Do This: ICC dishes up 23rd A Taste of Italy
Festa Italiana is, of course, the city's major Italian festival and it takes place each July, bringing delectable Italian cuisine to the Summerfest grounds.
But each April, half a block west of the Henry Maier Festival Park, at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St., A Taste of Italy draws Milwaukee in to check out the ICC and sample tasty Italian-American treats.
This year's 23rd annual event takes place Sunday, April 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Admission and parking are free. You buy tickets – $2 each or six for $10 – and use them to sample variety of Italian entrées, appetizers, desserts and beverages. Items cost one ticket each, except for the fried calamari, which requires two.
Among the favorites are pizza, pasta, meatball sandwiches, arancini (rice balls), eggplant, panini, sausage sandwiches, sfingi, salads, soups, sfinciuni and pork tenderloin, along with dolci like cannoli, gelato, cookies, eclairs, pizzelle and spumoni.
There will also be coffee, soda, water, beer and wine.
There will be live entertainment by the Sicilian Serenaders, singer Jayne Taylor and the Tradizione Vivente dance troupe, as well as raffles for great prizes, including a flat-screen TV.
The annual event is a fundraiser for the non-profit Italian Community Center, which works to promote Italian-American culture and history in Milwaukee, via Festa Italiana, Italian language classes for children, bocce leagues, an historical photo collection and more.
"A Taste of Italy is the only place you can go to sample 20 different Italian foods and six different desserts for a reasonable price," says Christina Ziino, who is coordinating the event with Marie (Andaloro) Lieber and Val (Sanfilippo) Schleicher, adding that the event is the second largest ICC fundraiser after Festa itself.
A Taste of Italy is organized and run by ICC volunteers, who pour their passion and hard work into the event.
The event was created and was run for many years by volunteer Ann Romano, who has retired and passed the reins on to Ziino, Lieber and Schleicher.
"This event would not be possible without the support of the local Italian societies and organizations, generous food purveyors, the volunteers of the ICC and various organizations and the cooperation of the Italian Conference Center staff," Romano told me a while back.
The ICC will swing its doors wide open for A Taste of Italy. Entrée items, appetizers and beverages will be available in the Pompeii Grand Ballroom. Desserts and beverages will be served in the Festa Ballroom.
Seating will be available throughout the building and, if Mother Nature allows it, you can sit around the fountain in the courtyard, too,
Buon appetito, Milwaukee.
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