How you can help rebuild Emilia Romagna after last year's devastating earthquake
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake and series of aftershocks rattled Emilia Romagna on May 20, 2012, killing 29 and leaving almost 15,000 people homeless. The quake damaged churches and historic buildings, affected farms and factories at the heart of Italy's food production supply, and took a devastating emotional toll on those living in and around the quake area.
It's easy to fall in love with Emilia Romagna. As a tourist and travel writer, I've been fortunate to visit many of the region's great cities and small towns, including: Bologna, Modena, Parma, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Forlimpopoli and Cesena. On those trips, like many other Americans, I've been blessed to experience the cultural, historic and culinary riches of Emilia Romagna, as well as the warmth and kindness of its people.
Even those of us who don't have direct personal ties to this part of Italy have probably splashed balsamic vinegar from Modena on our salads. And who among us hasn't topped a dish of spaghetti or tortelloni with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese? These and other culinary treasures, including the seminal cookbook celebrating Italian home cooking by Pellegrino Artusi, all derive from this region, considered by many to be the gastronomic heart of Italy.
The food and wine community in New York City is rallying together, along with trade and tourism officials, to collectively support and help rebuild the region. Their fundraiser, called A Night to Rebuild Emilia Romagna, will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, from 7PM to midnight at Parlor, a private club in New York City's West Village.
Three high-profile chefs involved in the event have strong ties to the region: Michael White worked in local kitchens in Emilia Romagna and now operates a string of highly-rated restaurants here (including Ai Fiori, Marea, Nicoletta and Osteria Morini); Anthony Bourdain filmed a recent episode of his popular TV show No Reservations there; and many dishes prepared by Mark Ladner, the executive chef of Del Posto, are inspired by the rich traditions of the region.
The event will include wine and food tastings, live music and a silent auction to raise funds and awareness for earthquake relief in the region. For more information, or to purchase a ticket or make a donation, click here.
Learn more about Emiia Romagna