brand man­ager of Na­tional Im­porters Canada Ltd, will be present at the event Ex­tra­or­di­nary Emilia Ro­magna! to pro­mote their prod­ucts, which will be part of the seven-course menu for the Gala Din­ner. GIA pro­vides a sim­ple way for chefs and home cooks alike to bring the au­then­tic Mediter­ranean fla­vors to their ta­bles and can now be pur­chased across Canada. Find them in some of Bri­tish Columbia’s renowned re­tail­ers like Sobeys, Safe­way, Saveon Foods, IGA, and Thrifty Foods. GIA pastes are also dis­trib­uted in in­de­pen­dent and chain stores like Choices, Buy Low, and IGA, mean­ing there is lots of op­por­tu­nity for you to con­tinue to cel­e­brate the Week of Ital­ian Cui­sine cel­e­bra­tion, year round.

Buon ap­petito!

Ahigh-pro­file Toronto writer and an­tiracist ac­tivist says he was carded by Van­cou­ver po­lice about 24 hours af­ter ar­riv­ing in the city. Des­mond Cole went on Twit­ter on Novem­ber 13 to say that he was walk­ing on the side­walk near Stan­ley Park when a po­lice cruiser passed by. He said that the car then turned around and came up be­side him, and the of­fi­cer claimed that he was vi­o­lat­ing a city by­law by smok­ing in a pub­lic park.

“I was on the side­walk,” Cole said on his Twit­ter feed. “I was not in the pub­lic park.”

Cole in­sisted that he was stopped for no jus­ti­fi­able rea­son, which made him feel “re­ally shitty”. He em­pha­sized that this hap­pens all the time to blacks and to Indige­nous peo­ple, which can lead to them “be­ing ar­rested, be­ing beaten, or worse”.

“We can even lose our lives from this ridicu­lous prac­tice,” Cole said.

Ac­cord­ing to Cole, the un­named of­fi­cer then asked for his name. When Cole re­fused to com­ply with the re­quest, he said, the of­fi­cer said that he could put him in hand­cuffs and take him to the po­lice sta­tion.

“This has hap­pened to me so many times I al­ready know what the ques­tions are go­ing to be and I know what’s com­ing,” Cole said.

Cole was in Van­cou­ver at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Cana­dian Cen­tre for Pol­icy Al­ter­na­tives. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s B.C. di­rec­tor, Seth Klein, tweeted that he’s “em­bar­rassed” for his city and ex­pressed sor­row to Cole for what hap­pened at the hands of Van­cou­ver po­lice.

In 2015, Cole wrote an ar­ti­cle for Toronto Life re­veal­ing that he has been in­ter­ro­gated by po­lice more than 50 times, sim­ply be­cause he’s black. “As my en­coun­ters with po­lice be­came more fre­quent, I be­gan to see ev­ery uni­formed of­fi­cer as a threat,” he stated in the ar­ti­cle. “The cops stopped me any­where they saw me, par­tic­u­larly at night.”

Prior to be­ing carded in Van­cou­ver, Cole was plan­ning to meet with some­one from the B.C. Civil Lib­er­ties As­so­ci­a­tion about the propen­sity of po­lice to ask for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion from blacks and Indige­nous peo­ple. He de­clared on Twit­ter that he has now “lit­er­ally ex­pe­ri­enced this on the streets of Van­cou­ver”. Cole stated that he was go­ing to file a com­plaint with the Van­cou­ver Po­lice De­part­ment.

“We can’t con­tinue to live like this and to pray, walk­ing through the streets, that you’re [the po­lice] not go­ing to ter­ror­ize us,” he said.

In June, the B.C. Civil Lib­er­ties As­so­ci­a­tion and the Union of B.C. In­dian Chiefs filed a com­plaint with the Of­fice of the Po­lice Com­plaint Com­mis­sioner high­light­ing a “sig­nif­i­cant ra­cial dis­par­ity” in the VPD’S street checks.

Over a 10-year pe­riod, about 15 per­cent of such checks in­volved Indige­nous peo­ple even though they make up about two per­cent of the city’s pop­u­la­tion. The two groups also stated that four per­cent of street checks over a 10year pe­riod in­volved peo­ple of African ances­try, who are less than one per­cent of the city’s pop­u­la­tion.

“The statis­tics on ra­cial dis­par­ity in street card­ing demon­strate the lived re­al­ity of in­sti­tu­tional racism that our peo­ple face de­spite the pub­lic rhetoric and cel­e­bra­tions around rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” UBCIC vice pres­i­dent Chief Bob Cham­ber­lin said in a news re­lease.

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