Last week the Extraordinary Italian Taste campaign and the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas were the proud underwriters and co-presenters of a series of tastings and seminars held in conjunction with the annual Wine and Food Week festival in the posh Woodlands, a posh master-planned community north of Houston.
Financed by the Italy’s Ministry of the Economic Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, the mission of the Extraordinary Italian Taste campaign is that of promoting authentic Italian food in the United States.
The Wine and Food Week festival was launched in 2005 by Food and Vine Productions, a Houston-based culinary events company. Today, 11 years since its inception, the festival attracts more than 10,000 guests from the greater Houston area and is widely considered the leading culinary festival in the city — America’s fourth largest metropolitan area and soon to be its third largest.
The H-E-B Grocery Company, one of America’s biggest privately owned companies (according to Forbes) and a supermarket chain with more than 350 outlets across Texas, was also a sponsor of the festival.
The Extraordinary Italian Taste campaign was the co-presenter of three events during the week-long festival.
“The Campania Trade Tasting” was open to Houston-based wine professionals and featured classic and modern-style wines from the region of Campania, one of Italy’s top producers of premium wines. The wines were paired with traditional and contemporary interpretations of Campania cuisine prepared by Campania-born and Houston-based chef Giancarlo Ferrara, owner of the popular Italian dining destination Amalfi Ristorante.
With the Club at the luxurious Carlton Woods country club as its backdrop, the “Ladies of the Vine” event featured a panel of leading women working in the wine industry today: Kristin Brydin, a winemaker; Myka Borgogni-Aultman, an agent for nationally renowned distributor of Italian wine Kobrand; Jenna Donatiello, an independent importer of Italian wine based in Houston; and Antontella Ricco, a New York-based Italian food and wine educator and nutrition expert. The panel was moderated by Jeremy Parzen, a Houston-based authority on Italian wine, blogger, and journalist.
And representing the Chamber at the festival’s main event, the “Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase” at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, Antonella Ricco presented Italian food products and wines to a sold-out crowd. More than 2,000 persons attended the festival’s signature showcase event.
Her stand showcased authentic Italian food products kindly donated by: