Italian influence looms large for Aussie foodies

Italian influence looms large for Aussie foodies

For chef Stefano Manfredi the oversized influence of Italy on Australian food culture can be seen in the humble bulb of garlic.

"I was six years old when we arrived in Australia. That was in 1961 and it was a very different country back then. Australians didn't really eat garlic," he says. "Today Australians eat probably more garlic than Italians do."

Chef Stefano Manfredi.

Chef Stefano Manfredi.Credit:Anson Smart

The country's cuisine is firmly in the spotlight at today's Italian Wine and Food Festival. Manfredi is one of the big culinary names putting on a home cooking demonstration along with appearances from Silvia Colloca, Aldo Ortado and Nino Zoccali.

Manfredi will show how to make Roman pizza in teglia, which doesn't require the very high oven temperatures found in pizzerias. He advises swapping the usually recommended "00" flour for a stone-ground one for a healthier and more flavoursome base.

Festival goers can also shop at a bustling marketplace, have a glass or two at the wine zone, leave the little ones at a children's play area while they learn to make pasta, and even watch acrobatic pizza twirling.

When asked for the secret of the enduring appeal of Italian food, Manfredi doesn't hesitate. "I think it's approachable and it's easy if you really adhere to the maxim of getting the best ingredients and treating them very simply."

Italian Wine and Food Festival, 10am-6.30pm, Doltone House, Australian Technology Park, 2 Locomotive Street, Eveleigh, $25-$125,