Italian cuisine and gastronomy is being embraced around the world this week, with over 100 countries participating in the International Week of Italian Cuisine. Over 1000 scheduled events will unfold simultaneously all around the world, designed to celebrate Italy's finest food produce in a selection of cooking shows, exhibitions, meetings and tastings.
This 2016 inaugural edition is just the beginning of what will become an annual event featuring Italian food traditions, and above all Italian food excellence, promoting the Made in Italy brand as well as gastronomic itineraries, the internationalisation of Italian food and its export, as well as putting Italian ingredients within easy reach of young cooks worldwide. With the global spread of events on offer Italy has the chance to represent one of the country's finest facets as a united front, without regional preferences or differences, taking the marketing lead from its French and Spanish cousins.
To promote the sector the Italian government are taking advantage of both the country's ample food resources and popularity around the world. In 2015, agri-food exports increased by 7.4% on the previous year, with revenues of 36.85 billion euros, while Italy's Michelin-starred restaurants are attracting gastronomes with spending power from around the world.
To boost the sector further, the Government has since decided to implement a plan of internationalisation by injecting 70 million Euros into the industry. Included in these initiatives is the week long project promoting Italian food in Italy's international markets, simultaneously.
Who are the Stakeholders of Italian Food Week?
The week-long event will be held in 105 countries with over 1300 events planned, and it's important to understand who the stakeholders and above all the protagonists are in this initiative.
The Week of Italian cuisine is based on a protocol of shared promotion of quality Italian cuisine abroad. This is just the beginning of a journey that started in the summer of 2015 with the Food Act, which took root from the themes developed during Expo Milano 2015, as recorded in the Carta di Milan.
What is the Food Act?
The Food Act is a pact between institutions and the world of good quality food represented by the some of the most important Italian chefs including Carlo Cracco, Niko Romito, Cristina Bowerman, Moreno Cedroni and Davide Oldani, as well as many other exponents of haute cuisine like the Ambassadors of Taste. By participating in this collaboration Italian quality promoters have the opportunity to fight for the integrity of local agriculture and food and drink artisans.
It isn't news that typical Italian products are imitated and illegally passed off as Italian around the world, from Mortadella made with chicken and turkey to Parmigiano Reggiano that has never even seen a postcard from Emilia Romagna. The damage is undoubtedly a dent to the country's image but above all an economic hit with turnover losses amounting to 50 billion euros per year.
The Food Act was signed by Paolo Gentiloni (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Maurizio Martina (Minister of Agriculture) and Stefania Giannini (Minister dell'Istruzioni). A worthy document with value, the pact is a real project with which the government is committed to protecting Italian chefs and producers.
By signing the Food Act chefs have approved the plan, which amongst other initiatives is reflected in the Week of the Italian cuisine, and serves as a first step towards both the education and promotion of Italian gastronomy in six countries: the US, Japan, the People's Republic of China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Russia. In short, countries with an unsatiated hunger for authentic Italian food and keen to be enchanted by the authentic Italian taste.