A Made in Italy story told by Giuseppe D’Avino, CEO of Strega Alberti company, one of the most famous liquor company in the world. The love for Italy is not only expressed through its products but also through the promotion of our national culture: like Premio Strega, born in the “Salotto Letterario” of Goffredo and Maria Bellonci, where the “Amici della Domenica” used to gather.
Today there are more than 400 members and the first to join in were great personalities of the Italian literature and theater: De Filippo, Pasolini, Moravia, Guttuso, Bontempelli, Piovene and Savinio.
Our Italian Food Ambassador, Francine Segan, has met him for this beautiful interview:

1) Nine words to introduce you.
Mechanical engineer always keen on Italian food originality.
2) What episode started your food passion?
When I began working for the company I was a mechanical engineer, I had an MBA from Bocconi University in Milan. I dealt with things such as CAPEX, ROI, EBITDA… Then my cousin, who worked in the production department, died suddenly, and I had to take his place. Since then, I have learned the importance of quality, raw materials, and originality: all these elements make the food sector unique, and led by passion.

3) What is the Italian recipe that represents you best?
The recipe for our main product, Strega liqueur. Unfortunately, it’s a secret.

4) What are the three essential Made in Italy products for your kitchen?
For the liqueur: wild mint from Sannio, juniper from the Appennines. For the sweets: Italian honey, Apulian almonds, Neapolitan hazelnuts.

5) Who cooks in your house?
My wife

6) Which one in your opinion is the biggest stereotype foreigners have about the Italian cuisine or Italian food?
That Italy only produces good, simple traditional recipes, and that a more sophisticated and innovative cuisine belongs to other traditions.

7) Speaking about the “Italian Sounding” phenomenon, what do you think are the solutions to oppose it?
There is already a European law (Regulation No. 1169/2011) stating that the presentation of Italian products must not mislead the consumer. We need the law to be enforced.

8) Three words to describe the Italian food abroad.
Happy, unfaithful, good.

9) Tell us more on why Made in Italy products—food/wine/spirits—are important to you as an Italian.
As for spirits, Italy has an ancient, one-of-a-kind tradition. Think about the wide variety of Italy’s bitters, aperitifs, liqueurs, Grappa…. We are starting to discover it just now, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s emerging thanks to, among others, the association “The spirits of Italy”, aimed at spreading the knowledge of Italian liqueurs in the world.
10) What awards did you, or Stega, win? 
It’s been a while since we took part in a competition. The last one was in Paris in 1911. On the other hand, every year Strega is a prize for an Italian novel that has rewarded: Moravia, Eco, Morante, Pavese, Gadda, Palazzeschi, Silone and Tomasi di Lampedusa.

Thanks to our Italian Food Ambassador Francine Segan for this amazing interview.