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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Italian Wine + Food Festival: Lara Caraturo Q & A

The Italian Wine + Food Festival is a celebration of the very best elements of Italian culture: the best wines from the north to the south of Italy, and the most delicious food options, as well as activities for all ages: from wine masterclasses to the all new kids' precinct, ensuring Italophiles of all ages are catered for. And for the first time, it will be at Barangaroo.

Josie's Juice has been attending this celebration of all things Italian for several years, and as an Italo-Australian (born in Sydney to Sicilian-born parents who settled in 1966), it's such a pleasure to see so many elements from my heritage not only stay alive but positively flourish and prosper, with the very best aspects of such a respected culture introduced to a whole audience.

Created in 2013 by award-winning sommelier and passionate italophile Lara Caraturo, the Italian Wine + Food Festival celebrates and promotes Italian wine and food culture in Australia.

Produced by Lara and the team at Progetto Panevino, an events company obsessed with all things wine and food, and especially all things Italian, they create events that work with real artisans, quality wineries, renowned chefs and personalities, allowing guests to discover industry icons as well as rising stars, and deepen their love for authentic Italian wine and food. Come to an event and you'll see these are people who not only want to learn all about this world, they positively revel in it and love the social aspect of hanging out with their kinda people who love Italian culture. Look across the room at the festival and you'll see a sea of satisfied faces. It's not your standard wine and food trade show expo caper... it's people converging and wanting to see how things are made, what the latest trends are in Italian food and wine, and sampling and buying morsels of Italian heaven.

If you love Italian wine, you're a luck as it's wine, wine and more wine, and only the best and newest offerings around. All killer, no filler. Red, white, bubbles, spirits, and more. Explore Italian wines region by region, taste food, coffee and beer, plus feast on authentic Italian pizza, pasta and snacks. Just finishing its run for the first time in Melbourne, and coming back to Sydney on Sunday on August 27.

Lara answered some questions about the Italian Wine + Food Festival for Josie's Juice here:

Lara Caraturo: Founder and Director of the Italian Wine + Food Festival
Why is it so important to keep Italian heritage alive in Australia?

Because it is so fabulous and such a part of our own culture in Australia. We have a lot of Italian immigrants living here and everybody eats Italian food as it is easy to cook, inexpensive and always so delicious!

Tell me more about the new kids’ precinct?

We have always been family friendly - kids and family are such a big part of Italian culture. Kids always enter free, but this year we decided to add a kids play area to keep them busy while the parents enjoy themselves, there is giant Jenga, dominoes and Connect 4, plus building blocks and ride-on animals for the little ones. Plus there is pizza acrobatics, gelato and a Nutella Pop-up.

Why is wine education - via wine masterclasses and wine vendors - so important to the festival?

Because people to love to connect to what their drinking, they love the story behind the product. Education is key with Italian wines, as there are so many regions, so many grape varieties (over 2000) and this can be overwhelming for people, but younger Australians are really into trying new things and being more experimental, so Italy offers a lot of excitement for them.

The Franciacorta bar is a new addition. Is this an indicator that guests are savvy to fresh new varieties of bubbles?

Yes, everyone loves Prosecco, but nobody really knows about Franciacorta, and we want top change that. It's a very different product to Prosecco, being made in the same method with the same grapes as French Champagne. Franciacorta is a real special occasion sparkling that can also be consumed during the meal, not just before. Australians need to know more about and drink more Franciacorta!

What do you see as the strongest trend in drinks?

The new, different, weird and unusual - this is why Italian wines are growing in popularity, there is no country with a wine scene that is so diverse and fascinating.

The Italian Wine + Food Festival is a one day only event, held at Barangaroo (at the Cutaway, enter via Hickson Road), from 11am - 9pm.

For more information, click HERE.

For ticketing info, click HERE.

There are three sessions:

Session A (11am-4pm)  $75

Session B (4pm-9pm)  $75

Evening (6pm-9pm)  $45

All Day (11am-9pm)  $100

VIP (10.30am-9pm)  $140

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