Awareness campaign for exceptional Italian fare over the party season – complete with cooking classes – presented by the European Union and producer board Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO)
HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 10 December 2021 – Flavoursome, sun-kissed fruit & vegetables headline a festive season promotion in Hong Kong themed ‘The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces’. The awareness campaign by the European Union and Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO), representing the country’s leading producers, is encouraging indulgence in Italy’s exceptionally tasty and healthy fare over the party season – complete with cooking classes hosted by seasoned Italian chef Mr. Daniele Casalino from 13-22 December 2021 revealing secrets to Italian-style festive feasts.
Italy is world-renowned for its romantic connection to the land, with a beloved culinary culture as Hong Kong’s favourite foreign cuisine. ‘The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces’ now underlines this heritage of delicious, nutritional produce, sharing knowledge and insights of origin and history with guaranteed quality and safety assured by the European Union’s certification of excellence.
For the third and final year of an annual promotion to China, Taiwan and Japan, the EU-led campaign in Hong Kong this year focuses on demonstrating precisely how to traditionally cook this majestic “Made in Italy” produce – from blood oranges, kiwifruit and pears to fresh processed vegetables headlined by ‘passata’ tomato sauces and fruit juices.
Six cooking classes assure absolute authenticity, demonstrated by veteran Italian chef Mr. Daniele Casalino, who is also the owner of Italian restaurant Acquasala in Central, from 7-9pm from 13-15 December 2021 and 20-22 December 2021 at Hong Kong New Oriental Culinary Art (www.hknoc.com.hk) in North Point. Priced HK$200, the classes can be booked via EventBite (https://bit.ly/3nRe8xE).
Specialty dishes for instruction focus on key produce including blood orange juice, for Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with Avocado and Blood Orange Vinaigrette; processed tomato sauce, for Homemade Tagliolini Tomato Sauce, Burrata Cheese and Crispy Sicilian Pistachios; and kiwi fruit, for Kiwi Tiramisu and Dark Chocolate.
Kiwi fruit is another specialty, as Europe’s biggest fruit export and Italy the second largest producer in the world after China. Thanks to ideal environmental and climatic conditions along with strict European production techniques, Italy’s high-quality, highly nutritious and healthy kiwi fruit is cultivated in both green and yellow varieties, to enjoy fresh or in luxurious desserts and jams.
Oranges, revered as a symbol of health and well-being in Asia, are a centuries-old tradition of sun-blessed Italy, famed in particular for unique varieties of red-fleshed ‘blood oranges’. Grown in accordance with state-of-the-art science in terms of cultivation methods, soil preparation and pruning for superior quality, sumptuous varietals range from Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello to Sicilian specialty Arancia Rossa di Sicilia, with PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status for their ancient attachment to the nutrient-rich slopes of Mount Etna volcano. As well as served simply chilled, these Italian varieties also enliven salads, desserts and even cocktails.
European pear cultivation is also mainly concentrated in Italy, with the ideal climate for outstanding quality which is also recognised by the European Union as a product of excellence with PGI. Italy’s most renowned variety, Abate Fétel, is known as the “queen of pears” for its outstanding sweetness and juiciness, perfect for either desserts or salad. Other varieties include Kaiser, which has a rusty skin and melting flesh; aromatic white or red Williams; fresh and fragrant Decana del Comizio; and sweet and crunchy Conference.
Processed vegetables are also a famous Italian tradition, preserving abundance of seasonal crops with processing immediately after harvesting. Most notable are ripe sun-grown tomatoes, with tomato passata one of the world’s most used cooking ingredients, originating from Italian cuisine for beloved favourites from pastas and pizzas to festive specialities. Preservation of ‘pomodoro’ tomato sauce, in particular, is a tradition dating back nearly two centuries, and a symbol of Italy worldwide.
As a result, Italy is, in fact, a world leader in processing fruit and vegetables – including the world’s third largest tomato processor after the United States, and just behind China.
Orange juice, along with other fruit juices such as pear, peach and apricot that pleasantly accompany festive feasts, are another growing Italian export, gaining popularity with guaranteed excellence in both quality and healthy nutritional value – produced under strict European regulations with state-of-the-art technology.
EU quality also stands out worldwide for its stringent product protection requirements for consumer protection. A traceability system allows individual agricultural production companies to be traced; and organic certification guarantees organic production, prohibiting use of synthetic chemicals and promoting environmental sustainability.
The European quality system also safeguards PGI and PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certification for unique. Italy alone has 93 designated PDO and PGI agri-food products, including Arancia Rossa di Sicilia PGI (blood oranges), Pera dell’Emilia Romagna PGI (pears) and Pesca e nettarina di Romagna PGI (peaches).
“Thanks to a unique climate and environmental conditions, Italy – together with Spain – is the leading fruit and vegetable producing country in Europe and ‘The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces’ celebrates this heritage,” said CSO President, Paolo Bruni.
