Love Nutella? Who doesn’t?
Writer Maria Melchionda examines the history and cultural reach of the Italian-made chocolate hazelnut spread -- and the upcoming English-language release of a book celebrating it -- in an article on i-Italy.org. Ferrero produces about 25,000 miles of jars of Nutella a year, a length that is equal to the entire circumference of the earth, reports Melchionda. Despite having become a multinational company, Ferrero, now at its third generation, is still growing under Managing Directors Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero, grandchildren of founder Pietro.
New to the
First released in Italy in 2006, “Passione Nutella” will also include an updated "Nutella Dictionary" and is the result of a collaboration with a number of chefs well known in the U.S., including Tony May, Cesare Casella, Lidia Bastianich, Jimmy Bradley and Jonathan Waxman.
Writer Maria Melchionda examines the history and cultural reach of the Italian-made chocolate hazelnut spread -- and the upcoming English-language release of a book celebrating it -- in an article on i-Italy.org.
Ferrero produces about 25,000 miles of jars of Nutella a year, a length that is equal to the entire circumference of the earth, reports Melchionda. Despite having become a multinational company, Ferrero, now at its third generation, is still growing under Managing Directors Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero, grandchildren of founder Pietro.
New to the
First released in Italy in 2006, “Passione Nutella” will also include an updated "Nutella Dictionary" and is the result of a collaboration with a number of chefs well known in the U.S., including Tony May, Cesare Casella, Lidia Bastianich, Jimmy Bradley and Jonathan Waxman.?xml:namespace>
Lovers of Italian cinema will want to see “The Sicilian Girl,” or “La Siciliana Ribelle,” an Italian language film with English subtitles that opened this month in
The fictional film focuses on Rita Mancuso, the daughter of an old-school Mafioso who, after her father and brother are murdered by rivals, seeks out a local prosecutor and offers to testify against her father’s killers. Played by actresses Miriana Faja (portraying Rita as a child) and Veronica D’Agostino (embodying the protagonist as a teenager), Rita originally turns to the law to seek revenge but ultimately comes to a greater understanding of justice.
The film is based on the short life of Rita Atria, a Sicilian teenager whose testimony was critical to many convictions of Mafia members. Director Marco Amenta previously examined Atria’s life in his 1997 documentary, “One Girl Against the Mafia: Diary of a Sicilian Rebel.”
Click here to read a New York Times review of the film.
Have you seen the film? Let us know what you think!
A "no cycling" sign may be posted on this pass in the Swiss Alps (above), but Australian brothers Danny, Ben and Sam Wood managed to cross the Alps from France into Italy for a BBC Four documentary, "On Hannibal's Trail."
This year, three Australian brothers -- Danny, Ben and Sam Wood --set out to cycle the 2,500-mile route from Spain through Italy traversed by Hannibal as he sought to overthrow the ancient Rome. Their 10-week trek was filmed by a camera crew for BBC Four and the resulting three-hour documentary, "On Hannibal's Trail," is airing as part of "The Call Of The Wild," a series celebrating Britain's love affair with exploring the outdoors.
Episode Four aired last night in the United Kingdom, and featured the brothers crossing the Alps -- and attempting to determine which mountainous route the general used in his assault on Rome.
What would prompt three brothers to take this trek? The three are all outdoor enthusiasts, but brother Sam is also an archeologist with an interest in Hannibal (while brother Ben is a software developer and brother Danny is a journalist). Interested viewers can read about the genesis of the series in a BBC blog post by brother Ben Wood.
While planning the journey, Ben explains, "My brothers and I were living in different parts of the world at this time so we spent endless hours on Skype discussing everything from which pass Hannibal may have used to cross the Alps to what sort of brakes we should have on our bikes."
For even more details, visit the brothers' personal website, www.woodbrothers.tv. The site includes personal photos, reflections on the experience and the history they researched for their trip.
Video clips of the show are available online through the BBC, but sadly only to residents of the U.K.
