I have a love affair with Italy since I was 18. I studied it at University and while working (before the blog stormed all over my life). It is the country that if I could go anywhere in the world, I would choose every time.
New Zealand is a long way away from Italy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy the best of it right here. Of course, I am speaking about Italian food. There are many great places to go around town, from Niccolinis to Ciccio Caciao but one I love is Mediterranean Foods Trattoria and Deli in Newtown (formerly The Mediterranean Food Warehouse).
Mediterranean Foods have been importing products from Italy and the Mediterranean since 1990, which is incredible. If you haven’t been for a while, I’d urge you to go again. They recently teamed up with the Italian Government initiative called “ The Week of Italian Cuisine in the World” which runs from the 20 th-26th of November 2017. This is celebrated in over 100 countries around the world, promoting top quality Italian cuisine — this was the second year it took place, 2016 being the inaugural year.
During the course of this week they had events at their Newtown Trattoria, some free, some paid, with shop promotions and nightly specials to raise money for the Compassion Soup Kitchen, located on Tory St, Te Aro. Their chefs even cooked Italian food at the Compassion Soup Kitchen for their dinner service. How amazing is that? I’ve known about the Compassion Soup Kitchen since our lovely French teacher, Madame Cor, told us about the history of its founder, Suzanne Aubert - who truly was a bad ass. Find out more about her here if you are interested.
I was kindly invited to a long lunch the other weekend, and the menu lifted my spirits. Salumi and bread and cheese for starters, with pickled vegetables, margarita pizza for the second course, Porchetta and potatoes for main and finishing with a light and delicious tiramisu. Everything was utterly delicious and decadent. Alongside, we had Prosecco and wonderful chats. I was also lucky enough to sit opposite the Italian Ambassador and the manager of the Compassion Soup Kitchen which was fascinating.
I learnt that the Compassion Soup Kitchen helps provide tens of thousands of meals to those who don’t have a place to go. Some are as young as seven and the oldest is 70. Invisible homelessness is the worst, where people live in terrible situations or in their cars, to avoid being on the streets. “A home isn’t just a roof - its a place where you feel safe” said Karen, the manager of the Compassion Centre. This matches the philosophy of Mediterranean Foods, as they explain "Our brand is about embracing the Mediterranean and Italian way of life and this means welcoming everyone as family with warmth, openness and enthusiasm. We don’t just want to serve food, we want to share the heritage of our ingredients and recipes.” It’s this kind of attitude that has made Italian’s and their food embraced the world over. Food = love.
I left the Trattoria feeling reflective and contemplative of the work businesses and charities do together in Wellington (yes, and full also). Mediterranean Foods really nailed a wonderful meal, but they also showed their support for our wider Wellington community, through a language we all understand - food. Make sure you stop into Mediterranean Foods Trattoria and Deli sometime and check out all the great offerings from this amazing Wellington business.