It's that time of year, ringing in the holidays and Fiorella hosted her annual La Vigilia: Italian Christmas Food Traditions fundraiser and food celebration at the Italian American Museum in Little Italy this month. Once again Cav. Dr. Joseph Scelsa continues to outshine the last year and the museum was as festive as ever, as it prepares to close early next year for the much anticipated expansion!
Just like every year, Fiorella talked about the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, or the traditional food and cooking styles of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Southern France, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. On-going research continues to suggest that people following the Mediterranean Diet have reduced risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and heart disease. The Mediterranean Diet has also been shown to promote longevity and reduce inflammation. To tie in the holiday season, Fiorella discussed best ways you can throw a healthy party Italian Style--tying in tips from her new recipe e-book, Living in Italian: Crostini & Wine (Healthy Entertaining Italian Style).
The kicker this year was the special guest, Andrew Coletti of Pass the Flamingo, history & food educator! Another Italian obsessed about food, Andrew explores the history of food, including Ancient Roman food traditions. Funny thing we all learned was that the Ancient Romans were quite the healthy bunch with strong teeth: they didn't have much refined sugars, limited meat, and no tomato or pasta (oh gosh!).
No talk about La Vigilia would be complete without Fiorella's Italian traditions of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, playing the tombola, and the stories of the tomato harvest, rolling out paper thin lasagna & la dolce!
The night was not complete without the tombola and raffle prizes, with the help of Fiorella's youngest sister, Lina! Here's a glimpse of our raffle winners of gifts from our gracious (and delicious) sponsors!
Winner (2nd year in a row!) of the Cento Prize!
Winner of a gift certificate for an Italian Language Course from SpeakItaly NYC!
One of the winners of Fratelli Beretta's Mount Olive line of low sodium, nitrate/nitrite-free salumi!
Winner of the Urbani Truffles!
One of the winners of a print copy of Living in Italian: Crostini & Wine recipe book!
And a peak at the Tasting Menu and complimentary Wine Pairing by Rob Cittadino, check it out below!
Thank you again to all of our vendors for the delicious tasting menu and raffle prizes, and to everyone who came out that night! A special thank you to our sponsors for all the wonderful donations: Cento, Fratelli Beretta, GreenBlender, L'Arte del Gelato, Pure Brazilian, Saffron Road, SpeakItaly NYC, Tuscanini, Urbani Truffles, & Panebianco Wines. It was a night to remember! Buon Natale!