We met Lidia Bastianich, the Emmy award-winning television host, best-selling cookbook author and restaurateur, that is now about to start a whole new adventure named Italia Vera. The “ultimate Italian lifestyle festival” will bring a real Italian experience right to Long Island on September 9.

Food and wine, luxury automobiles, cutting-edge fashion and innovative home design: how did you come up with Italia Vera?
In my profession as an Italian chef and restaurateur, I have always strived to bring true regional Italian food to my clients and to America. Italian cuisine was very important to Italian immigrants who came to America. It was a way of connecting them to home. However, what they were missing was the traditional Italian products such as the olive oil, grana padano, prosciutto di parma and arborio rice, to make the true regional Italian food, the food that is cooked in homes in Italy. At this event, Italia Vera, it’s a great opportunity to get to know traditional Italian products, style, Italian music and the Italian way of life. It’s the best way to experience Italy without needing a passport.

You talked about “a chance for everyone to live la dolce vita for a day”. What can we expect from this festival?
Americans love Italy and the Italian way of life. Italian food is the number one ethnic food in America and Americans are the number one tourist in Italy. Italia Vera is an extension of la dolce vita Italiana at the NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum for one glorious day, Saturday, September 9.

This project will involve leading brands from Italian production. What’s the true secret to conquer American audience?
The American audience appreciates taste, style and a philosophy of a life lived well and that is certainly something Italy has to offer. At Italia Vera, we will showcase the best of what Italy has to offer in wine, food, style, cars, music at this unique indoor and outdoor event at the beautifully remodeled Nassau Coliseum. We will have a live music stage, an Italia Vera marketplace, Bocce and soccer, an opportunity to learn tips from the finest Italian chefs, and much more. It’s going to be a great experience for all our guests.

Vera means “genuine”. How do Americans approach to Italy today? Is there still a poor impression of Italian food or have they been more conscious of italian traditions?
I think Americans understand well about the reality and the differences between genuine regional Italian food and the Italian-American cuisine, which is a cuisine shaped by the early Italian immigrants. They have traveled to Italy and love it when they find the same genuine Italian products in the American market.

What do you think makes Italy great today?
Quality is the underlying word in describing many things in Italy. Italians are creative and strive for quality and taste in their food, quality in their design, be it fashion, cars or furniture. Italians love beauty in their life – art architecture, home design, gardens, shoes. And Italians love to live life well with family and friends. The fact is that Italians achieve all of these goals and the rest of the world likes to enjoy them as well.


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