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For the Best Italian Food… Join the Club

BY March 13, 2013

Who serves the best home-cooked regional Italian specialties in Southwest Florida?

Most likely, members at Marv Alpert’s Florida Italian Gourmet (F.I.G.) club. The group prepares and serves authentic dishes with wine from the 20 regions of Italy. F.I.G's dinners consist of three to five couples, though singles are welcome, too. Each month, one of the 20 regions of Italy is selected for a “soup to tiramisu” gourmet Italian meal in a member’s home. The hosting couple decides the menu and assigns what dish the other couples will cooking. A recipe can be provided, or a couple can use another authentic recipe. Each person or couple is required to cook a regional dish and bring one regional wine to the dinner. There’s no membership charge, just bring the dish and two bottles of Italian wine, and you’re good to go. Founded in 2004, the F.I.G. movement is looking to establish new groups. At the end of the year, all groups meet and the foods of all regions are represented in one communal dinner.

A FIG club dinner.

I was a guest at one dinner. The evening started with a blind tasting and rating of the evening's wines.

We started on the Emilia-Romagna region with antipasti galantina di pollo, piadina al formaggio e carciofi, pana e prosciutto  with a main dish of Pasta Tagliatelle Bolognese Classico.

After an intermezzo of sorbetto d' limone came the secondo of scallopine di vitello alla bolognese con aceto balsamico, with contorni spinaci strascinati e insalata verde, and finishing our feast with a rustic almond tart and  traditional pastries. Have a look at a video at:  For more F.I.G. information contact Marv at

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