Eva Franchi, wife of Sergio Franchi and a former NIAF board member (second from left), poses with past Sergio Franchi Music Foundation scholarship recipients bartione Jiovanni Guagliardo (left), soprano Evelyn Pollock and tenor Ted Green (right).
NIAF invites you to join us on Saturday, August 7, 2010 in Stonington, Conn., for a concert celebrating music, art and the legacy of Italian singing legend Sergio Franchi. Hosted by The Sergio Franchi Music Foundation at Franchi's Stonington estate, this event is not to be missed for music lovers of all ages.
During his 28-year-long singing career, Franchi was a dedicated supporter of the arts and charitable organizations that valued his Italian heritage. Since its inception 17 years ago, the Sergio Franchi Music Foundation has awarded 470 scholarships to voice students, helping others pursue the career so loved by the late romantic tenor. His memory lives on through the foundation's work and this annual concert.
Tickets, which can be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, are $35 and $25 for NIAF members. To learn more www.sergiofranchi.com or call 860-535-9429.
The cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore.
In today's Washington Post, NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso, Esq. sounds off on Season Two of MTV's "Jersey Shore" and the Post's recent coverage of it.
For those of you who may have missed it, the Post's July 29 Style Section article about the show's second season -- titled "Jersey Shore' gang's trashy charm has us inexplicably coming back for more" -- dissected the show's appeal, with a heavy emphasis on the "trashy charm."
While examining the pop culture phenomenon that the show has become, writer Hank Stuever noted that:
"To fully appreciate the show, one must address some inner biases -- Middle American biases against the tri-state area, mostly -- which are timely, since the show has managed to anger Italian American groups and certain noble-minded Garden Staters.
The reason they object to "Jersey Shore's" extremes is because they know what stereotypes can do. They know what many of us think, deep down, of the horrible accents, the bravado, the filthy talk, the hitting, the threats, the steroidal physiques, the skanky orange skin, the loudness, the crassness, the endless badda-bing."
While undoubtedly correct in his assessment of negative stereotypes about Italian Americans, Stuever also gives the show a little too much credit, telling readers that, "As stupid as it looks, and as much as you can hate yourself for watching, it's a complex show about the nature of sin."
In today's letter to the editor, Del Raso notes that although Stuever's article did call attention to "the damaging effects of stereotypes" perpetuated by shows like "Jersey Shore," it "neglected to condemn them." He adds, "[Stuever] saw an 'inebriating result on the viewer' that eliminated the past and future and focused on a present free of responsibilities."
Del Raso explains that Stuever's article wrongly describes the characters' activities -- 'gym, tanning, laundry' during the day, 'drinking, gyrating, brawling -- with intermittent, carnal baptisms in their roiling hot tub' at night' as "'a complex show about the nature of sin' rather than a cultural example that promotes debauchery and bad behavior to young viewers."
"NIAF has gone on record since the show's debut condemning its depiction of a false 'reality' in which people make a living by disrespecting their great heritage and demeaning themselves."
He concludes, "We implore MTV to focus on responsible behavior and stop promoting cultural stereotypes. People are watching only in disgusted fascination."
What do you think about "Jersey Shore"? If you're a fan of the show, why? If you don't like it, what do you say about it when the topic comes up?
In an article published Saturday, the New York Times dares to ask, "Is Italy Too Italian?" Meaning, is Italy's focus on artisanal craftsmanship depriving its economy of opportunities for much-needed growth?
To illustrate his point, Times reporter David Segal profiles Luciano Barbera, proprietor of the Carlo Barbera mill, a source of high-end wool and cashmere for designers like Armani, Zegna and Ralph Lauren, and a line of bespoke suits produced under his own name. Although known for its craftmanship and performance, demand for the mill's product has decreased steadily.
Segal describes Barbera's competition: "At roughly 41 euros a meter ($48.75 a yard), the average price of the fabric that the Carlo Barbera factory produces today is almost double that of competitors in Biella, a town in the foothills of the Alps that has been renowned for centuries as a textiles hub. The problem is that fewer designers have been willing to pay this premium, and factories in other countries have been copying the Barberas’ methods, with results that may not be as good but that cost a small fraction of the price."
