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Umbrian flavours and scents seduce Americans

Steve McCurry photos demonstrate beauty, tradition of region

18 November, 17:04
Umbrian flavours and scents seduce Americans (By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) - Perugia, November 18 - The tastes, smells and sights of the region of Umbria, known as Italy's "green heart", are featured until November 30 in New York City's Eataly outlet.

Eataly, an international outpost of Italian food and wine, has currently focused its New York store on Umbrian products, which are presented alongside photos from internationally acclaimed photojournalist Steve McCurry's Sensational Umbria project.

Eataly, which has stores all over the world, draws as many as seven million visitors annually to the New York outlet, where this month they can taste such Umbrian products as the regional heritage grain farro, wines such as its Sagrantino, as well as pastas and olive oil particular to the mountainous region.

Special themed dishes that represent the culture of Umbria include strangozzi with butter and truffles, pumpkin with lentils and onions, Umbrian lentils and sausage, farro salad with truffles and local cheese, and chicken with mushrooms and dandelion - all washed down with Umbrian wines.

"It's a great operation," said Dino Borri, a senior manager at Eataly which recently welcomed Umbrian visitors including regional Governor Catiuscia Marini and the councilor responsible for tourism, Fabrizio Bracco.

Borri says this presentation at Eataly is important to raising Umbria's profile among American consumers, which he described as a good fit for what the region has to offer.

He says that with Umbria, Eataly has "a special relationship in the sense that working with the Umbrians, who are entrepreneurs or representatives of institutions, we find an empathy between what we do here, our philosophy," with that of the Umbrians.

"In Umbria, there are people who have a passion for food and wine, with a modern vision of how they are to be presented and is the same philosophy at Eataly," he added.

Cooking classes, olive-oil tastings, and even presentations on artisanal chocolate from Umbria are included in the current presentation at Eataly, where the emphasis is not only on selling food products but assisting with ideas for cooking and presentation.

The McCurry exhibition Sensational Umbria opened earlier this month at the New York office of Italian foreign trade agency ICE, and featured a selection of the 100 shots commissioned by Umbrian authorities as part of their international marketing campaign for the region.

His photos celebrate treasures of Umbria's art history, sublime landscapes, centuries-old traditions along with avant-garde industries of this central Italian region.

Meanwhile, the American magazine Wine Enthusiast has joined in on the rising interest in Umbria, with a special issue dedicated to the region in the works for February.

That will include a contest with the main prizes including wine trips to the region.