“Italy is synonymous with art, from the art of landscapes and 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visual art of the Renaissance, architecture, motoring and fashion. Italy is also renowned for culinary art and world-renowned dishes. So our fruit and vegetables are no exception – and this campaign celebrates our masterpieces of Italian nature that wonderfully accompany festive season celebrations.”
To identify with Italian art in the broad sense, ‘The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces’ is illustrated with artwork by Italian artist Antonio Pronostico, who symbolises Italy’s rich, vibrant history and tradition of growing tasty, top quality fruit & veg.
“The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces” Cooking Classes
Date: 13-15 & 20-22 December 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong New Oriental Culinary Art, 2/F, KP Tower, 93 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Fee: HK$200 per person
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Flavoursome, sun-kissed fruit & vegetables headline a festive season promotion in Hong Kong themed ‘The European Art of Taste: Italian Fruit & Veg Masterpieces’
Six cooking classes assure absolute authenticity, demonstrated by veteran Italian chef Mr. Daniele Casalino, who is also the owner of Italian restaurant Acquasala in Central, from 7-9pm from 13-15 December 2021 and 20-22 December 2021 at Hong Kong New Oriental Culinary Art in North Point.
Specialty dishes for instruction focus on key produce including blood orange juice, processed tomato sauce, and kiwi fruit
For the third and final year of an annual promotion, the EU-led campaign in Hong Kong this year focuses on demonstrating precisely how to traditionally cook this majestic “Made in Italy” produce
CSO President, Paolo Bruni
Highlighted Italian Fruits & Vegetables
Grown mainly in Europe, in the Mediterranean basin and in particular in Italy and Spain, they are a symbol of health and well-being. Specifically, Sicilian blood oranges are one of the most important and unique varieties grown in accordance with a centuries-old tradition, but also in accordance with the latest scientific guidelines in terms of cultivation methods, soil preparation and pruning in order to maximise the quality standards of these fruits thanks to guaranteed sunshine and special technical precautions during cultivation. In fact, production is protected from the main diseases with integrated defence methods that respect the environment and human health. The red flesh varieties grown are Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello, which all meet high standards for taste, flavour and wholesomeness. The Arancia Rossa di Sicilia received PGI certification from the European Union. It is the Sicilian orange par excellence, which grows on the slopes of the Etna volcano, favoured by its fire, strength and heat but also by sunshine.
In Europe, kiwifruit cultivation is mainly concentrated in Italy, which is the second largest producer in the world after China. Kiwifruit is the most exported fruit in Europe; in fact, it is shipped to every continent. Kiwifruit cultivation, especially in Italy, has been developing since the 1970s. In fact, Italy has ideal environmental conditions to grow kiwifruit at an excellent level of quality. Thanks to suitable soils for cultivation and to the production techniques adopted in compliance with European regulations, kiwifruit is a high-quality, highly nutritious and healthy fruit. European kiwifruit is produced from November to May. The commercial availability of kiwifruit is such that it is possible to choose between two varieties with a different flesh colour, which can be either green or yellow.
Pear cultivation in Europe is mainly concentrated in Italy, which has the ideal climate to produce a fruit with outstanding quality characteristics. A product of excellence recognised with PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status by the European Union, which highlights the close bond between the product and its area of origin. The most characteristic variety produced in Europe, and especially in Italy, is Abate Fétel, which is also called the “queen” of pears. This variety stands out for its sweetness and juiciness. Other varieties include Kaiser, which has a rusty skin and melting flesh, Williams, which can be either white or red and is very aromatic, Decana del Comizio, which is fresh and fragrant, and Conference, which is sweet and crunchy. Pears are available on the market from September to April.
Processed vegetables are traditionally produced in the Mediterranean Basin, and Italy offers ideal production conditions. Fresh produce is processed immediately after harvesting, after an accurate selection. Tomatoes are one of Europe’s most characteristic processed vegetables. Ripe sun-grown tomatoes are washed and pureed to obtain excellent preparations that are ideal for any type of dish. Tomato passata is one of the world’s most used cooking ingredients and originated from Italian cuisine, which contributed to its popularity.
Orange juice, along with other fruit juices made from fruits grown in Europe such as pears, peaches or apricots, is an excellent source of healthy nutrients, readily available at your fingertips. Orange juice consumption is increasing exponentially all over the world, but it is essential to understand the value of the origin of this product. European quality is guaranteed by strict regulations and by top-quality raw materials combined with a production method that implements state-of-the-art technology, ensuring the high-quality final products.
About Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO) Italy
CSO Italy represents leading companies in the Italian fruit and vegetable sector. Members are located all over Italy and include not only producers, but also the technological supply chain with companies specialising in the packaging, processing, equipment, machinery and logistics.
CSO Italy is now an organic system of businesses sensitive to the needs of the world’s markets, a unique benchmark for entering into contact with Italian companies that are leaders thanks to the excellence of their produce, services and technology.
CSO has more than 70 members, with an overall turnover of more than €2 billion. The group was created to develop synergies between operators in the Italian fruit and vegetable supply chain, with the aim of increasing competitiveness of the entire sector.