Food For Now: International Week of Italian Cuisine 2021 – Singapore Edition

The 6th edition of the International Week of Italian Cuisine in Singapore was launched at Casa Barilla, and runs from 22nd to 28th November. The event aims to promote Italian culinary excellence, with a focus on growing exchanges between Italian traditions and Singaporean flavours, with initiatives that put a spotlight on sustainability and heritage.

The event has been supported every year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and in this 6th edition, will also be taking on the theme of environmental sustainability. The proposed events will concern the promotion of Italian restaurants and food and wine products, the organization of cooking classes and convivial initiatives dedicated to Italian excellence.

Food is the key to the heart, and more importantly, a key aspect of our own identity, representing a national spirit. And for Italians, good food is essentially part of their lifestyle, going hand in hand with the life philosophy of living well, of conviviality and bringing people together over celebrations. Whether it’s a sit-down dinner or a home-cooked meal with seasonal ingredients, the aim to to create wholesome food experiences, and share about Italy’s culture through recipes and their origins.

As such, multiple events, both in-person and online, aim to introduce Italy’s gastronomic culture and flavours to the people of Singapore and to share the love for Italy’s simple but high-quality cuisine. The week will include special promotions involving Italian restaurants, food, and wine marketplaces, and online platforms, with workshops and cooking classes, wine and food tastings, stellar dinners, and charity projects.

These include the opening event, “A Taste of Italy” Sunday Luxe event, presented by the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy. The event will feature Chefs Angelo Ciccone (Executive Chef at Regent Hotel), Michele Greggio (Executive Chef at Pan Pacific Hotel), Fabio Granata (Executive Sous Chef at St Regis Hotel), and Simone Fraternali (Chef-Partner at Solo Ristorante). At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy will also be offering Italian-focused content and classes with various Young Chefs & Private Chefs from 28th November. Not only that, but the entire day will be dedicated towards celebrating Italian food and produce, from a marketplace to extra virgin oil tasting workshops, beer workshops and gelato workshops.

“The International Week of Italian Cuisine kicks off on 21st November 2021 with a series of activities in At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy”, says Kwan Lui, Founder, and Director of At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy. “As an anchor partner of the week-long event and in support of the event’s good cause, 10% of the proceeds will be donated to charities. At-Sunrice is very honored to be chosen by the Italian Ambassador H.E. Mario Andrea Vattani as the venue host celebrating “A taste of Italy”. Italian cuisine is very popular in Singapore because it is enjoyed by the whole family as a delicious and healthy nutritious Mediterranean meal. In gratitude, we will incorporate the most popular Italian courses and events for a whole week and then we will conduct private chef programs from 28th November onwards”.

Not only is food important to culture, but also to the economy, creating jobs in both the F&B and export trade. Statistics show that retail sales of Italian products dramatically increased during Covid-19 time. Italian restaurants provided more takeaway choices, Italian importers added new products to the market, while many Singaporeans started to experiment with cooking Italian dishes at home. “Over the last few years, the food industry has been booming in Singapore, and Singapore’s appreciation for Italian food and wine increased significantly”, says Ilaria Piccinni, Deputy Trade Commissioner for Singapore, Italian Trade Agency (ITA). “Italy is the first supplier of olive oil, tomato sauce, and pasta to Singapore, the third supplier of mineral water and wines. The imports of Italian cheese, dairy products and bakery goods are expanding due to the rise of demand for home-cooking, because of the pandemic”.

“Italian agri-food business represents 205 Billion Euro or 12.1% of Italian total GDP employing over 1.3 Million people,” says Alberto Martinelli, President, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (ICCS). “In 2020 the Italian food exports were the only growing sectors in Italy. Italy exports to Singapore 1.8 Billion EUR of goods and ICCS is very proud that it promoted – also with the e-commerce projects ItalianGallerySG – the “Made in Italy” in Singapore on the most important marketplaces: Redmart, Lazada, Shopee, and NTUC Fair Price. Among its products: Cosmetics, Apparel, Home appliances, Design&Furniture industries, and F&B”.

