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Italy Declares 2018 as the Year of Italian Food in the World

Italy’s Ministry of Food and Forestry Policies and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism have declared 2018 the year of Italian food in the world. The cultural, social and aesthetic value of Italian food are at the center of the new campaign.

The choice of food as the centerpiece is based on the extraordinary worldwide respect and demand for Italian food and wine. This new initiative symbolizes Italy’s commitment to promote and protect the excellence of its cuisine that is now as important to the country’s culture as its art and history. The year opened with a campaign on social media (#annodelciboitaliano @museitaliani on Instagram), focusing on typical Italian gourmet dishes. Meanwhile, events promoting Italian culture, wine and food are opening this month in support of the Mediterranean diet, which is recognized on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. See this week’s Tavola for delicious Mediterranean diet recipes.

Other initiatives include events to support the lands of Prosecco and Pasta Amatriciana as UNESCO candidates and the promotion of rural areas and local products as tourist attractions. These include the Pantelleria vine, the landscapes of Langhe Roero and Monferrato, Parma’s gastronomic tradition and on a far less rural scale, the world-wide cultural significance of Neapolitan pizza.

The close link between food, art and the landscape will also be at the center of the strategy to promote tourism through the national tourism agency ENIT and through Italian embassies worldwide to highlight the extent to which food and wine are part of Italy’s cultural identity.

“We have a unique heritage worldwide which, thanks to the year dedicated to food, we will be able to promote even more,” Italian Minister of Food and Forestry Policies Maurizio Martina said. “It’s not only a matter of stressing the economic success of this sector – which in 2017 reached record exports worth €40 billion – but also of stressing the deep connection between food, land and cultural identity,” he added.

The minister said 2018 will be dedicated to Gualtiero Marchesi, the Italian superchef, who died on December 26, 2017. Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini said the year of Italian food will provide an important occasion to “make a big investment in the image of our country in the world”.