Click here to view a slideshow with images of Barbera's factory and family.
Notes Segal about Italian businesses like Barbera's, "The first goal of many entrepreneurs here isn’t growth, so much as keeping the business in the family. For a company to really expand, it needs capital, but that means giving up at least some control. So thousands of companies here remain stubbornly small — all of which means Italy is a haven for artisans but is in a lousy position to play the global domination game."
The article also highlights how tradition, guilds and unions have created a protectionist atmosphere in which it is hard for businesses to grow. “I know that in the States, all Mediterranean countries get lumped together,” Carlo Altomonte, an economist with Bocconi University in Milan,is quoted as saying. “But Italy’s problem isn’t that we have a lot of debt. It’s that we don’t grow.”
Click here to read the article in full.
What do you think?
Just in time for August's oppressive heat, NPR's Susan Russo encourages us to have our limoncello and eat it too in an article published yesterday. Or, more specifically, to cook with our favorite lemony Italian liqueur.
As Russo notes, the drink is "traditionally served as a digestive, or after-dinner drink that aids in digestion." But, she challenges the reader, "...don't just drink it. Eat it. Limoncello can be a wonderful ingredient in cooking and baking."
After discussing the drink's history and sharing her family's long-treasured techniques for making limoncello, Russo provides six recipes for cooking with the liqueur. There's Creamy Limoncello, a version of the liqueur made with milk and vanilla extract, and Limoncello-Basil Fruit Cups, a zesty riff on traditional fruit salad.
Like dessert? You're in luck. Russo provides recipes for individual Limoncello Custards with Limoncello-Berry Sauce, a Citrus-Polenta Cake with Limoncello Icing that can also double as a breakfast pastry, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Berries, Limoncello and Almond Brittle -- the ultimate summer treat for cooling off on a hot day -- and Blueberry-Limoncello Zabaglione, a tart take on everyone's favorite custard/pudding hybrid.
Russo's extensive array of recipes make this article a must-read for foodies wary of heating up their kitchens as summer's temperatures peak. Enjoy making these recipes -- and if you do, write to let us know how they turned out!
To read more, click here.
Chazz Palminteri, right, with baseball great Phil Rizzuto at NIAF's 1996 Anniversary Gala.
Italian American actor and director Chazz Palminteri, and his wife, actress Gianna Palminteri, will be honored later this year by D.A.R.E. America, an educational program that helps children stay away from drugs, gangs and violence.
The Palminteris will receive The American Dream Award during the organization’s 2010 Dare to Care Gala on December 1, 2010. The couple actively supports many charitable organizations, including The Creative Coalition, The Child Reach Foundation and the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Additionally, NIAF honored Palminteri in 1996, presenting him with the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Performing Arts. Standing for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in
The Palminteris will receive The American Dream Award during the organization’s 2010 Dare to Care Gala on December 1, 2010. The couple actively supports many charitable organizations, including The Creative Coalition, The Child Reach Foundation and the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Additionally, NIAF honored Palminteri in 1996, presenting him with the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Performing Arts.
Standing for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in
The Hollywood Walk of Fame
Yesterday Italian American "King of Swing" Louis Prima was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Prima would have been 100 years old this year; he died in 1978.
According to an Associated Press article, the star was unveiled in a ceremony attended by the entertainer's son Louis Prima, Jr. and daughter Lena Prima, in addition to celebrities, dignitaries and fans of his music. Louis Prima Jr.'s big band, The Witnesses, performed a concert as part of the ceremony, much to the delight of attending swing-dancing fans.
Both Louis Prima, Jr. and Lena Prima have long been supporters of NIAF. In 2002, as part of our Anniversary Convention and Gala, NIAF hosted a panel discussion highlighting "Children of the Greats"; Lena Prima served as a panelist in addition to Frank Capra, Jr., Scott Paterno, Katherine LaGuardia and Deana Martin, the daughter of Dean Martin.
