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Weekly News – Sept 05, 2019

Reimagining Campari

Campari has always been a symbol of intrigue and pleasure when it comes to aperitifs. The intense aroma and inspiring flavor creates a captivating and unique drinking experience. These are the values that have made the Campari brand famous throughout the world as an icon of passionate Italian style and excellence. Recently, the brand teamed up with Rome’s Cinecittà Studios to create short films to promote its cocktails. The series, “Red Diaries,” consists of works by contemporary Italian directors Matteo Garrone (“Gomorrah”), Stefano Sollima (“Suburra”) and Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino (“The Great Beauty”). Each inspired by a specific Campari cocktail, the films are psychological thrillers that contain a strong element of mystery. The website also features recipes for its cocktails, including the legendary Negroni and Americana, as well as the Campari story with past art and film campaigns. You can see the works at www.campari.com/red-diaries.

A Sparkling Surge

Prosecco long ago surpassed champagne as the world’s most popular sparkling wine. Now, Franciacorta, another northern Italian sparkling wine, is nipping at the heels of Prosecco’s popularity. Exports of the bubbly, such as Barone Pizzini Franciacorta, imported into the United States by Winebow, are up 60 percent so far in 2019, compared to last year. The small wine-producing area is in the region of Lombardy. It is located in the Province of Brescia, in the hills immediately south-east of Lake Iseo, stretching eastwards for 15 miles from the Oglio River to the Mella River valley. A key to Franciacorta’s popularity is the reliance on classic techniques used in making champagne. Growing conditions in northern Italy are actually warmer than in France’s Champagne region and the Italian sunshine creates a greater ripeness in the wines. That means that Franciacorta’s producers can add less sugar at the bottling stage and still achieve a well-rounded texture and a delicious taste.

Top Flight

Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport, known as Fiumicino, has been rated as Europe’s best airport for the second year running by Airports Council International (ACI). The airport was recognized for its “outstanding levels of quality” in service and infrastructure, according to ACI. Just five years ago, the airport was near the bottom of the rankings in terms of quality and became known for disruptions in service and delays. There was also a major fire in 2015 that seriously damaged Terminal 3 and temporarily reduced the airport’s capacity by 40 percent. The airport, Europe’s eighth busiest in terms of passengers served, has turned things around, thanks to an overhaul in both its services and infrastructure. Opened in 1961, the airport’s busiest domestic routes are to Catania, Sicily; Palermo, Sicily and Milan. Its second busiest intercontinental route, serving over three quarters of a million passengers last year, is to JFK in New York.

A Bigger Bite

According to Eurostat’s latest consumer price comparison, costs in Italy for many basic items exceeds the European Union average. Despite being a major food producer, groceries are 13 percent more expensive in Italy than the European average. Home furnishings are more costly in the country than anywhere else in the Eurozone at almost 12 percent higher than average. Other above-average costs include phone and internet (10.4 percent), restaurants, bars and hotels (4 percent) and automobiles (2.4 percent). On the plus side, the cost of housing in Italy is 8.8 percent lower on average and the cost for alcohol and tobacco products are 5 percent cheaper.

Curried Gelato?

The Italian passion for gelato is taken to the extreme at the Roman restaurant Il Gelato D’Essai da Geppy Sferra, in the Centocelle neighborhood. The restaurant showcases gelato in every dish on the menu. The idea behind Gelato D’Essai is to create a savory dish from gelato without altering its original characteristics, while achieving a balanced composition of flavors. Owner Geppy Sferra states, “My goal is to converge gastronomy and gelato, presenting gelato in a way we never knew existed.” The menu is broken down into four categories: ‘Il Gelato e l’Orto’ (Gelato and Vegetable Garden); ‘Il Gelato e il Mare’ (Gelato and Seafood); ‘Il Gelato e la Fattoria’ (Gelato and the Farm) and ‘Il Gelato e la Gola’ (Gelato and Dessert). Patrons will find first courses such as zucchini spaghetti with toasted ricotta gelato. The Sea and Gelato includes mackerel, sesame and spinach with coffee gelato, as well as salmon gravalax with grapefruit gelato. Sferra suggests that from Gelato and the Farm, diners should try the chicken curry with coconut gelato (pictured). No thank you, Geppy, we’ll just stick with the gelato for dessert!

A Population Implosion

The population of Europe will shrink by 20 million people by the end of the century, according to Eurostat forecasts. That is primarily due to Italy, which will see a forecasted decline of 16 million, thanks to an aging population, low birth rates, increasing emigration and decreasing immigration. If there is no influx from abroad for the rest of the century, Italy’s population might decline to as low as 30 million – half its current level. Italy registered the lowest number of births on record last year, as well as the highest number of emigrants since the mid-1990s, more than 157,000 people.