New Zealand’s most authentic Italian restaurants are being invited to apply for Ospitalità Italiana – Italian Hospitality certification to enable them to display the Ospitalità Italiana Seal and receive recognition for the role they as special ‘ambassadors’ of Italian culture in this country. This follows an announcement by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand Inc. (ICCNZ) and the Embassy of Italy, Wellington, that they have launched Ospitalità Italiana in New Zealand.
HE Carmelo Barbarello, the Italian Ambassador in New Zealand said, “The Ospitalità Italiana Seal was purposely created to protect Italian heritage and to endorse restaurants and restaurateurs who strive to promote it. In addition, the Seal aims to contribute to the success of authentic ‘Made in Italy’ brands, products and cuisine and to separate these from “Italian-sounding” imitations.”
“Italian cuisine stems from the ancient historical traditions from Italian society, with a natural emphasis on human connection and lifestyle. Over time, Italian food has developed into an unmistakable symbol of hospitality and welcome. As a result, the Mediterranean diet, that clearly cannot leave aside Italian tradition, was included in 2010 in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Italian Government’s aim is to preserve the precious and rich history, distinct quality and undisputed authenticity of Italian cuisine.”
Restaurants seeking to become Ospitalità Italiana certified must meet stringent requirements including: more than 50% of the dishes on their menu must be Italian; at least 30% of their wines DOP, extra virgin olive oil must be available; at least one person working in the kitchen has proven experience and proficiency in Italian cuisine,; and the restaurant must have someone on staff who is able to interact with customers in Italian.
The certification process also recognises restaurants that, in addition to meeting the mandatory requirements, also embody typical Italian inspired elements, have their menu written in/translated to correct Italian, have a setting and décor that is Italian-inspired, primarily use DOP and IGP products, and activity promote Italian products and culture.
Liz Maxwell, the ICCNZ’s Immediate Past President and Ospitalità Italiana NZ Convenor said, “We are encouraging restaurants who believe they meet these criteria and who are keen to take part to apply. Certified restaurants become part of an international network. The Ospitalità Italiana Seal conveys to customers that their restaurant is authentic and provides a quality Italian culinary experience.”