The best foods in Italy are said to be found in Emilia-Romagna.
That’s the northern region in the country, home to Prosciutto di Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
It’s no wonder why these items are to be offered this weekend on Grant Street and Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.
Sunday (June 9) is Italian Day on the Drive, and a major showcase of the street festival is the Authentic Italian Table Piazza, a food and wine tasting event.
The event is being hosted by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada–West (ICCC).
“This year, we’ll have a lot of products from Emilia-Romagna,” Ilaria Baldan, the association's executive director, told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
She explained that the Authentic Italian Table Piazza is part of an Italian government program called Extraordinary Italian Taste, which aims to promote authentic Italian products in North America.
“We’ll be sampling food and wine products, and all of the products that are inside the piazza and the wine are made in Italy,” Baldan said. “They’re authentic and certified products.”
According to Baldan, her trade organization wants to create the experience of enjoying food and wine in a relaxed street atmosphere.
Born and raised in Italy, Baldan confesses to a craving of prosciutto with melon, which she said is typical summer fare in her native country.
“It’s not common to find that in Vancouver. I’ve never seen it anywhere,” she said.
On Sunday, visitors to the piazza can sample prosciutto and melon, as well as prosciutto and arugula, another of Baldan’s favourites.
As accompaniment, Baldan suggests Lambrusco, a sparkling wine variety known to match perfectly with food from Emilia-Romagna.
"That is some wine that is very fresh. It's for the summer time," Baldan said.
This is the second year that Baldan’s ICCC is hosting an Authentic Italian Table Piazza.
Tickets can be purchased at The Drive or in advance online.
Italian Day on the Drive takes place from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday (June 9).