In the Beginning!

Small bites: Ciao Asheville

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ALL THINGS ITALIAN: Gail Rampersaud, left, and Gina Trippi co-founded Ciao Asheville, an Italian cultural forum. “We want to bring the Italian cultural experience to Asheville," says Trippi. Photo by Thomas Calder 

You don’t have to be Italian to join Ciao Asheville. The new cultural forum only asks interested members to bring their passion for the country’s cuisine, language, wine, film and literature with them to the monthly meetings at Metro Wines. “The mission of the group is to try to address all of those aspects,” says Gina Trippi, co-owner of Metro Wines and co-founder of the forum. “We want to bring the Italian cultural experience to Asheville.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the group will host its inaugural meeting. Strada Italiano will supply pizza, and Mike Tiano of Haw River Wine Man will offer a brief presentation on Chianti wine. In addition, Gail Rampersaud, the group’s event coordinator, will discuss plans for the forum’s future and upcoming programs, which include presentations on the slow food movement and travel ideas when visiting Italy.

Along with monthly presentations, the group intends to host free Italian films at Metro Wines. Trippi and Rampersaud also hope to develop an Italian language speaking group to meet more frequently than the forum’s current monthly gathering.

“We really want to serve the needs of the people that are interested in this,” says Rampersaud. “The inaugural event is about bringing folks together, getting their feedback and figuring out the future direction of the group. We want our courses to be driven by our members. We want to provide what people want.”

Ciao Asheville: An Italian Cultural Forum will host its inaugural meeting 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. The event is free to attend. To learn more, visit avl.mx/5jc.

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