Lena Prima (right) poses with Frank Capra, Jr. during NIAF's 2002 Anniversary Convention and Gala.
Prima's music remains a standard today, for Italian American music lovers and fans of swing alike. His hits are frequently heard on the dance floor during NIAF's annual Anniversary Gala.
What is your favorite Louis Prima song? Share your thoughts with us!
In an article yesterday, the New York Times reports that Fiat's attempts to make its workers more productive at a plant north of Naples are being met with resistance -- and are perhaps challenging Italy's workplace culture.
Reprter Liz Alderman writes:
"Even some workers here in Pomigliano, Fiat’s lowest-producing plant, complain of ingrained bad habits, citing peers who call in sick to earn money while working another job or skip work with a fake doctor’s note — especially when the local soccer team is playing.
Now, fresh from rescuing Chrysler in the United States, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat is pushing these workers to be more devoted to their jobs, mirroring a larger effort by the government to improve Italy’s competitiveness and reduce its debt through austerity measures.
But shifting a culture toward work and closing the divide with Italy’s northern neighbors won’t be easy. Embedded for generations here — and on other parts of Europe’s often-sweltering southern rim — is a lifestyle that values flexibility for workers."
Click here to read more.
What do you think? Can Italian workplace culture adopt more American standards of behavior?
As reported this week by The Associated Press (AP), a team of Italian engineers launched on Tuesday what has been billed as the longest-ever test drive of driverless vehicles.
Two bright orange cars, equipped with laser scanners and cameras to detect objects, will make an 8,000-mile trek (dubbed The Vislab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge) from Italy to China to test the limits of this new technology. The cars, which departed Parma on Tuesday, July 20, are powered entirely by solar energy.
"What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off," project leader Alberto Broggi told the AP.
The technology was developed by VisLab, an artificial vision and intelligent systems lab at the University of Parma run by Broggi, through a $2.3 million grant from the European Commission's European Research Council. VisLab has also partnered with other sponsors, including Piaggio, which has provided its Piaggio Porter vans.
In the future, this technology might lead to driverless vehicles transporting goods across Europe, notes the AP. But the technology's applications could be of use today as well: the scanners could soon allow farmers to program tractors to plow and seed fields through the night, Broggi said. VisLab is also working with Caterpiller Inc., to develop unmanned vehicle technology for extreme environments, like mining, according to the article.
Viewers can follow the vehicles' progress online at viac.vislab.it/, a special website dedicated to the challenge.
What do you think?
In late June, purveyors of fine food and beverages from the world over gathered in New York City for the Fancy Food Show. Among them were Italian coffee producers, who are eyeing the U.S. as a potential market for their increasing offerings.
In a new article on i-Italy.org, writer Susannah Gold examines Italian coffee companies in attendance at the show and their plans for American coffee drinkers. As she explains, "Most of the coffee firms who were present at the fair agreed that the world of coffee is undergoing an evolution. Large firms such as Lavazza, Illy and Danesi have dominated the American market for Italian coffee. New smaller firms have had a harder time getting a footing in this market but as the market grows, there may be room for everyone. At least that’s what these producers are hoping."
As reported Friday by Bloomberg, Italian police recently unveiled some of the 337 pieces of illegally excavated antiquities recovered last month in Switzerland. Now returned to Italy, the artifacts have an estimated value of $19.5 million dollars.
According to the article:
The search is on to find a bone marrow donor for Philip Felice, who was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2007 and has since undergone chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Doctors say Felice is in need of a bone marrow donor and that men between the ages of 20-25 who are of Sicilian ancestry would be his best match.
Today Felice's family and friends are hosting a bone marrow donor drive at Le Parker Meridien Hotel from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; they ask that anyone who meets the above description register as a potential donor. Felice's life may be in your hands.
