The sixth edition of the Italian Cuisine Week in the World, entitled “Sapori d’Italia–Taste of Italy”, was celebrated in Ghana on Wednesday, November 24, at the residence of the Italian Ambassador.
Organized by the Embassy of Italy in Accra and the local Italian Trade Agency (ITA) office, the event aimed at promoting the excellence of Italian wine production and the Italian agri-food chain in general.
In attendance was the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts of Ghana, Mark Okraku Mantey, alongside other dignitaries including ambassadors, Ghanaian and Italian executives and entrepreneurs, representatives of international organizations, and heads of local institutions. The major importers of Italian wine in Ghana were also present and used the occasion to exhibit some of the finest Italian wines imported into the country. In addition, representatives of the media—including print, television, and digital—took part in the celebration to broadcast the event and help extend the reach of the promotional message to a wider audience.
Opening the celebration, the Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Daniela d’Orlandi, highlighted the richness and variety of the Italian food and wine heritage, the tradition and innovation of Italian cuisine in the area of food sustainability, and the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a model of healthy and sustainable diet and lifestyle. She said Italy seeks to introduce its unique culinary culture to the Ghanaian community through the celebration of the Italian Cuisine Week.
Touching on bilateral relations between Ghana and Italy, Ambassador d’Orlandi said the relations date back to Ghana’s independence in 1957 and Italy’s establishment of an embassy in Accra in 1958. “Since then, the bilateral relations and relations of friendship have grown stronger and stronger in many different sectors,” she said.
Over so many decades of relations, Italy has made some iconic contributions to the development of Ghana. These include the construction of the famous Akosombo Dam on the Volta Lake by Impregilo, an Italian engineering company, and the construction of Tema Oil Refinery, the first ever refinery in the country, by Agip, another Italian company. Today, Eni is a major multinational oil and gas company that is currently the largest bilateral investor in Ghana with over $7bn invested in the oil and gas sector.
The agribusiness sector is also a priority for both Ghana and Italy, Ambassador d’Orlandi said. Thanks to the technology, expertise and know-how of Italian companies, Italy has been partnering with the Ghanaian government and private companies to transform the agribusiness sector through a number of initiatives and projects. Ambassador d’Orlandi said that “Ghana could greatly benefit from Italy’s expertise as the second-largest manufacturing country in the EU to help transform its natural resources to create added value and develop its local industries.”
In his remarks at the celebration, the Director of ITA in Ghana, Alessandro Gerbino, underlined Italy’s world leadership in wine production and export, as well as the variety of wines produced in the various Italian regions. Indeed, Italy has the widest wine and grape diversity of any country in the world, and is home to 20 wine-growing regions that produce some of the greatest and tastiest wines in the world.
According to Gerbino, the well-known Italian attributes of Passion, Creativity, Strive for Excellence, and Beauty are also associated with Italy’s culinary and wine tradition. For this reason, just like Italian fashion, design or technology, Italian cuisine and wine are famous for their world-leading quality and breathtaking diversity.
The guests at “Sapori d’Italia–Taste of Italy” were guided by MC of the event Mr. Bola Ray through this world-leading quality and diversity, as there was a tasting of some of the most renowned Italian wines: from Brunello di Montalcino Carpineto to Fantinel La Roncaia Fusco, Primitivo Manduria Riserva, and Monte Tondo Amarone della Valpolicella, among others. The wines were served by the event’s wine partners, Imexco Ghana Ltd., Say Cheers, and Africa Wine Club, who are among the leading importers and distributors of Italian wines in Ghana.
Present at the event was Kodjo Adovor, a certified Italian wine professional and the only person of African descent to qualify as an Italian Wine Ambassador from the Vinitaly International Academy in Verona, Italy. Kodjo, who runs the Africa Wine Club, said Italian wine is the hallmark of quality wine and is unique because of its variety. He added that the wines that were tasted on the night rank among the best in the world.
Italy’s rich culinary tradition was also put on display when an eco-sustainable buffet was prepared by Chef Elia Bulgari. The menu included foods such as Caprese Gourmet, Crispy Ravioli, Summer Rolls, Assorted Pizzas, and Vanilla Cannoncini. Chef Bulgari, who is a Pasta Specialist with over 20 years’ experience, also animated two cooking shows and presented his book of Italian recipes reviewed with Ghanaian ingredients.
The annual Italian Cuisine Week in the World is an initiative of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation since 2016. The event is celebrated each year by Italy’s entire diplomatic-consular network across the world. The celebration in Ghana provided an opportunity for the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Trade Agency’s local office, and their partners to demonstrate what Italy has to offer to the Ghanaian community: a rich and diverse tradition of food and wine that also symbolizes the Italian identity and culture.