Italian food scholar Mrs Anna Lanzani

Other major events taking place throughout the week include “Dining with Stars – CIAK Si Mangia!” Italian Cuisine in Cinema (Zoom Live Course), a webinar presented by APICS on 23rd November, where you’ll retrace the great films of the Italian twentieth century, as led by Italian food scholar Mrs Anna Lanzani. Meanwhile on 27th November, enjoy “An Italian Night with Countess Massimilla di Serego Alighieri”, also on Zoom, which commemorates the Anno Dantesco (seven-hundredth anniversary of Dante’s death) with Countess Massimilla di Serego Alighieri, a descendant of Dante. And for special guests, a Conviviale at Art Restaurant.

“The Italian Academy of Cuisine continues its activity during this difficult time for the F&B Businesses”, says Chiara Randi, Italian Academy of Cuisine – Singapore Delegation. “This year we awarded the 8th Diploma di Buona Cucina to “Art” Restaurant, months before it received its first Michelin Star. This has already happened with two other excellent restaurants, Garibaldi in 2014 and Buona Terra in 2018, that were awarded the Diploma years before they had the recognition from the Michelin Guide. This is in line with our mission of continuing to monitor, research, and enhance the Italian culinary offers in Singapore”.

It makes sense then that there would be so many opportunities over the week to enjoy Italian cuisine and produce, such as the Italian Street Food Week, as some of the best Italian restaurants in Singapore serve up an Italian street food delicacy, paired with carefully hand-picked drinks to match each flavour. It is worth noting that over the last 5 years, Italy’s street food vendors have increased by 50%, and the Italian Embassy in Singapore was particularly impressed by how Singapore has managed and maintain our street food so well, with hawker culture, to the extent we made it a key part of our pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Enjoy the Gelato Festival at VenchiAlfero Gelato, and Pepino (from Alimentari), while selected bars and restaurants will be offering Campari cocktails for the Campari Cocktail Experience. Various online shops of selected importers and distributors of Italian products will also have special offers throughout the week, while NTUC Fairprice supermarkets be offering a promotion on various Italian products.

Hospitality has always been an important part of Campari Group’s values and mission, and it is a key ingredient of the world-renowned Italian cuisine”, says Matteo Fantacchiotti, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Campari Group. “The International Italian Cuisine Week is a celebration of Italian hospitality and it is an honor for Campari Group to represent Italy’s excellence in this area and help grow its awareness in Asia. Asia Pacific has been called out by Campari Group as one of the key regions to win globally, with the move of our regional APAC headquarters to Singapore last year. We look forward to continuing and growing our commitment in the Asia Pacific and helping celebrate Italian excellence in this region.”

Right down to the choice of holding the opening at Casa Barilla at Kreta Ayer Street, there has been so much thought that has gone into the planning of the event. Besides being a household name, where almost every household in Italy would likely have Barilla products, Barilla as a family business represents the Italian spirit of adapting and changing each time a challenge crops up. While the pandemic has made holding events as Casa Barilla difficult over the last two years, Barilla has plans to digitise more, while also further integrating their products into consumers’ lives – to introduce a tomato sauce (made from Italian tomatoes of course), encourage more Singaporeans to experiment with Italian recipes, and perhaps, begin a new network of Italian chefs by promoting more education.

“At Barilla, it is our pursuit to grow Italian gastronomy as an attractive lifestyle and enabler to living well through good, wholesome foods”, says Federico Vescovi, President Asia, Africa & Australia, Barilla. “Together with our Chef network, we are proud to drive the awareness and promotion of Italian pasta culture, a key pillar of the Mediterranean Diet. Through our products, consumers can enjoy delicious and wholesome Italian food at home. We are committed to being a partner supporting the Italian Cuisine Week for the 6th year and look forward to collaborating with like-minded industry players and institutions to continue to grow the fine culture and cuisine of Italy”.

“Singaporeans are more and more curious about Italian food, and they have a very broad view of culinary culture, which goes from top restaurants to lively hawker centers,” says Italian Ambassador in Singapore, H.E. Mario Andrea Vattani. “As Italians, we experience the cuisine as an open language. This allows us to move freely within the richness of our own regional and territorial identities. I believe that this particular approach to our own varied heritage resonates with Singapore, a truly international hub of comparison and coexistence between flavours and cultures”

International Week of Italian Cuisine 2021 – Singapore Edition runs from 22nd to 28th November 2021. The full list of programmes and more information is available here

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