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CIRA (Sydney): more than cappuccino, pizza and pasta

Lucio Galletto

Sydney based CIRA, the Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia, is an example of a clear commitment towards correct education in Italian Cuisine. The Council’s aim is to protect the traditions and integrity of Italian cooking by providing advice to members of the association on writing menus, selecting produce and wine; and ensuring Italian chefs, as well as the Italian food lovers, are properly schooled in the true basics. It’s within this context that CIRA is currently hosting an interesting calendar of classes at its Cooking School, in Casa Barilla’s world-class cooking facility (Annandale). Some of the best Italian chefs in town will teach at the classes, including Mario Percuoco, Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s), Nino Zoccali (Pendolino), Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci (Uccello). “We are happy to be passing on our knowledge and sharing our passion with the Australian public so they can appreciate the intricacy and beauty of Italian cuisine”, says Lucio Galletto, CIRA’s President. The Council is committed to educating Australians about the huge variety of Italian cuisine on offer in many of Sydney’s great Italian restaurants. “More than cappuccino, pizza and pasta; regional Italian cuisine is so varied, and so exciting to learn about. And what better way than by joining classes hosted by some of the best practicing Italian-Australians chefs who really know how to showcase their region,” Galletto said.

CIRA was formed almost ten years by a group of Italian chefs and restaurateurs, including Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo), Lucio Galletto (Lucio's), Danny Russo, Vanessa Martin, Massimo Bianchi and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freschwater).



Ornella Fado

Ornella Fado the brilliant creator and broadcaster of Brindiamo!, the only TV show that showcases the finest and most authentic Italian restaurants in the U.S., is organizing an important initiative for the Columbus Day Parade this October 11. She’s promoting a Brindiamo! float in which for the first time, the “protagonisti” are the Italian Chefs, “I´ve always believed that Italian restaurants have been a major work force in America, particularly in New York City, and not just for the Italian community”, says Ornella who adds “So Chefs should be out there celebrating this day about immigration, hard work, and success”. Moved by the respect that she feels for each Italian chef and for their hard work, she wants to toast to them all and invite them to be on her float on the fun, festive event that is the Columbus Day Parade.


Ornella, in collaboration with IFSE, a cooking school based in Piobesi Torinese, is also promoting  the First edition of “The Brindiamo! Scholarship”, which is a great opportunity to travel to one of the, historically and culturally, richest regions in Italy: Piedmont, to learn cooking skills. Only three talented individuals will be selected to win the Brindiamo! Scholarship, although regular courses are open to everyone who loves italian food and culture.


Massimo Falsini: Chef of the winning Formula Ferrari

Massimo Falsini

Massimo Falsini has a very challenging job: he´s Executive Chef of Formula Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park and the largest attraction of its kind, which will open next October 28. The Park will have hyper technological, multisensory attractions, built to attract fans, families and racing fanatics who will experience “the race”, the culture, the indulgence and the history.

Massimo, an itchefs-gvci long-time member, is responsible for the 6 food and beverage outlets that include an organic kitchen, a fine “high end” cafè and a Pizzeria making TSP authentic Neapolitan Pizza. “Our aim is to propose a F&B program of very high quality, literally to revolutionize the theme park industry”, says chef Falsini, who leads a team of 106 chefs (most of them with experience in Michelin starred restaurants) and 25 stewards.

Massimo FalsiniMassimo Falsini

The highlights of the program remain secret at the moment but Massimo says that, together with his F&B Vice President, they are working on the reinterpretation of street-food. “To go back to the origins, where each component of the dish had something to say”. Formula Rossa (blast away on the fastest rollercoaster on the planet strapped into the F1 cockpit) and Bell’Italia (a leisurely drive in a small-scale Ferrari 250 California, circa 1957, thru the best of Italia’s cityscapes, landmarks and racing venues) are the main attractions for the visitors that are expected at the Formula Ferrari World.




From August 26 to 30, lard will be the king of a festival in Arnad, a small town in the lower Valle d'Aosta. The lard of this area is the only one of European protected designation of origin (PDO).
It was, until recently, considered useful only for seasoning, but its status has been elevated with the local gastronomic event, the ‘Lard Festival’, so that it now enjoys a nationwide reputation. Nowadays, it has its rightful place on the table as a delicious antipasto.
One special feature of Arnad lard concerns how the pigs are fed, since this does not involve using integrated fodder, it, thus, necessarily involves feed like chestnuts and vegetables. It is then seasoned, using locally found flavourings such as garlic, salt, rosemary, bay leaves and brine, and kept in a handmade chestnut wood container known as a ‘doil’.
During the Festival, on Saturday 29 August, there will be a special Italian P.D.O and P.G.I cold meat exhibition and tasting and visitors will be able to taste all the best Italian delicatessen products in the typical wooden huts that have always characterised the ‘Lard Festival’ event. Here is the list of the cold cuts present at the tasting:

2    Valle D’aosta Lardo di Arnad    DOP
3    Valle D’aosta Jambon de Bosses     DOP
4    Mortadella Bologna    IGP
5    Prosciutto di Parma    DOP
6    Bresaola della Valtellina     IGP
7    Soprèssa Vicentina    DOP -
Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo    DOP
8    Soppressata di Calabria    DOP
Capocollo di Calabria    DOP
Salsiccia di Calabria     DOP
Pancetta di Calabria    DOP
9    Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora    DOP
10    Zampone Modena    IGP
Cotechino Modena    IGP
11    Prosciutto di Modena     DOP
12    Salame Piacentino    DOP
Coppa Piacentina    DOP
Pancetta Piacentina    DOP
13    Culatello di Zibello    DOP
14    Salame Cremona    IGP
15    Salame di Varzi    DOP
16    Prosciutto Toscano    DOP
17    Prosciutto di Carpegna    DOP
Prosciutto di Norcia    IGP
18    Lardo di Colonnata    IGP
Salame S. Angelo    IGP
19    Coppa di Parma     IGP (*)
Salame Felino     IGP (*)
20    Crudo di Cuneo    DOP (*)
Salame Piemonte    DOP (*)
21    Speck dell'alto Adige    IGP
Prosciutto Di Sauris    IGP (*)
22    Prosciutto di San Daniele     DOP
23    Salame d'oca di Mortara    IGP
Salame Brianza    DOP




Bruno Barbieri, the former chef of the Relais L’Arquade (San Pietro in Cariano – Verona), who controversially left Italy in search of better professional opportunities, has disembarked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He will open a new restaurant in the Carioca city next November. As anticipated by the Gambero Rosso website, Barbieri will run an open space, with creative cuisine, “but not extreme”. Barbieri, who has never worked abroad before, talks already as a veteran of Italian Cuisine outside Italy, and offers himself as a candidate to represent the best of Italian productions. He is finding the Brazilian reality very exciting.

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