"Beverly Hills--Specialty products from Italy's Calabria region were on display"

by Joe Hilbers, Editor

Calabria, the region of Italy that is at the toe of the boot, is a land rich in history and the culture of people who have lived there through many centuries. It was also the original home of one of my Uncles and I can still recall him describing how much California resembled his homeland in so many ways.

So when the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce West recently presented a "Flavors of Calabria" event in Los Angeles it was a must for this Writer to experience and report upon.Calabria, its culture, food and wine are all about the Mediterranean since its geography thrusts it on three sides to that sea. The result is some very special food products and some distinctive grape varieties for its wines.

Led by Luigi Fedele, Assessore of Regione Calabria, a delegation of merchants from Calabria and U.S. importers were on hand at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills allowing the trade in Southern California to experience and taste a large variety of products.

We chatted with Rosanna Zonni who was representing Bova that exports a large variety of foods and wines from that region. These included extra virgin olive oils, jarred olives and artichokes and the local styled pesto sauce. Bova operates from Amaroni, a small village in the heartland of the region near the Jonic coast. Here too we tasted Bova Il Tralcio, 2010 vintage Calabrian Rosso. The wine is a blend of three local varietials, Gaglioppo, Magliocao and Nero d'Avola. We found the wine light on the palate and with smooth flavors, most definitely a food wine.

We also enjoyed a visit with Antonella Mattie who is with the IACCW located in West Los Angeles.

At the La Cascina 1899 table we had to taste the 'Easter Dove" cake which is stuffed with bergamot cream and several other local products. It was delicious, so much so that we had to have a second piece. This cake also comes in colorful gift packaging. We had to take a picture of this with Gesino Sgro, importer of La Cascina 1899 in Lancaster , Pa.

Before a break for lunch the group was greeted by Letizia Miccoli, executive secretary of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, and West Hooker-Poletti, president of IACCW West, and Luigi Fedele outlined what Calabria has to offer in food and wines.

Then it was a luncheon to explore Calabrian cuisine and for this Writer a way to recall long ago dinners at the home of my Aunt and Uncle. The luncheon featured Calabrian tuna as well as a specialty styled baked breast of chicken and two pastas, one with sausage and eggplant ragu and a second with capers, olives, and sundried tomatoes.

We also had the opportunity to taste another Calabrian wines, Statti 2011 Gaglioppo. This local varietal is grown along the Tyrrhenian Coast and the wine is very flavorful and showed a fine balance. We thought it a superior vintage.

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Last Update:3/15/13

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