Italian Food and Culture: an Eternal Bond

Food, family and nonna (Grandma) are the most popular icons of the Italian culture.

Quoting the journalist Beppe Severgnini author of many books about Italy, Italians and Italian identity, among which An Italian in Italy (BUR Publisher, 2006):  We are consummate professionals of culinary consumption…No one else in Europe eats the way we do …Note that I am talking about all Italians, not just a hard core of gastronomers… Italians have the same relationship with food that some Amazonian peoples have with the clouds in the sky – one glance and they know what to expect. Naturally, it has taken time to reach this level. … Consider the humble cappuccino. After ten o’clock in the morning, it is unethical, and possibly even unlawful, to order one. You wouldn’t have one in the afternoon unless the weather was very cold. Needless to say, sipping a cappuccino after a meal is something only non-Italians do. Pizzas at midday are for schoolkids. Rice with meat is perfect, but pasta with meat is embarrassing unless it’s cooked in the sauce. Having a starter after your pasta raises no eyebrows, but eating a main meat or fish dish instead of a starter looks greedy. Grating Parmesan over clams is an offense against religion, but if a young chef suggests it, express approval. Wine in flasks is for tourists – package tourists if the flask is hanging on the wall. Finally, there is garlic. Like elegance, garlic should be present but should not intrude. The bruschetta garlic toast served in some Italian restaurants abroad would not be actionable in Italy. Once, an English friend called this sort of thing ‘food fascism’. I told her she was exaggerating. She had ordered a cappuccino after her evening meal, and the waiter refrained from calling the police…

If you are a restaurant managers, a brand designer, a food blogger or simply a Food Amateur, do not miss the full immersion Certificate Program into the Italian cuisine, that we are organizing at the end of September (and we will repeat in February, April and June) with 1 and 2 week formats including pasta, pizza and cheese labs, wine grape harvest and workshops with leading Italian chefs, restaurateurs, brand strategists and designers.

With this program you will experience and understand some of the most critical success factors of the Italian food culture, i.e.: 

1) the family structure of the majority of Italian companies active in this sector, which plays a crucial role in terms of corporate identity, business development and mainstream perception of Italian culinary traditions, 

2) the importance of place of origin, local and artisanal ingredients, home recipes and slow consumption in defining food quality and identity in Italy,  

3) the peculiarity of our food culture which relies on raw materials and lack of formality more than on elaborate preparation and etiquette.  

Principles of Food Design and innovative entrepreneurial models in Italy will be illustrated throughout the program with focus on specific cases of: label and packaging design; food with shapes, taste or nutritional factors aimed to target specific markets or customer niches; food experiences and interiors designed with the aim to enhance customers’ relationship with the local territory, producers, retailers, chefs and restaurateurs.