RIVER NORTH — A new food and drink festival focused exclusively on Italian cuisine will hit Eataly Oct. 14-16, schooling Chicagoans on everything from Arneis to ziti.
Presented in partnership with Identitá Golose, a nearly decade-old celebration of Italian cuisine founded by food journalist Paolo Marchi, the three-day festival includes an instructive dinner cooked by Chef Lidia Bastianich Tuesday, a paired tasting of 100 wines chosen by the Merano Wine Festival Wednesday, and seminars on Italian ingredients and cooking styles all day Wednesday.
Marchi told DNAinfo.com Chicago that he hopes the inaugural Chicago fest will teach the city's foodies "that Italy is not just pasta and pizza."
"Chicago needs to learn that Italy does not have only one cuisine, and that Neapolitan cuisine is only one of the 20 regional cuisines that form the mosaic of our country," Marchi said.
To accomplish that, the event will pair local chefs with Italian chefs. Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia will co-host a truffle lesson with Italian Chef Ugo Alciati, and Boka's Lee Wolen will lead a class on cooking with rice alongside Italian Chef Davide Oldani.
Marchi said he hopes Chicagoans are receptive to learning about the nuances of Italian cuisine, because he likened Americans' misunderstandings about the region's foods to "if Italians thought that in the U.S. they only have T-bone steaks and Big Macs."
"Foreigners love and adore pizza, pasta, risotto, ossobuco, espresso and tiramisu, but they almost never know who prepares them and what new ideas are born year after year," Marchi said.
Tickets for events hosted by the Italian Food and Wine Festival are available on Eataly's website.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: