Friday, February 22, 2008

GALA Italia ---New York

I was one of the lucky one to get a press pass to attend the GALA Italia, an event celebrating Italian Wine, Food and Fashion. The event was held yesterday, 2-21, at the New York Marriott Marquis, and it opened its door at 3 pm for the press and restaurateurs and at 6 pm to consumers and other guests. I arrived at 5.30 pm and entered the ballroom on the 6th floor. The large room was crowed with wine lovers as a great number Italian wine exhibitors were offering their tastings. There was plenty of cheese - Brie, Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano - presented with chutney and honey. You had the option of ham, salads and various types of bread on the tables for the hungry ones to satisfy their appetite. The restaurants opened at 6.30 pm and the crowds run quickly. Speed wasn't apparently a good idea, you had to line up to try soups, toasted bread with pork, salmon and chicken, cabbage salads with olives and lemon, shrimp balls, and chocolate-covered strawberries. I am sure I forget a few but my appetite and my stomach were both pleased.

The fashion shows were presented every half or so hour, and there was a draw to win the trip to Italy and a scooter! I didn't win but I had a lot of fun! The wines I tasted together with the cheese and the tasty food improved my mood and the good looking silver-haired men I talked to was a pleasant surprise. Italians were loud and graphic with their gestures as always but overall a delightful experience!

Gala Italia is organized by the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Wine and Food Institute.