Last July 12 and 13, the Italian Culinary Experience was held at the SMEG showroom in Shanghai’s Xuhui district. The event is dedicated to teachers from Chinese culinary institutes who are called to disseminate Italian culinary education.
The Italian Culinary Experience is part of the Italian Culinary Program, the educational project on Italian food products implemented by the network of Italian Trade Agency (ITA) offices in mainland China with the support of the diplomatic-consular network in the People’s Republic of China and ALMA – the International School of Italian Cuisine. The goal is to promote Italian gastronomic culture and build deeper culinary ties between China and Italy.
After the success of the first two editions, with the participation of 12 Chinese primary culinary schools and the involvement of more than 2,300 students, this year’s program included a series of agreements with six other prestigious culinary schools: from Wenzhou to Kunming, via Wuhan and Guilin.
THE ITALIAN CULINARY EXPERIENCE 2023
During the Italian Culinary Experience 2023, vertical sessions on the main ingredients of the Italian tradition – extra virgin olive oil, cheese, wine, coffee, gelato – alternated with moments of discussion and exchange. Among the guests, Stefano Bacchelli – a two Michelin-starred executive chef of Shanghai’s haute cuisine restaurant Da Vittorio – held a half-day workshop in which he prepared a complete menu of Italian recipes for the teachers. Many of the 26 Italian PGI products covered by the bilateral trade agreement between Europe and China on the mutual recognition of a list of 100 Geographical Indications were used.
Selected KOLs from the F&B sector were also present, as part of the communication plan to support the promotion of Italian gastronomic culture and the quality, experience, and health values of its agri-food products to the Chinese public. The promotional content will be further disseminated on the main Chinese social media, starting with RED, Weibo, and WeChat.
In the wine-tasting class, a Chinese instructor and an Italian sommelier explained the geography of Italian wines, classification systems, grape varieties, and food pairing techniques. The two then led a tasting of eight wines and spirits that best represent Italy’s extraordinary diversity.
In the vertical session on gelato, a trainer prepared an Italian artisanal gelato for the teachers to taste, also as an accompaniment to the story about the differences between gelato, ice cream, soft serve, and industrial ice cream.
The course on extra virgin olive oil opened on the second day of work, focusing on the unique benefits of extra virgin olive oil, the production process, and tasting techniques.
During the lecture on Italian cheeses, the instructor gave an in-depth presentation of six different Italian PGI cheeses, explaining their production processes, flavors, and uses in cooking.
The final session of the program was dedicated to coffee, its geographical origins, recipes, and tasting techniques, allowing teachers to personally experience the preparation of a typical Italian espresso coffee.