The second annual Tastes of the World was celebrated with local restaurants and eateries gathering to display the diverse array of international food offered in the Capital District.
Area restaurants and bakeries, as well as food producers and wineries, set up tables at The Linda in Albany Thursday, March 26, in the second International Food Tasting Festival, hosted by International Center of the Capital Region. Philip DiNovo, president and director of the American Italian Heritage Association and the Italian Cultural Center and Museum was honored at event.
“It’s great to see local businesses around here being able to see what they spotlight and what they highlight, being able to taste them. It’s a really great experience, and I enjoy being here because I’m a brand new company. So it’s great to have other people see what I’m all about,” said Amanda Zezima of Nut Zez.
Zezima featured almond butter from her Cohoes store, including French Toast and brownie-batter butters. The Caribbean-themed restaurant Irie Vybez had butter shrimp and pepper steak to sample, while the Italian eatery Grappa ’72 had chicken rollatinis.
“I think it’s great for all these people to support one another,” said Jaylene Cotton, of the Albany bakery Pie in the Sky, which offered bite-sized brownies and cupcakes.
Indian and Mediterranean restaurants, along with the Hudson Valley-based Brotherhood Winery also had samples for people to taste.
As well as tastes of the international foods, DiNovo was named honorary chair and given a glass globe and plaque for his work in bringing and maintaining Italian culture in the district.
“It’s really a tremendous institution here in the Capital District,” state Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Latham, said of the American Italian Heritage Museum.
The museum was previously located in Utica from 1985 until 1998, when it closed for the museum to open in Albany. In 2010, the Heritage Museum opened at 1227 Central Ave. in Colonie. DiNovo also had a hand in founding the Italian Heritage Association in 1979.
For his work, DiNovo was previously given the title Cavaliere by the Italian government, which is equivalent to a knighthood in British culture. It is “given to the Italian people who distinguish themselves over the years,” said Commendatore Stefano Acunto, the honorary Vice Consul General of Italy in New York State and Chairman of the Italian Academy Foundation.
Acunto said that, in the opening of the American Italian Heritage Association and Museum, DiNovo took him to tour the facilities. “We went to this location not far from here, which was sort of a church, set back from the road, and it was still just a number of rooms. It was still an empty hall. And he said, ‘We’re going to put a show space, a museum, an office. We’re going to bring Italian culture to the Capital Region.’ And sure enough, he has,” said Acunto.
More information on the International Center of the Capital Region can be found at www.iccralbany.org. More information on the American Italian Heritage Association and Music can be found at www.americanitalianmuseum.org.