Celebrate authentic Italy at gala dinner
(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.
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.