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Thursday, February 11, 2010

A very special night!

Dear friends,

Last Tuesday, February 9,  I had the honor to perform with my musicians at the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “Accademia Italiana Della Cucina“ Delegation of New York, at the beautiful and super exclusive Metropolitan Club in Manhattan.

The “Accademia Italiana Della Cucina” was born on the 29th of July of 1953 founded by Orio Vergani, with the task of safeguarding, together with the traditions of Italian cuisine, the culture of the civilization of the table, lively and active expression of the entire Nation.
He was motivated by passion, by experience, and by a profound faith in the cultural, historical and human values on which a country's civilization of the table and gastronomical culture are based. And from then on, the activity and history of the Accademia have never ceased to pursue the principles. Today, at a distance of fifty years, the Accademia is more solid, active, vigorous and important than ever.

In 2003, the Minister for Cultural Affairs even recognized the well documented cultural merits of the Accademia by granting it the denomination, “Cultural Institution”, thus placing it amongst the largest and most important Italian cultural organizations, working intensively for the valorization, research and broadening of knowledge about the Italian gastronomical culture.

The Accademia is organized in territorial Delegations - up to today 205 in Italy and 67 abroad, counting approximately 7.000 associates altogether.

And I’m proud to say that I’m a member of this Italian Cultural Institution since 2001.

Admission to the Accademia is subordinated to a period of attendance. Admission is decided, upon proposal of the competent Delegate of the correspondent region, by the President of the Accademia, following an attentive scrutiny of the moral and personal requisites of the candidate.

For me the Accademia has been a perfect way to meet so many wonderful friends and to engage friendship with fellow “Accademici” around the world. When an Accademico moves to another Country or City, will move from one Delegation to another. I became a member in the Delegation of Utrecht, in Holland, then I was transferred to the one in London when I moved there and since 4 year I belong to the Delegation on New York.

Being a member of the Accademia is an incredible great honor as you can imagine, and has brought into my life so many great people who like me share the loves for the Italian Culture. Even if I promote Italian Culture around the world with my music, I’m convinced that cooking  is in fact one of the most profound forms of expression of a nation's culture: it is the fruit of the history and life of its inhabitants, a history which differs from region to region, from city to city, and from village to village.

Every month the members of each Delegation around the world gather together for a dinner, called Symposium. It is the task of the Symposiarch, chosen each time by the Academicians of each Delegation, to organize the Symposium. The Symposium, basically a dinner,  represents an occasion for the investigation and supervision of the condition of public catering and Italian Restaurants. In fact, the Symposiarch chooses a restaurant in the territory of his own Delegation, proposing and agreeing with the chef on a menu, chosen with extreme care and according to very precise criteria.
By means of a detailed evaluation form, the participants to the Symposium will express their judgment regarding the chef's capacity of interpreting the menu, the quality of the products used and the combinations with the wine, the hospitality and reception of the restaurant and regarding the ratio between price and quality.
A report of the “Symposium” will be published on the Accademia monthly Magazine “Civita’ della Tavola”, where each Accademico around the world can read about the Accademia's activity, but also of topics of a cultural and gastronomical nature are regularly discussed. Each Accademico get this publication every month.

The Accademia published also every year a Restaurant Guide entitled "I Ristoranti dell'Accademia". The guide, which is unique in its kind, highlights and grades the best Italian Restaurants around the world.
So no matter when I go I can always find the best authentic Italian Food!!

When the Contessa Francesca Baldeschi Balleani, the Delegate of the New York Delegation, who’s become a dear friends and a great supporter of my music, invited me to perform at the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Accademia of New York and to sing for my fellow Accademici, I was of course very much thrilled.

The black tie event was very nice and cozy and the food was, as usual, above expectations. The chef, who cooked for 150 guests, was the famous chef Lucio Pompili, from the Restaurant Symposium from Serraungarinam of the province of Pesaro and Urbino. He and his staff brought all the ingredients from the region Marche, who was the sponsor Region for this special celebration.

I had the honor to be guest of the Metropolitan Club for the celebration. So I got there early in the morning, to a beautiful huge suite with view on Central Park on the 5th floor of the beautiful Metropolitan Club building. After lunch I went to Federico Salon to do my hair. Around 4 Pm I did the sound check with my musicians and around 6Pm I met with my make up artist Piera in my suite.
Around 7Pm it was time to wear my gown and  the fantastic jewels from Alex Harris, A. Harris Jewelers Since 1851.

At 7:30Pm was time to get down to the first  floor to the fantastic reception where we could taste so many fantastic appetizers and mingle with all the rest of the distinguish guests.
At 8:00Pm was time to move into the dinner room so elegant and beautiful with a view to Central Park from those big windows.
The Celebration started with the National Anthems: first the American sung wonderfully by famous baritone Marc Watson and then the Italian sung by me. Always-such a great honor and such an emotional moment.

And then was dinner time.
On the menu:
Parmantier con uovo fritto al tartufo nero d’Inverno (a delicious little cake of potatoes with eggs and black truffle)
Pasta Artgianale marchigiana con beccaccino pettinata di caffe’ e cacao riduzione a goccia di lacrima di Morro d’Alba (a very tasty home made pasta from the Marche’s region with snipe made with cacao and coffees cream from Morro d”Alba…the pasta came in a glass single jar and each guests had to shaker the pasta and the sauce together and purr it on the plate….it was fun!!)
Tagliata di Lombo di Toro Marchigiano con Olio al rosmarino- Bandiera di Verdure- Tortino di Patate e cipolla Bianca (cut of loin of bull of Marche, with oil and rosemary – vegetables- and cake of potatoes and white onions).

After the “Secondo“ was served it was my time to perform with my musicians: show time with 5 songs : Love Story- Io che Non Vivo Senza Te- Tell Me When- La Vie En Rose- and Caruso.
Since among the guests many where “Accademici” and dignitaries from Italy. My talks were mix of English and Italian. So much fun!!

And then Dessert:
Carota sottoterra – dolce-salato dedicato a Francesca (this was my favorite dish: a sweet marzipan carrots with chocolate truffle dedicated to Francesca, the Delegate of the Delegation of New York the Contessa Francesca Baldeschi Balleani, who had put together such an impressive event ).

After the Desserts was served was time for the honorees to receive their Accademic awards: to receive the awards where some outstanding Italians Restaurant of New York: Barbetta 1906, Falai, Gino 1945, Le Cirque and Il Gattopardo, great journalists Pamela Fiori, Mimmi Sheraton, and Luisanna Messeri. writer Giuliano Bugalli and grocer Lou Di Palo.

Around midnight the fantastic Celebrations where almost over. What a great night of Celebration of the Italian Culture and Food!! I got to meet so many new interesting people and old friends. The President of The Region Marche has officially invited me to be his guest this summer at the beautiful “Sferisterio” during the Opera season!! Can’t wait for that!!

It was time to go to my beautiful room while the snow was starting to slow coming down. I woke up in the morning and the vision was incredible: New York’s Central Park was completely white!! I went to the 6th floor for a fantastic breakfast on the restaurant, which has a breathtaking view on Central Park and the City! What a fantastic beginning of my day!!

And then my car arrived and was time to go back home with so many new wonderful memories.

My great friends and great photographer Alex Kroke was the official photographer of the night! Thank you Alex for this great pictures!! 

Stay tune for my next week blog when I will take you to the beautiful Amalfi Coast and share with you memories and tips of this wonderful place of Italy.

Un abbraccio a tutti,


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