Friday, July 29, 2011

Cineforum Italiano: Happy Family


Academy award-winning veteran director Gabriele Salvatores (Mediterraneo) delivers a colorful tongue-in-cheek comedy about a writer holed up in his apartment in Milan one hot summer trying to punch out a story while the characters come to life around him offering their input on the direction they think the story should take.

Recently dumped screenwriter Ezio (Fabio De Luigi) is having trouble writing a story about two neurotic families whose paths cross when their teenage children, Filipo and Marta, decide to marry. The family members - Filipo's parents (played by scene-stealer Fabrizio Bentivoglio and the magnificent Margherita Buy) and Marta's parents (the remarkable Diego Abatantuono and Carla Sinoris) – arrange to have dinner to meet for the first time, with hilarious consequences. Ezio soon writes himself into his script, and into a love story, while the characters bother him about having bigger and better roles!

Gorgeously shot, playfully acted and energetically paced, Salvatores tips his hat to the film's origins on stage (co-scripter Alessandro Genovesi helped adapt his own successful play) with opening shots of a stage curtain, preparing the audience for the theatrical interplay to come.

The film is being screened by The Italian Language Meetup Group on August 14, 2011 at Letelier Theater in Georgetown. Tickets are $8.00 with advance purchase or $10.00 at the door. Click here for full details.

Italy | 2010 | 92'
Cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Margherita Buy, Valeria Bilello, Fabio De Luigi


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eataly in DC?

I am sure by now that you have all heard the plans announced last week by Eataly that they are planning to open stores in DC and and LA by the end of 2012.  The Italian food and drink behemoth chain is reminiscent of a collection of nation-states, each named for a famous Italian culinary tradition: La Pizza e Pasta, Le Vedure, La Pizza, Manzo, I Panini,  Pasticceria, Birreria, and of course, La Gelateria.

While this should be exciting news for a city with an ever-burgeoning population of Italophiles, explains their "muted" response with evidence of Eataly's lackluster beer and wine menu.  While they are giving the benefit of the doubt to the abundance of specialty foods at Eataly, they also question its need, given the influx of superb restaurants like Fiola and Graffiato.

Although, the October 2010, New York Times' appraisal of the New York location applauded the wine selection at Manzo, Eataly's  only sit-down restaurant that takes reservations.  They also spoke highly of the food at Il Pesce and La Pasta.

One of the looming questions that will remain until its opening here in DC, will this location be the same sort of congested circus as its American flagship store in the Big Apple?  Let's hope not.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Weekend: Italian Pavilion at the Summer Fancy Foods Show!

The Summer Fancy Foods Show at the Washington Convention Center begins this morning.  As enthusiasts of a country that is world-renowned for its culinary genius, we are most excited about the massive Italian Pavilion that will welcome more than 200 exhibitors of Italian food and drink!
The event will open in style at 10:45 am, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand salute from Italian Trade Commission representatives and Italian exhibitors hosting journalists and food enthusiasts with a prosecco toast!

 The Italian Trade Commission is celebrating its 30th year of welcoming guests to the largest pavilion at the show.  Once again, the pavilion will proffer a myriad of authentic and specialty food and wine.  Attendees of the Italian Pavilion will benefit from the wealth of product knowledge available from the exhibitors and the ability to see and taste Italy’s finest offerings of cheese, freshly pressed fruit juices, extra virgin olive oil, freshly-cooked pasta, wine, gelato and other desserts. 

There will also be an array of new items this year, including: frozen pizza and focaccia, individually quick-frozen and organic quick-frozen desserts and dairy products,  flavored vinegars and salts, artisanal beer,  ready to eat dishes, new extra virgin olive oils.  I am betting that one of the big draws for those with food allergies will be the addition of gluten free products.  

This year is the 57th annual Summer Fancy Food show.  What started out with just 40 exhibitors has grown to one of the biggest draws for retailers, restaurateurs, and distributors looking to discover the next up and coming trend in food and beverage.  The show will run through July 12thYou can find the Italian Pavilion at 1040-1765, Exhibit Hall A,B,C.  For the complete schedule and more information, visit the show's website.

Update: You can read i-Italy's write-up on the "The Response of the Italian Producers"  here.