The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas (IACC) officially launched its new Louisiana chapter with a ribbon-cutting and unveiling ceremony on Monday in New Orleans at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum where the new office is located.
Italian Consul General Federico Ciattaglia (from the Italian Consulate in Houston), IACC president Brando Ballerini, and IACC director Alessia Paolicchi were joined by museum founder Liz Williams and president Brent Rosen for a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception.
While the event celebrated the opening of the IACC’s new outpost in New Orleans, it also marked the beginning of its expansion into greater Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. With new territory to cover, the IACC has also changed its name to “Italy-America Chamber of Commerce South Central.”
In her remarks, Ms. Williams spoke at length about the influence of Italian culture and cuisine in the history of New Orleans and its legendary food scene.
Skilled Sicilian sugar cane workers were among the first Italians to settle there in the years following the Civil War. And they brought with them their culinary traditions and foodways. It didn’t take long for what many consider to be the earliest pasta-making shops in the U.S. to appear in New Orleans. Today, pasta is still a key ingredient in traditional New Orleans cookery.
The event was also an occasion to promote the upcoming Taste of Italy festival to be held there on Tuesday, March 31. It will be hosted in the museum’s new stand-along restaurant space.
The festival date marks the expansion of Taste of Italy Houston (Monday, March 30), now in its sixth year, the largest festival in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Italian food and wine.
Ms. Williams, a noted food historian and author, will be a featured speaker at both gatherings.