Italian Culture Week kicks off

HARARE - The Italian Culture Week, organised by the Embassies of Italy and Switzerland, will begin today and run until September 17.

Several activities have been lined up at various venues in Harare including the best of Italian cuisine to be showcased at Meikles Hotel by internationally- renowned Italian Chef Lorenzo Mottalini who will delight dinners with his traditional but innovative menu of Italian dishes on September 16 and 17.

Swiss Ambassador Luciano Lavizzari and Italian Ambassador Enrico De Agostini said the objective of the Italian Culture Week is to improve cross-cultural understanding of the Italian culture, within the Zimbabwean and the international communities, through activities that are educational and entertaining.

The week-long festivities will also feature international food expert Christophe Bruno Marziale and local Italian chef Marina Pillai.

The Italian Ambassador is hopeful that this year’s Italian Culture Week programme will build on the experience of the Zimbabwean “Croco-burger” presented at EXPO Milan 2015 and also explore new ways of using crocodile meat and game in Italian cuisine.

In line with the culture exchange focus of the initiative, Chef Mottalini will run a workshop organised by Meikles Hotel to facilitate skills transfer and understanding among local catering industry professionals.

Mottalini is based in South Africa and has 25 years catering experience gained at various restaurants and hotels, including a six-year stint as executive head chef at the Palazzo Intercontinental at Montecasino in Gauteng. He now runs his own company, consulting to hospitality establishments in a range of culinary areas, including menu conceptualisation and design.

The Italian Culture Week will also see the screening of a thought-provoking documentary titled Habemus Mister by Italian film director Tiziano Russo. The film will be screened at the Italian Club on September 16 and at Tristan Place in Highlands, Harare on September 17.

Habemus Mister is the story of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and uses a parallel technique to also tell the story of Mauro Raponi, a soccer coach who suddenly resigned after eight years at the helm of his community team. Both resignations were unimaginable to all those who followed the two leaders and the film compares believers to supporters who share common emotions.

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