The Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario (ICCO) celebrated the efforts of individuals who have helped to promote the foods and beverages of Italy during the 7th annual Pentola d’Oro awards.
The ICCO Unico Primo Pentola d’Oro awards gala is the culmination of a week-long event “Centitalia: Gusto Cultural” during people in the food and beverage industry come together to celebrate Italian cuisine, says Corrado Paina, ICCO’s executive director.
“We’re honouring people who have made a commitment towards the promotion of Italian food and beverage. These are people who are influencing the market and bringing their own ideas of authentic Italian products into the market here in Canada.”
Paina says the Pentola d’Oro is named for the tradition in Italy of chefs who cook risottos in golden pots.
This year’s award recipients include:
- Gus Longo, co-founder, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets, who received the Pentola d’Oro award
- Frank Gambioli, senior vice president market merchandising and promotions, Loblaw Companies Limited, recipient of the Italy-Canada Award, sponsored by Air Canada
- Gesualdo Mastruzzo, president, Numage Trading Inc. winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by IC Savings
- Alessandro Buccianti, owner Punto Gelato, Best Gelato Award
- Mauro DiLauro, owner, Avenue Cibi e Vini, Favourite Hotspot Award
- Santa Margharita Gruppo Vinicolo, LCBO Best Performing Italian Supplier
“In the first year of this award, we actually gave a golden pot. In Italy, every chef has a golden pot and this event is a meeting point of industry for everyone who promotes foods and beverages of Italy, from the distributors who bring many foods to Canada to the small innovator and start-up who brings new products from Italy into Canada.”
Corrado adds that there is room for trade partnership growth between Canada and Italy and ICCO plays an active role in supporting this relationship.
“Italy exports about $8.5 billion into Canada and Canada exports about $2.5 billion to Italy, so there is major room for improvement. With Italian wine for example, consumption in Canada is growing and it is higher than Italian wine consumption in the U.S.”
Nicola Farinetti, global chief executive officer of Eataly, was the special guest at the event. Nicola helped bring the now largest Italian marketplace in the world into North America. Eataly made its Canadian debut to much fanfare on November 13.