September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:A certificate of authenticity for Italian restaurants, new initiative presented in New York by Italian authorities
Blurb:The official from the Italian Federation of Public Concerns was frank: among the 12,000 Italian restaurants that exist in the United States, a meager 10-15 percent can be categorized as authentic. The others, he emphasized, have in some way encroached upon the name, and behind the Italian Restaurant sign, theres a little of everything, or sometimes, theres nothing. The Italian government will survey every Italian restaurant and award some certificates announcing their authenticity.
Body:White truffles, the Piedmontese diamonds, have arrived in New York. In addition to bringing these rare fruits of the earth here from the town of Alba, Italy, the promoters have come with an initiative aimed at guaranteeing the authenticity of Italian restaurants.
This initiative, as explained yesterday to the American press, is based upon a plan to give a stamp of authenticity for Italian cuisine throughout the world. The initiative was launched a month ago by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Policy. It was presented by the president of Confcommercio (Italys General Confederation for Commerce, Tourism, and Services), Sergio Billè. Billè was accompanied by Ferruccio Dardanello, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuneo, Italy, Edi Sommariva, president of FIPE (the Italian Federation of Public Concerns), and Roberto Luongo, director of ICE (the Institute for the Promotion of Foreign Trade) of New York.
Luongo called the initiative, which will protect the logo Made in Italy, as one of the most important plans for promoting Italian food and wines. He rattled off numbers characterizing Italian exports to the United States in the amount of $270 billion, of which 12 percent is derived from the Piedmont region.
The initiative to protect Italian foods and wines was launched on the occasion of presenting the restaurant Le Cirque with some Piedmontese diamonds, some of the most beloved and coveted products of Italian cuisine.
The launching of this promotional campaign for Piedmontese truffles and wine, organized by ICE and the Piedmontese authorities, provided a forum for explaining to American food and wine professionals the program. They announced the creation of an official system to protect and safeguard restaurants outside of Italy that attempt to style themselves after true Italian cuisine and culture.
The general director of FIPE, Edi Sommariva, was frank: among the 12,000 Italian restaurants that exist in the United States, a very meager 10-15 percent can be categorized as authentic. The others, he emphasized, have in some way encroached upon the name, and behind the Italian Restaurant sign, theres a little of everything, or sometimes, theres nothing. The federation that Sommariva directs counts 67,000 restaurants in Italy, and almost as many restaurants define themselves as Italian throughout the rest of the world.
We live in a global village in which Italy seeks to assert itself through its restaurants, which would be the ambassadors of Made in Italy, of authenticity and quality. In New York there are 1,800 Italian restaurants, but how many are genuine? asked Sommariva, rhetorically.
He explained that 10 to 15 percent of New Yorks Italian restaurants have encroached upon the Italian name, provoking uncertainty among consumers. The federation will conduct a census of restaurants which claim to be Italian. For the 12,000 restaurants from coast to coast, the moment has arrived for unmasking the imposters and rewarding and recognizing those that are genuine. The census will get under way this year in the United States, and by 2004, signs of certification will begin to appear at the entrances of those Italian restaurants found to be authentic.
Billè explained that the plan will also allow for a more solid bond to be forged between Italy and its restaurants throughout the world. He determined that it is high time for this initiative. We will succeed in playing a part in the global village if we manage to transfer to it our immense patrimony, which has to do with the quality of life. We must change strategies, promoting not only authentic Italian foods within the certified restaurants, but also the gastronomical traditions and the excitements of Italian culture.
Dardanello observed, the truffle is one of Italys great treasures, and is coveted all over the world, and for this reason the Piedmontese diamonds will also be certified. Today, the presentation of the truffles from Alba and the Piedmontese wines comes to the Theater District, the neighborhood of the famous Barbetta Restaurant, at the end of a few days in which the Piedmontese Tuber Magnatum Pico (as the white truffles are known in Latin) have been the Big Apples stars.
The initiative was also recently presented on the West Coast in San Francisco, where a real, exciting truffle hunt was carried out under the Golden Gate, where the truffles were strategically placed.