Fragments of Italy in New York City

By Emma Olson
Photo by Ana Karina Liberata

On the evening of October 28th, in the middle of New York City, many lucky guests will be embarking on a cultural experience of Tuscan cuisine. The venue is the renowned James Beard Foundation which has been a center for all things related to the culinary arts since 1986. The event will be taking place in the peak of autumn and is made possible due to the collaboration of the James Beard Foundation and Florence University of the Arts’ academic program TuttoToscana. Apicus, the hospitality division at FUA, has been traveling to the Big Apple for the last thirteen years to present culinary experiences at the James Beard Foundation. This unique partnership will result in a meal that takes the diner’s senses through all directions of Tuscany by way of nineteen thoughtful and traditional courses from finger foods all the way to dessert.

The theme this year is “Fragments of Tuscany,” inspired by the ten provinces of the beautiful region. Each course corresponds to classic ingredients used in different areas, and each one is naturally accompanied by a wine to compliment the flavors. Theme will be applied not only to the Oct 28th dinner hosted by Apicius for the JBF public, but also to the menus to be served at the annual FUA alumni reunion also hosted at JBF on the 29th and an art exhibition on the 25th.

In our creative writing class at FUA, we are working on using words to clearly convey what the guests will be tasting not only on Oct 28th but throughout the week of TuttoToscana events in NYC. As we are sure that knowing a bit of history behind each course will take this experience to the next level. As we examined the 28th dinner we learned that a pecorino cheese for example, comes from a mountainous region in the northern part of Tuscany. Then the taste buds are lured south with a dish based on rich flavors of the Maremma area. Don’t forget the desserts, where one of the six sweets served is a dark chocolate lollipop with pear, black truffle, and Volterra salt, inspired by the region of San Miniato which is referred to as the truffle mecca of Italy.

We are hoping that a creative write up of the menu will give the attendees yet another way to enjoy la bella Italia, not only through the senses, but also through the art of words. As fellow writing student Ana Karina Liberata shares, “I want the audience members to feel as excited as I do when they read about the dishes and to have a general idea of what the cities these dishes come from are like. I want them to feel as if they are right here in Tuscany enjoying this place with all five senses even though they are only experiencing it through taste.”

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