Le Parker Meridien is located at 119 West 56th Street in New York City. The donor drive is being held in the hotel's Tansa Room, on the third floor.
Visit www.dkmsamericas.org to find out how you can register as a bone marrow donor.
Love cooking shows? Tune in to the Food Network on July 21 at 10 p.m. to watch NIAF supporter Rossella Rago of “Cooking with Nonna”, along with her mother and grandmother, compete in the series premiere of the Food Network's “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” - a show that highlights two teams with one day to design and open a restaurant.
Each episode of "24 Hour Restaurant Battle" features dueling two-person teams of aspiring restaurateurs who have 24 hours to conceive, plan and open their own restaurants for one night. On each team, one person handles front-of-house issues like decor, seating and service while the other manages back-of-house matters like menu planning, shopping and, of course, cooking. Based on the restaurant's concept, execution and viability, the judges choose a winning team to receive $10,000 seed money toward realizing their dream.
To learn more about Rossella and her online Italian cooking show, “Cooking with Nonna,” visit www.cookingwithnonna.com.
Golfer Rocco Mediate
NIAF is proud to announce that professional golfer Rocco Mediate will participate in our 6th Annual Rockland County Golf Tournament on Monday, August 9, 2010 at The Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, New York.
The Rockland County Golf Tournament raises funds each year for NIAF scholarship and educational programs. This year, Mediate will present a scholarship in his name at the event.
To learn more about how you can attend this event, contact golf tournament chair Nick Caiazzo at email@example.com 212-915-5947.
This year, New York University's Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò celebrates 20 years of serving as a cultural venue for Italians and Americans of Italian descent.
The center, headquarters to NYU's Department of Italian Studies, was made possible through a generous donation by NIAF Board Member Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò. Her support allowed for the purchase and complete restoration of a 19th-century home situated at 24 West 12th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, a few blocks from Washington Square. Zerilli-Marimò also sits on the university's advisory board.
Since opening its doors in November 1990, Casa Italiana has become a true home for all who love Italy and live in New York. Each year it hosts a full calendar of events, ranging from art exhibits, music concerts, round-tables, debates on the most various subjects, and academic conferences. This year is no exception; plus, a special November 4, 2010 concert and fundraising gala will celebrate the 20th annivesary.
In a May interview for i-Italy.org, Casa Italiana's director, Stefano Albertini, discussed this year's milestone, connecting with students about Italian culture and upcoming events. Click here to read more...
By the end of this summer, the Department of Homeland Security will eliminate the paper arrival/departure form (Form I-94W) for travelers arriving in the U.S. from a number of nations, including Italy.
The change is intended to streamline travel. Instead, travelers who wish to enter the U.S. will provide biographical, travel and eligibility information in advance through an electronic system for travel authorization known as ESTA. All citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (including Italy) must submit ESTA travel applications when making plans to visit the U.S.
The requirement does not affect U.S. citizens returning from travel overseas.
The Italian Embassy has compiled information on this change. To read more and learn how it may affect you, click here.
La Gazzetta Italiana, an Ohio-based monthly newspaper catering to the Italian American community, is offering a free issue to readers who visit its website.
But there's more on the paper's website than the offer a free issue. This month's issue features an article on visiting the Isola d'Ischia, "Italy's Emerald Isle" with notes on where to stay, where to eat and the island's best beaches. A resource for travelers, it offers notes like "Be sure not to miss a walk around the Castello Aragonese, and step back in time in the secluded fishing village of Sant’Angelo."
Enjoy and mangia bene!
A new initiative in Italy will allow for food, cosmetics and pharmeceutical products made in Italy to be certified as "halal," meaning that their production is compliant with the laws of the Koran. The move supports a "Halal Italia" initiative by CO.RE.IS Italiana (Comunita Religiosa Islamica), a group that has participated in a trial program with the Milan Chamber of Commerce.
The "halal" certification is intended to advance the sale of Made in Italy products in Islamic nations and further the bond between Italy and Muslim majority nations, according to a release by the Italian Embassy.