A taste of Italy kicks off Italian heritage month

All proceeds from the event will go towards Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday kicked off Italian heritage month, and what better way to celebrate than eating authentic Italian food.

This year’s annual Taste of Italy was held in Springfield’s South End, an area that has Italian roots.

People lined up for the event, and boy, it was an Italian feast for the masses. More than 800 people were expected. The annual event was held at the South End Middle School, which was built by skillful Italian masoners.

Rose Rueli-Costa of Our Lady of Mount Carmel told 22News, “We started in 1992, with the centennial honoring Columbus’ discovery of America. We didn’t know what to do as a parish. Everybody said, ‘oh food, our people know food.’ So, it’s been food and that’s what we do.”

The ambiance and food was strictly Italian.

Guests like Barbara Anzalotti of Longmeadow told 22News, that food is the center of every Italian family. “Food is very important to the Italians. It seems to draw us together, making us a family. No matter who it is, even if you’re unrelated. If you’re eating together, you’re part of the family.”

Over 40 different Italian dishes and desserts were offered.

13-year-old Serena Croteau of Agawam is already a bonadine cook. She told 22News, she can make tortellini from scratch. “I’m good at breads. I like to make breads with my mom. We make brownies and cookies, a lot of desserts, but tortellini’s are my main meal.”

Books on Italian heritage were for sale. All proceeds from the event will go towards Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, building of a new $2-million parish. The ground breaking ceremony will take place in November. The church is expected to be completed by the fall of 2017.