Luigi Falanga, CEO of Falanga, Sicily’s renowned sweets companies, whose pistacchio croccante recently won the Vassoio d’oro for he best new sweets product of the year at Cibus, speaks with our Italian Food Ambassador, Francine Segan, on his passion for Made in Italy foods.
His artisan products – Sicilian cookies, Sicilian pistachio and almond creams, panettone and cakes- are a huge success in the USA and were sold out in just a few weeks at Fresh Direct, a popular online retailer in the NYC tri-State area.

1) Nine words to introduce you.

Charismatic, foodie, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, positive, history lover, Sicilian, father, husband.

2) What is the episode that started your food passion? 

I consider myself lucky, because I was born in a part of Italy with a thousand-year old history strictly connected to food.
The food culture is passed down to you at home: when I was little I saw my father, my grandparents and my mother spending hours in the kitchen and preparing the dishes that remained in my memory. Gradually, I wanted to cook to emulate their work, to personalize those dishes and share them with my friends.
Any kind of dessert in Sicily, even the simplest, has a precious link with history, mythology, religion and even astronomy.

3) What is the Italian recipe that most represents you?

Being Sicilian, I have to pick cannoli, one of Sicily’s most famous and fabulous desserts.

4) Who cooks at your house?

This is an hobby I love to share with my wife, there is a perfect alchemy between us, indeed our friends contend our invites for dinners or lunch that have nothing to envy to the best restaurant in my city. 

5) Which one in your opinion is the biggest stereotype foreigners have about the Italian cuisine or Italian food?

People living outside Italy think Italians only eat pasta and pizza. The Italian cuisine is plenty of variety, especially if you go on deep in regionality, each regions in Italy has a different way to cook food, ingredients, taste etc…

6) Speaking about the “Italian Sounding” phenomenon, what do you think are the solutions to oppose it?

– Build a common big brand certificated of the real made in Italy (with a recognized logo).

– Educate people to recognize quality in food

- Introduce international fines for poor quality food that pretend to be excellent.

7) Three words to describe the Italian food abroad.

Not authentic, not checked, expensive.

8) How much Made in Italy food and wine are important for you?

Foods Made in Italy is an industry that should be more protected around the world.
Different from technology or other sectors, good Italian food and wine are more linked to tradition rather than simple innovation. 

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

croccante+grappa- photo credit-Falanga