Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that Mario Batali (above, left, with Atlantic food editor Corby Kummer) will be preparing an Italian menu for tonight’s official state dinner honoring Italian premier Matteo Renzi who’s visiting Washington, D.C. this week.
It will be the Obamas’ last state dinner as the President and First Lady.
According to a preview of the menu by the New York Times, the dishes selected by Michelle Obama and Chef Batali are classics that “have been ingrained in American cuisine.”
Yesterday, the popular food-focused blog Eater featured a preview of the menu and the dishes here (if you are a foodie like us, we highly recommend checking it out; it’s a spectacular menu).
For those of us old enough to remember when Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s first restaurant opened in 1998 in the West Village of Manhattan, it’s incredible to think about the arc of Italian cuisine over the last two decades.
Batali and Bastianich, who were each established restaurateurs in their own right at the time, were riding a wave a renewed interest in Italian fine dining. But their overwhelming success amplified the force of that wave exponentially: Today, there’s no doubt that — in great part thanks to them — Italian cuisine is the leading “world cuisine” in the United States.
For those of us old enough to remember a time when Italian restaurants served “spaghetti and meatballs” and Chianti in a straw flask, it seems practically inconceivable that Italian gastronomy could have made such bounds in such a short period of time.
The immense popularity of Italian cuisine in the U.S. today is all the more reason to participate in next year’s Taste of Italy event here in Houston, the leading food and wine fair devoted exclusively to Italian products in the U.S.
Whether you are an Italian food or wine producer, a Texas-based chef or restaurateur or wine professional, or a food and wine lover interested in learning more about Italian gastronomy, click here for more info on Taste of Italy Houston 2017.
Image via Wikipedia (Creative Commons).