Known for iconic brands like Nutella, Tic Tac, and Ferrero Rocher, among others, Ferrero has a manufacturing facility in Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi (AV). Because Irpinia is known for its hazelnuts, Ferrero recently announced a new marketing initiative designed to celebrate the region by showcasing one of its best-tasting exports.
I have to admit, when it comes to knitting or crocheting, it is something I enjoy doing, but I am notorious for starting projects and taking months to finish them, thanks to a busy schedule.
I refused to let this be the case when I got a Facebook message from my friend Giuseppe Silvestri of Unpli Irpinia (Unione Nazionale Pro Loco d’Italia). He mentioned that for International Women’s Day on March 8, Irpinian women from around the world were asked to knit or crochet a pink scarf as a way to call attention to the fight against breast cancer. These scarves would then be linked together as a kind of virtual “hug” for those fighting the battle and they would then try to submit the entire project to the Guinness Book of World Records.
I have a confession to make… I cannot get enough of Panettone (the name loosely translates to “large bread”). We Americans have seen the brightly colored boxes with the string pop up all over during the holiday season. This year, I even discovered an incredible one imported to the US from the Milan region that had candied pumpkin, pumpkin cream and all sorts of delightful fall flavors. I tried it, loved it, and went back to Sam’s Club to buy three more. I love Panettone.
One of the most popular wine festivals in all of Italy takes place on September 14, 15 and 16– the Tufo Greco Festival in the town of Tufo in Avellino Province. This festival celebrates Greco di Tufo wine in all of its glory– a white wine made from the “greco” grape that has been certified DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata), which is the highest level of quality assurance for Italian wines as they have been analyzed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled. If the government gives that designation, then you know the wine you are drinking is the best you can get!
One of the most striking traditional art forms I saw while in Irpinia was that of “tombolo,” a form of lace making that requires special needles, a skilled eye and a lot of patience.
In the town of Santa Paolina, nicknamed “the town of tombolo,” the old tradition is alive and well– in fact, there’s even a type of school where the town’s elderly women teach the skill to anyone who would like to learn, ensuring that the centuries-old art form lives on.
My grandfather came from Guardia dei Lombardi, Avellino Province, Italy, in 1927 when he was just 11 years old. While he always wanted to return home, he never made it.