Pasta and Pizza are probably the most famous and favourite food of millions across the globe but there is so much more to Italian cuisine than just that. In India, it is the third most popular cuisine after Indian and Chinese. Along with food, Italian art and artists are also recognised for their immense contribution.
To showcase Italy’s art and food, Hyatt Regency, Pune, in collaboration with the Italian Consulate of Mumbai, has organised The Italian Connection. Besides Casa Italiana which takes patrons on a culinary journey, around 40-45 paintings and sculptures (certified canvas museum quality prints) by one of the greatest Italian artists, Leonardo da Vinci, are being exhibited by Dream A Painting.
Aamod Bhat, concept owner of Dream A Painting which showcases thematic exhibitions, was all praise for the legendary artist. “Leonardo da Vinci was a great inventor, the reason being, his both, left and right spheres of the brain were fully active. He was mathematical as well as creative,” said Bhat.
About the culinary part of the event, Vishal Singh, general manager, Hyatt Regency Pune, said, “Food is the biggest link between different people and cultures. It’ a common connect. When the first Hyatt opened in India around 35 years back, we started an Italian restaurant called La Piazza which is iconic. Since then, there has been an Italian restaurant in most Hyatt hotels.”
The Italian Consul General of Mumbai, Ugo Ciarlatani, who was in town to meet Italian companies which have invested in the region, spoke about his role of not only promoting business but also culture. He said that in terms of culture, Italy can play a big role. “There are very few countries that have a rich culture in food. India is one of them along with Italy,” he said.
Chef Antonino Chirieleison, who has curated Casa Italiana for The Italian Connection at La Terrazza Trattoria & Lounge, will serve authentic Sicilian cuisine and handmade pastas. Authentic Italian food is not easy to prepare. There are schools in Italy that offer a one-year course in Pizza making and Espresso making. “Like in India, the method and taste of food changes from region to region in Italy too,” said he.
Italian cuisine is also considered as fast or junk food but Chirieleison busts the myth by saying that if you cook the food properly, it is nutritious. “It depends on how you cook, which flour you use and if the vegetables are fresh or not,” he said.
Talking of similarities between Indian and Italian cuisines, the chef said that Italian food is not just bland. There are a few common herbs and spices like basil, saffron and chilli which are extensively used in Indian and Italian cooking.