Ciao Italia is an exclusive event by HEB that brings accessible Italian products for everyone in all of their supermarkets. The main goal is to let people cook authentic Italian dishes at home and pair them with Italian wines as well.
Foodlosofia designed a “Wine and Culture” event with the aim of sharing the food rituals of the Italian culture around wine and iconic pairings. The concept of the experience was to pair 4 wines with 4 regional recipes and create a culinary trip throughout the whole experience.
The event started with a cooking class of “arancine”, a fried rice ball that’s a classic street food icon from Sicily, paired with the famous Spritz aperitif.
Then the guests had gnocchi alla Sorrentina, a recipe from Naples, which is really easy to make and share common ingredients with pizza. They were paired with Soave, a delicate and floral white wine.
The next course was “vitello tonnato”, a recipe from Piedmont which is present in every feast from that region, and it was paired with Governo All’uso Toscano, a rich and bold wine made with Sangiovese grapes; the kind of wine you want to sip while eating a fine cut of meat.
Closing this parade, we served tiramisu, a well known dessert throughout Italy and worldwide, which was paired with a sweet wine from the Asti area, the Spumante Dolce of Asti, the perfect companion for a sweet legacy.
Every recipe was accompanied with a brief story and fun facts in order to make the night more entertaining and knowledgeable. To extend the experience, these recipes were handed in a little booklet to the guests, empowering them to replicate this culinary journey by visiting HEB and exploring the products of Ciao Italia.
To be completely honest, the fun facts were added to surprise our guests; however, they surprised us too. Many of us didn’t know until this experience that the majority of the ingredients used in the recipes are not even originally from Italy! The rice used in the arancini comes from China, the potato and tomato for the delicious gnocchi are from South America, and the well known Italian coffee for the tiramisu is actually from Africa; and the list goes on and on!
As food designers, our world is surrounded by food and we are no strangers to food events. Nevertheless, working in the kitchen was a whole different experience. Spoiler alert, it was completely exhausting. Spending so many hours cooking is no joke, so we want to acknowledge all the chefs out there and pay our respects to them.
Even though we planned every detail of the event, there were still some surprises that we didn’t take in consideration. At the end, we were really happy with the process, the team effort and of course, the result.