Gastronomía Is Just an Accent Away from Gastronomia: A Cooking Workshop and Tasting about Spanish and Latin American Influences on Italian Dishes
Led by Giuseppe de Falco and Federica Heiman with a wine illustration by Hank Zona (Grapes Unwrapped)
Greetings by Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair)
* Note that the previously announced participation of Chef Annalisa Pompeo was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances
Sat. March 26 5pm
This workshop draws on the vast array of dishes that are the result of the influence of Spanish and Latin American cultures and products in those areas of Italy that were under the Spanish Empire (Milan as well as Naples and Sicily) roughly between the 16th and 18th centuries The title – focusing on the profound similarity between the Italian and Spanish languages (indeed only a written accent differentiates the two terms in writing, while the pronunciation is exactly the same!) – highlights the proximity of food cultures produced by the commercial routes and social exchanges designed by the Spanish Empire connecting places as distant as Italy, Spain, and Latin America. The event is linked to a broader project about these influences in film, literature, etc. called Memoria presente. For an overview of the specific culinary cross-pollinations prompted by transnational and transcontinental commercial routes, see this page (password NEH2021Fiore)
The menu includes some classic dishes of the Sicilian gastronomy (caponata and potato croquettes are very popular appetizers/finger foods), as well as recipes that are more common in specific areas of the island like Trapani (see the pasta dish, busiate al pesto). The desserts are quite unique to Modica in Sicily, and while the Aztec chocolate bars are by now a well-know product well beyond Sicily, the ‘mpanatigghi are definitely local, and a hidden gem. For this reason, the focus of the demo will be on the ‘mpanatigghi.
* See also a household recipe for a variant of the “impanate” with spinach filling, as recorded in the 1970s by a Sicilian immigrant from Sicily to the U.S.: Rosina Pistritto Giardina, born in 1899 in Francofonte in the province of Siracusa, emigrated in 1918 – photo)
Giuseppe de Falco developed his passion for cooking in the rural environment of his childhood, i.e., Carife, a small town located in the Irpinia hills in the province of Avellino. He attended a culinary school and worked in restaurants in that region, specializing on local ingredients and ancient recipes. At the age of 25, he started traveling to expand his knowledge and techniques: among other countries, he visited and worked in Chile and Argentina, where he learned about meats in depth. This experience allowed him to see the connections between Italian and Latin American cuisines, which still play an important part in his approach to cooking. In 2013 he moved to New Jersey, where he has offered his expertise in various restaurants.
Federica Heiman is a free-lance boutique chocolatier based in Montclair. She is the owner of a local brand (Dolce Federica) that specializes in small batch, creative delicacies. Born and raised in Italy, Federica trained in multiple places around the world, including Italy, France, Israel, Brazil, and Costa Rica. In her work, she blends the traditional scents and flavors of her native country with innovative processes, leading to the introduction of, among others, Limoncello, Aceto Balsamico, Basilico and Extra Vergine infused ganaches.
- Linked to the NEH-awarded project “Memoria presente”
- Included in the new series “Dentro/Afuera: The Interconnections between Italian and Latin American/Spanish Cultures”
- Organized and sponsored by the Inserra Endowed Chair In collaboration with the Italian Program (Dept. of World Languages and Cultures) at Montclair State University
Photo by Annalisa Pompeo
Short url: https://tinyurl.com/GastronomiaITSPLA
Annalisa Pompeo is a free-lance chef based in Italy and the owner of a company that promotes Sicilian gastronomy through cooking classes and events supporting local producers (Go Sicily).