Representatives of 11 embassies, eminent foreign guests, local politicians, and influencers were among the 120 participants.
For the first time ever in the whole province such a big and complex initiative was held: about 80 VVIPs travelled from Seoul and met local authorities and citizens in different venues of the area, to live a two-day experience.
The spirit of solidarity with the local communities still suffering by the devastating fire of last April brought the Italian Embassy to add the initiative as a pre-launch event to the already very tight schedule of the 4th World Week of Italian Cuisine.
He also remembered to the audience that the peninsulas have established friendly relationships for 135 years from their first diplomatic ties in 1884.
Moreover, Italy dispatched 189 Red Cross officers for medical assistance, and approximately 230,000 patients were treated between 1951 and 1955.
Mr. Kim Chul-Soo, mayor of Sokcho, in expressing his gratitude to the Embassy of Italy for the hard work in preparing the event, announced a deeper relationship between the countries and further initiatives.
Mr. Lee Kyoung-Il, governor of Goseong County manifested his appreciation to Italian diplomats and staff for the hard work in preparing the event and explained that Goseong-gun is a pristine tourism site which displays a unique scenery for four different seasons.
Mr. Jeong Il-Jeong, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture, acknowledged the initiative and the action of solidarity for the area, emphasizing the consequences of last year’s wildfire, that killed one person and left 424 families homeless, burning 478 houses and 896.81ha of forest.
The concepts underlined during the outstanding speeches of H.E Federico Failla and Prof. Francesco Canganella were about the fact that the relationship between the two nations has raised to strategic cooperative partnership.
The interaction and cooperation of the two nations across a variety of sectors including politics, economics, tourism, and culture have lately reinforced and facilitated, even more after President Moon Jae-In's official state visit to Italy in October 2018.
Moreover were highlighted aspects concerning the connection between the well-managed Italian agroecosystems and healthy/organic foods; the importance of transforming the best ingredients available on the market in great dishes to nourish both body and mind; the habit Italians have to share food and thus share culture with the others in a sort of ritual to foster values of solidarity and friendship among people, and in this case between the two peninsulas.
The week was launched four years ago by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it’s dedicated to support any initiatives to counteract the so-called “Italian sounding” (intentional misuse of Italian names and logos in order to sell low quality food products); combine high-quality cuisine and Italian wine; remark the controlled and protected designation of origin of Italian food products (DOP and IGP), support regional and food and beverage tourist itineraries; foster the Mediterranean diet for a healthy and balanced lifestyle; remark the excellence and quality of Italian cuisine.
In charge of the whole event, including the special lecture “Italian food: a wealth of taste and health benefits”, was Prof. Francesco Canganella, head of the Science and Technology Office of the Embassy of Italy, while planning, management and logistics were handled by Mrs. Giovanna Canganella.
The dinner was exclusively designed for the event by chef Paolo De Maria with the support of chef Santino Nicosia and chef Lorenzo Andreazzoli, all affiliated with IFSE (Italian Food Style Education).
The menu was prepared with local foods of the Gangwon Province combined with some of the best Italian ingredients available in Korea: extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce, durum wheat pasta, wheat flour, balsamic and red vinegar, burrata cheese, mascarpone cheese, and of course chocolate and coffee. Ferrero, Lavazza Coffee, Aceto Reale Varvello (balsamic vinegar) kindly sponsored.
The program for the exceptional evening also included the award ceremony for the art contest “Leonardo da Vinci: the Italian Genius from the Renaissance.”to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death and his legacy to the modern world. Local students from primary, middle, and high school were awarded by H. E. Federico Failla, ambassador of Italy.
As a proper closing of the whole event, a small concert of lyric music, featuring soprano Oh Mi-Seon, tenor Oh Dong-Joo, and pianist Kang Seok-Hee took place.
On the second day a special tour was organized for the guests, and especially for the Diplomats, in order to show the touristic attractions of the area, with the aim to give a new impulse to tourism and see Sokcho and Goseong flourish again soon.
Songjiho Lake, Hwajinpo Lake, the Unification Observatory and the Bauzium Sculpture Museum were among the main attractions, not forgetting a nice stop by the Seabreeze Restaurant and Seaview Café.
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