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From Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia Alma brings culinary Made in Italy to the world

For the Week of Italian Cuisine in the world the school of Colorno has carried around the "parmigianità"

Promoting made in Italy, enhancing our food and wine heritage and bringing Italian culinary culture abroad. These are the objectives of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World, the international event now in its eighth edition that, through initiatives and projects around the world, involves institutions, embassies, consulates, Italian cultural institutes and local organizations. 

An active part of the event is Alma, the International School of Italian cuisine founded in 2002 by Gualtiero Marchesi, protagonist in November of a rich program of masterclasses, showcooking, competitions and institutional appointments, from South America to China. 

From Parmigiano Reggiano to pasta, from tomato to raw ham, there is a lot of parmigianità in this "baggage" that the Cooking School of Colorno, in the province of Parma, has brought with it during these days around the world. Thanks to a dense network of collaborations, Alma was able to be present in some of the most important moments of this annual event. Here are a few.

The chef Mario Marini, ambassador of Alma, territorial marketing consultants for the City of Parma, and patron of the Restaurant Bistrot La Corale Verdi, was the protagonist of a series of itinerant events, together with the Communication manager of the school, Giacomo Bullo, and chef Elena Zeng

A gastronomic competition on the theme of risotto saw the students of the International Culinary Institute (ICI) and the School of Cuisine and Tourism of the Honk Kong Polytechnic compete. To judge them, the Italian Consul Carmelo Ficarra, the chef Marini, and the graduate Alma and today chef 1 Michelin star in Hong Kong Antimo Maria Merone. The winner, Mei Ching Li, took part in the course for international students. 

One of the missions of Alma as a center of advanced training on Italian cuisine is to bring across the border the culture, knowledge and technique that make our country’s food an excellence, a unique and probably, as the Unesco candidacy states, a World Heritage Site. In this context, relations are built between Alma and Saudi Arabia, where actors such as the Royal Protocol, the Saudi government apparatus that deals mainly with the protocol and royal ceremonies in the Kingdom, Sitaf, premium retailer of the highest quality food and ingredients for all KSA and the Culinary Arts Commission, a government body with the aim of supervising and classifying Saudi and international restaurants, dishes and chefs for research and study purposes, involved the Cooking School of Colorno in a series of activities related to the Week of Italian Cuisine in the world. 

The Saudi scenario of the events in question already suggests the greatness of every detail: "Dinner Incredible", a project that brings together 12 starred chefs with the desire to meet year after year new cultures, traditions and flavors with the idea of "Food connecting people". Among dinners and buffets of Gala, this format has created a series of satellite events of great importance, including that of the Parma school held on 23 November, in the fairy-tale setting of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riad. 

In the presence of guests of the Kingdom, international institutions and journalists, "Meet the Excellence & the Italian Taste Competition" brought a lot of Italian spirit and prospects of growth and collaboration between Italy and Saudi Arabia. An initiative that, in continuity with the candidacy of Italian Cuisine as a Unesco World Heritage Site and under the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Riyadh and the Italian Trade Agency, wanted to be a bearer of gastronomic culture and the greatness of Italian food, especially the heritage of the Italian Food Valley.

"The Italian Embassy in Riyadh enthusiastically welcomed the project of Alma, said Giuliano Fragnito, Deputy Ambassador of Italy in Riyadh-. A project that helped to further consolidate a culinary and cultural bridge between Italy and Saudi Arabia, creating a fertile ground for the sharing of gastronomic and cultural experiences and for the professional growth of Saudi chefs, thanks to the guidance of world-famous Italian chefs". 

"The ongoing evolution in Saudi Arabia within the framework of Vision 2030 represents a valuable opportunity to further strengthen the Italian projection in this country -adds Fragnito-. The recent nomination of Italian cuisine as a Unesco World Heritage Site, widely valued by the Saudi public thanks to the event organized with Alma, is a model, all Italian, likely to provide useful insights for the development process underway in the Saudi Kingdom". 

After a Masterclass dedicated to risotto, in which Chef Valerio Cabri proposed a recipe conceived to replicate the Saudi flag chromatically, the event "Meet the Excellence & the Italian Taste Competition" saw 8 young Saudi chefs compete in an original contest with the aim of replicating the recipe of chef Cabri as faithfully as possible; the winner was awarded a week of one-to-one lessons at the headquarters of Alma.

"With the award of Expo 2030 in Riyadh -explains the director general of the School Andrea Sinigaglia- Saudi Arabia is confirmed as a global destination for all that is tourism. In this country that is opening up to the world there is a lot of desire for Italian but also a great need for professionalism. Alma has been present for over a year with collaborations both with institutions and with schools, under the aegis of the Italian Embassy and the Italian Trade Agency". 

"We plan a 2024 of great interventions both in the educational and cultural field, but especially in the training of professionals as we already do in Colorno -adds Sinigaglia-. In addition, together with the Emilia Romagna region, we are engaged in a major project in the Asir region of southern Arabia, born precisely because our region, especially the Food Valley, is taken as a model of gastronomic identity". 

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EFA News - European Food Agency