On 30 April, the third Italian Food and Film Festival brought Kathmandu closer to Italy with a generous helping of pasta and the mafia.


Classy and cosy are the words that come to mind when entering Black Pepper Cafe and Pub, the venue of the third Italian Food and Film Festival (IFFF). Held every Wednesday since 9 April, the festival, organized by Gianantonio Candiani and the Kathmandu Film Society, delivers authentic Italian cuisine and entertainment.
At first glance, the presence of napkins and candles might suggest a fancy dinner, but once the meal rolls out, you’ll realize it is anything but. Designed by Candiani, the set menu is genuinely Italian and varies every week.

Last week’s starter, Crostini ai Funghi con il Formaggio, was bread with cheese and mushroom. The warm bread was topped with melted Italian cheese from Himal Farm. Light and slightly sweet, the cheese, when combined with the simple bread, enhanced the flavor of the fragrant dried mushrooms imported from Italy; olive oil, black pepper, coriander, and a hint of garlic being the spices of choice.

The IFFF was certainly no stiff dinner party. Between courses, it wasn’t uncommon to see patrons greeting each other with air kisses, before settling down to chat. If anything, it was a comfortable house party with homemade food, as the main course exemplified.

The Lasagne agli Spinaci e Pomodori Freschi was as “beautiful” (to quote Candiani’s description) as the starter. Cheese and fresh baked spinach were the most prominent flavors of the dish. My teeth also broke into sundried tomatoes from Italy, while the sweet juice from the baked fruit burst on my tongue. The handmade pasta was firm and had soaked up enough flavors from the ingredients to taste absolutely divine.
The gastronomical adventure ended with Torta al Cioccolato — or more simply, chocolate cake. The cake walked the fine line between being sufficiently “chocolatey” and not too rich in a perfect manner. Drizzled with Hershey’s chocolate sundae sauce, the decadent treat was worth the extra pound or three and was perfect for savoring as the film of the night came on: E’ Stato Il Figlio.

An Italian evening, with a meal and movie, comes at Rs 950. Attendees have to book in advance as Candiani only caters to 40 people. Should patrons only be interested in the film, the screening costs Rs 100. Booking is not necessary, though entrance depends on seat availability. Drinks are not included, but Black Pepper’s liquor menu is available, as are Italian wines from Vesper House, which Candiani recommends. Vesper House’s wines are sold at a discounted price, and as with all drinks, are to be paid separately.

Cinematic Companion of the Week
The movie presented for the week was E’ Stato Il Figlio, or It Was The Son, a 2012 movie directed by Daniele Cipri. It tells the story of the Ciraulos, a poor dysfunctional family from Palermo, whose youngest daughter is killed in the crossfire of the mafia. The film goes on to follow the family’s woes as they attempt to gain compensation for their daughter’s death, and their ensuing debt.