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Italy marks Carbonara Day

Comic filmmaker Verdone elected ideal companion to eat it with

(ANSA) - ROME, APR 6 - Italy on Wednesday marked Carbonara Day with Roman comic actor-director Carlo Verdone elected as ideal companion to eat the iconic Roman bacon and egg pasta dish with.
    "I love pasta, it's my favourite dish, simple, creative, it's a real antidepressant," said Verdone, 71, who sprang to fame with Un Sacco Bello in 1980 and has had hit after hit since.
    "It means sharing, being together and good moods," said the cinema great, who has made no secret of his struggles with depression.
    "I'm proud to be the flag carrier for this dish. If you organize, I'll rush to come, I'll eat in silence and then I'll make you laugh. Happy Carbonara Day to everyone", said the popular actor, who was elected in a Doxa survey commissioned by the Unione Italiana Food.
    Exports of Italian pasta have risen "significantly" despite the COVID emergency, farm group Coldiretti said on International Carbonara Day.
    Pasta sales in Italy are also up, it said.
    The export boom is however fed by "fake" versions of Carbonara, such as the culinary crime of adding cream that originated in Belgium, or the smoky bacon version recently publicised in the New York Times, Coldiretti said.
    As well as committing the offence of using bacon instead of guanciale (cured pig's cheek or pork tongue), as per the original recipe, the US version also employs Parmesan, the bogus clone of Parmigiano Reggiano, instead of the recommended Pecorino Romano, Coldiretti said.
    This proliferation of sub-par imitations of classic Italian food products is helped by the lack of clear, government protected recipes, the farmers' association said.
    Italian traditionalists insist there are only five carbonara ingredients: pork tongue, pecorino, eggs, salt and pepper.
    Innovators think that, since pasta is such a versatile dish, there should be no limits on how carbonara can be interpreted, going as far as "culinary science fiction", according to detractors.
    In France and Germany, for example, powdered ingredients are on sale for preparing a carbonara; in Britain the egg is often replaced by bechamel sauce; and in Japan chefs regularly add cream and take out the pecorino - an affront to tradition according to purists.
    As with many recipes, the origins of the dish and its name are obscure.
    There are many theories for the origin of the name, which may be more recent than the dish itself.
    Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers.
    In parts of the United States the etymology gave rise to the term "coal miner's spaghetti".
    It has even been suggested that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari ("charcoalmen"), a secret society prominent in the early, repressed stages of Italian unification.
    It seems more likely that it is an urban dish from Rome, probably first described after WWII in the Italian capital, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.
    #CarbonaraDay was set up by the International Pasta Organization (IPO) and the Association of Pastry and Pasta Makers (AIDEPI) to fete this culinary glory and try to settle some of the vexed questions about how to make it. (ANSA).


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