NIAF News Monthly

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October 2010

A monthly bulletin for Italian American organizations and media outlets, dedicated to promoting the language, culture and traditions of Italians and Italian Americans.

Celebrate During The Month Of October
October is the perfect time to visit Italy if you are interested in attending a food festival.

Alba, Italy’s Piedmont region, holds an annual festival for its white truffles or “trifola.” In addition to a truffle market, the event also includes a donkey race in which the districts of Alba compete against each other. Romans believed truffles were the food of the gods and considered them an aphrodisiac, but during the Middle Ages people became more fearful of their powers. Truffles are ideally eaten thinly sliced over simple dishes.

In Montalcino, Tuscany, “La Sagra del Tordo,” or the “Feast of the Thrush,” is celebrated on the last weekend of October. The festival involves not only large feasts and processions, but also an archery contest between four neighborhoods: Pianello, Travaglio, Ruga and Borghetto.

Not all Italian festivals have deep roots. One newcomer is Eurochocolate, an annual gathering of chocolate producers and consumers in the piazzas of Perugia, home of the famous Baci chocolates. Begun in 1982, this festival of cultural events, tastings, summits and shows draws chocolate lovers from around the world.
If you are staying in the United States in October, National Italian American Heritage Month is celebrated every October. NIAF will hold its annual convention and gala as well as the release of its public service announcements celebrating our rich heritage. View them at

Italian Experience In The Big Apple
What began only a year ago as a blog about the Italian experience in New York City has developed into a full bilingual web site,, that features articles and interviews and allows readers to share their own experiences in the city through an iPhone app and a photo-sharing site. The site originally featured only content written in Italian, but has since launched a growing English-language section: Nuok in English.

In addition to interviews with Italian celebrities and residents of New York City, the site also features sections like “Humus”—discussions about America, Italy and the futures of each. Nuok has also designed a second site, “This is Nuok,” that offers an Italian-language guide to the city based on its subway lines. A reality television-style documentary is in development. Visit

Prayers For The Italian Soul
Since mealtime gatherings are an important Italian tradition, readers may find this book useful: “Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World,” an anthology of mealtime blessings. For each prayer, author Adrian Butash provides biographical information about the composer and context, as well as a few words about the value of the prayer. Butash includes prayers composed by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Father John Giuliani, a priest of the diocese in Bridgeport, Conn., who in 2006 won a Mother Teresa Award. Giuliani’s prayer reads “Bless our hearts to hear in the breaking of bread the song of the universe.” The book also includes a child’s grace in American Sign Language and a guide to saying “Bless this food” in 19 languages—including Italian. Visit

NIAF Council Member Helps With Community Initiative
NIAF Council Member Bert Cutino, co-founder and COO of the Sardine Factory Restaurant in Monterey, Calif., helped established the Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy. For at-risk youth and first-time offenders, the Academy provides an opportunity to gain classroom training, work experience and transferrable skills that will help them become employable in the culinary and hospitality industry. Students enrolled in the program will work with academic instructors that will help them meet the California standard requirements to obtain their high school diploma. Cutino explains this initiative serves as a benefit not only for Monterey County’s troubled youth, but also for the county’s economically vital hospitality industry. “Restaurants and hotels are always looking for trained staff,” Cutino said. “In the culinary center, we’ll teach everything they need—from knife skills and sanitation, to service and wine pairings—so the kids can get the jobs they need and the hospitality businesses can get the employees they need.”

To learn more about the Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy or to make a contribution, call 831-444-3533 or go to

Popular Children’s Series Will Be Available in Italian
Popular children’s series “Bobby Boo World” will soon be available in Italian. The first volume, “Bobby Boo e la Babysitter a sorpresa,” will be followed by additional releases in Italian. The stories emphasize interaction with a website,, and encourage youngsters to have fun and do good works. The Italian adaptations are the work of NIAF Council Member Mario DiBlasio, M.D. and Maria Di Blasio Ricci.


Please send your group or city’s news on Italian American exhibits, cultural events, scholarships and special events to: Elissa Ruffino, the NIAF, 1860 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Or write her on the internet, e-mail address:

N.B. Events/programs noted are not necessarily endorsed or sponsored by NIAF.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans.

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