Written by: Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist Bring your appetite and sense of adventure to our Italian Fest! Italian cuisine is popular around the world -the dishes are simple, elegant and have few ingredients, but those ingredients have superior quality and intense flavor. There are twenty different regions in Italy, and each has unique agriculture, traditions and recipes. Enjoy some wonderful treasures and bring these flavorful Italian foods to your own table. Start your journey with pasta – Italy is the world leader in the craft of pasta making, with a heritage that is over 500 years old. Explore the regional pasta varieties like DeCecco gnocchi and pasta, Rummo and Bella Italia Regionali pasta, and the fresh Rana pasta in the deli case. Cucina Amore has taken creamy risotto, polenta and nutty ancient grains, and applied innovation to ensure time-pressed cooks can bring these traditional flavors to their kitchen table. What a wonderful way to explore culture and authentic ingredients you can share with family and friends. Dress all of those pastas and grains up with exciting sauces and flavors – Urbani fresh canned pesto or cherry tomatoes with summer truffles, regional extra virgin olive oils, peppery and bright, and Bella Italia Regionali or Rienzi prepared sauces. Explore Mutti, Ceccato and Price Chopper certified authentic Italian tomato products – make your own sauce with these and you will know why Italian dishes have traveled the world. Alessi vinegars, with flavors like white balsamic, pinot grigio and cabernet sauvignon add depth, complexity and brightness to your dressings and sauté’s. The artisan cheeses will transport you – there are over 600 varieties of cheese made in Italy, and we can offer you a delicious tour in most of our stores. Taleggio, a soft Alpine cheese aged in caves pairs well with fruit and honey. Locatelli Romano, from the region near Rome (hence the name), is one of the world’s oldest cheeses. Montasio, made from the milk of three different breeds of cow, was first made by 13th century monks. Gran Cacio Estrusco is a semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese, cave-aged for four months, wonderful over silky gnocchi with lemon, peas and a touch of Prosciutto di Parma. What a great dish to herald spring! Round out your meal with fruit-infused San Pellegrino sparkling water, and the fresh, bright flavor of Italian kiwifruit. Imported from the South Pacific by adventurous Italian farmers 30 years ago, Italy is now the largest producer of kiwifruit. If you would like recipes that are authentic as these amazing ingredients, check out our Extraordinary Italian Taste Pinterest board. Join us on a delicious journey around Italy, and embrace the Italian treasures that bring the Mediterranean diet to life, right in your own kitchen. Buon Appetito!