WELSH Lamb was flavour of the month for Italians at home and abroad during March.
It was enjoyed by London’s Italian community during a gala dinner prepared for over 100 guests when celebrity chef Francesco Mazzei, a Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) Welsh Lamb Club member, requested Welsh Lamb as the centrepiece of his main course.
Hosted by the Italian Ambassador, the dinner was held at the Italian Embassy to raise awareness and funds for the only full-time, bilingual Italian school in the UK, La Scuola Italiana a Londra.
“The Annual Gala Dinner was a huge success and we raised over £100,000 for the school,” said Francesca Nelson-Smith, chair of the board of trustees.
“But one of the highlights was the delicious Welsh Lamb, served with spring vegetables and cooked to perfection by Francesco Mazzei.”
HCC market development officer Melanie Hughes said: “We were thrilled when we heard that Francesco Mazzei had chosen to serve Welsh Lamb at the gala dinner.
“He is always extremely supportive of the product and is committed to serving it at his Italian restaurant, L’anima, in the centre of London.” Before Wales’ heroic final clash against Italy in the RBS Six Nations tournament a reception was hosted by the British Ambassador to celebrate the union between both countries.
Welsh Lamb was used for cooking demonstrations by another renowned Italian chef, Luigi Taglienti, and tasty samples were offered to the guests.
Arranged by the UK Trade and Investment department, the function was an excellent networking opportunity for 120 invited guests including Italian government officials and WRU and Italian Rugby Federation representatives.
Established and potential new customers for Welsh Lamb were also present.
“With people of such a high calibre attending, it is hoped that the reception will generate increased interest in Welsh Lamb in a country known for the quality of its food,” said HCC export market development officer Alex James.
Italy is an important export market for Welsh Lamb. A total value of £6.6 million was exported to the country in 2013, making it one of the world’s top five importers of the PGI-approved product.