What we're about

A great social group... by Italians, for Italians, and for anyone who might not be Italian ~ but is interested in learning and celebrating the customs, holidays, cuisine, culture, and traditions of Italy and Sicily!

FESTA! is....

First, a celebration of our Italian roots - our culture, history, language, music, food.

Second, a trip back to the old neighborhood!

Third, having coffee in Mama and Nonna's kitchens with a biscotti fresh out of the oven.

Fourth, an honor to those in our families who were brave enough to leave Italy for our foreign shores, and a tribute to those who helped build America.

Fifth, never forgetting how to sit around the dining room table with the family on a Sunday, or a holiday, literally, from soup to nuts..

Sixth, recognition of our name days, saints days, and their history and tradition.

Seventh, creating a circle of friendship amongst our new friends to celebrate all that we hold dear in our memories..

C'ENT ANNI!

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FOOD: FESTA is the Italian word for "feast" and "holiday," a word that perfectly expresses the special relationship that exists between food and celebration! Nowhere is this relationship stronger than in the cooking of Italy, which is richly flavored with traditions that have slowly grown around the important saints' days, the name days, the moveable feasts, the civic holidays, and the regional celebrations and seasonal observances. Advent, Christmas, Carnivale, May Day, Midsummer's Night, Republic Day, All Hallows' Eve, and the numerous other feste all have their distinctive dishes and menus. Lovers of food and Italy will be enchanted by the offerings of this group! Dinners at Chef's tables and kitchens, private homes, and select restaurants will fill our calendar. Many times there will be a cooking demonstration or workshop. Dishes may reflect local landscape and history more than just being labeled "Italian." There are 20 culinary regions of Italy, that include Emiglia-Romagna, Piemonte, Veneto, Umbria, Tuscany, Sardinia, Puglia, Basilicata, and Sicily, to name a few.

THE ARTS: We will also share our appreciation of contemporary and traditional Italian music, opera, film, and literature, and focus on excerpts that highlight Italian cuisine to learn the history from that perspective.

TRAVEL: We will coordinate private, small group travel (10 to 20 people) to different regions of Italy under the guidance of Alfredo deBonis, master chef, tour guide, linguist, and church and Italian art history expert.

LANGUAGE: Although you don't need to speak Italian to enjoy this group, if you desire, you will find opportunity to practice your language skills while learning about the food, wines, art, music, and events of Italy.

Whether you are here to celebrate your heritage, or your joy of Italian landscape and culture, or you wish to learn about Italy's rich history, custom, food, and culture, WELCOME!

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***Our intention is not to compete with any other group or program, but as always, to respect all groups and work together when opportunity allows, creating exciting events together, and to learn and participate in more history and cuisine-oriented activities, with a common focus and one common goal ~ to celebrate Italy.

FESTEGGIAMO LA NOSTRA CARA ITALIA!

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A bit about the organizers....

Susan is a second generation Italian-American who grew up firmly rooted in her Sicilian culture and tradition, amidst several outstanding cooks, bakers and artisans. Honoring generations-old family traditions, she maintains a large garden at the family home, that includes several varieties of fig trees, tomatoes, Swiss chard, eggplant, and Italian herbs! Susan offers a history and celebration of Italian and Sicilian holidays, feasts, and name days, and the foods associated with each. Being an event planner and Meetup organizer for seven years, Susan also heads up Princeton Arts & Entertainment, and New Jersey Motherless Daughters.

Cristina was born and educated in Rome, and is an Italian lecturer at Princeton University and language instructor at Dorothea's House (Casa di Cultura Italiana). As a culinary artist/teacher based in Princeton, her passion is teaching all about Italy, it's traditions, history, food, art, music, people and places. Cristina offers workshops through her school, CRI Cooking, language arts, travel to Italy, and an immersion into Italian culture.

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Simple Rules:

1. NEVER use the RSVP system to hold a place at an event that you're not sure you want to attend, and then cancel out of that event in the final 24 hours because something else came up. Honor your commitments, or do not sign up for the event. There are no "maybe's." You either want to come, or you don't. If you grab a spot that you're not even sure you want, you close someone else out of the event who may really want to come. There are always people who wait patiently for weeks on the Waiting List for a spot to open. When it opens 24 hours before an event, it's too late. They've made other plans, and we're stuck with an empty seat. Violators of this rule will be removed from the group.

2. Make sure your settings allow you to receive Meetup.com emails and then READ them when they arrive! If you don't, then you will have no idea when new events are announced, and you will not receive the details of an event you are registered for. In the case of private home events, we send the address one week before. If you want to know where it is, you will need to check your emails. ALL info regarding an event is posted on the event page. Please read the details there instead of calling or texting me on the day of the event.

3. Please do not RSVP "No" to our events. We only need to know if a member is attending. Organizers receive emails every time an RSVP is made, so in order to minimize these emails that we don't need, we ask that you only RSVP "no" if you are changing from a previous "yes." If you are not attending, simply do nothing, and we will hope to see you at a future event!

Thank you!

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