A taste of Apulia

Antonio La Grotta, master ceramist from Apulia, Italy. | Photo courtesy Antonio La Grotta

The Autumn Feast: A Taste of Apulia, a bi-annual community event organized and hosted by The Italian Cultural Centre, showcases Apulia’s traditions including some of the finest ceramic art products in the world.

The Autumn Feast is one of Vancouver’s most traditional Italian attractions, featuring food specialties, products and traditional artistic crafts from the Apulian region of Italy. The event will run from Oct. 11–13 at The Italian Cultural Centre.

Master ceramist demonstration

One of this year’s highlights will be a demonstration by Antonio La Grotta, a master ceramist from Grottaglie in the Taranto Province in southern Italy. The town is known for having some of the best arts schools in Italy, as well as its contemporary and traditional pottery production.

“Mr. La Grotta will provide a live pottery-making demonstration at the pottery wheel,” says Anna Foschi, co-founder of the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers.

La Grotta, the president of the Consorzio Ceramisti di Grottaglie, is a third-generation ceramics master. His family has been living in the Apulian region since 1601.

“This is a unique opportunity to show my artistic production and to promote Grottaglie’s ancient and illustrious ceramic-making tradition,” says La Grotta.

In the master ceramist demonstration, La Grotta will showcase the basic techniques of creating pottery artwork, using the traditional raw clay. He will also be available to answer questions from the public during his demonstration.

“I feel that this event is a constructive approach for future developments. I am looking forward to meeting the Vancouver audience,” La Grotta says.

Though La Grotta has sold his artwork in several countries, including a showroom in Toronto, this will be his first time in Vancouver.

Getting to know Apulia

Apulian ceramic plate by Antonio La Grotta. | Photo courtesy Antonio La Grotta

According to Foschi, Apulia is famous for producing top-quality olive oil, fresh mozzarella,and goat and sheep cheeses.

“[Apulia] is also known for its superb pasta and bread varieties made from local ancient types of wheat,” she says.

Foschi notes that food has a great role in the Italian tradition, with Apulia’s grapes, tomatoes and other fresh vegetables and wines widely appreciated in the European and international markets.

Apulia is located in southern Italy, located in the heel of Italy’s boot. Boasting calm and crystalline blue waters, Apulia has an ancient cultural heritage that Foschi says is valued amongst all the events carefully planned to create The Autumn Feast.

“Apulia is home to several world-famous monuments and cities. The region’s rich, unique cultural fabric was formed during the centuries through the contributions of the many different cultures and peoples,” Foschi, says.

A taste of Apulia

The Autumn Feast also offers an opportunity to meet Apulian artists and exhibitors. On Thursday, Oct. 11, there will be a unique demonstration of cheese-making – specifically mozzarella – with a mastro casaro (master cheesemaker) at the Puglia Food Fair. The world-famous loaves of bread brought from Altamura, an Apulian town, will also be featured in the event at the Oropan Gourmet Bakery display table.

“Apulia, with its rich cultural heritage, its natural beauty and the warmth and hospitality of its people, is still a partially undiscovered destination for the discerning traveler. Those are just a few of the reasons why Vancouverites should come and enjoy the event. It’s educational, it’s fun and it is free!” Foschi says.

For more information, please visit www.italianculturalcentre.ca.