Festa della Donna

~FESTA DELLA DONNA~ was one of my favorite days while living in Italy, an explosion of yellow mimosa everywhere and a showing of female solidarity and appreciation. This year celebrate International Women's Day Italian-style at A16:

Wine Director Shelley Lindgren will pour her favorite wines from women winemakers and, as is the custom throughout Italy, women are encouraged to enjoy celebratory dinners with their women friends. All the wines for the night will be from women winemakers and representing every region of Italy, from Abruzzo to my beloved Veneto. Morgan Clendenen (Cold Heaven, Santa Barbara), Chrystal Clifton (whose Botasea rose proceeds are donated to Breast Cancer research, and she also is a partner in Palmina, all Italian varietals grown in Santa Barbara) and Pam Starr, one of the coolest and most talented winemakers in California will be here from Napa.

Also, the front of house and kitchen at A16 will be almost entirely female as a symbol of how far women have come today, not without struggle and hard work. Liza Shaw, A16 Chef de Cuisine and Jane Tseng, A16’s Pastry Chef, have put together some great additions, such as a special app of Hawaiian blue prawns with shaved artichokes, lemon, chiles and mint; ricotta ravioli with mosto; an entrée of Berkshire porchetta with lemon, rosemary and black pepper; and a special dessert: pistachio and rosewater meringue with rhubarb gelato and lemon.

The dining room will be decorated with yellow mimosas, the flower traditionally handed to Italian women on this day. The evening benefits San Francisco’s La Cocina (“The Kitchen”), a non-profit commercial kitchen and business incubator providing low-income women food entrepreneurs with fully licensed affordable commercial kitchen space, technical assistance, and access to new market opportunities.

International Women’s Day has evolved and taken different forms and meanings over the years, but it has always been strongly associated with women’s struggles, both tragic and victorious, and women’s rights. An event that was both tragic and victorious, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, in which mostly Italian and Jewish women workers perished in a burning building whose exits were locked to prevent labor organizing is often commemorated in Italy. This tragedy led to progressive new labor laws. Just as this tragedy led to triumph, the sunny mimosa, one of the March’s first flowers, symbolizes the promise of spring after the darkness of winter.

Festa della Donna
Thursday, March 8, 2007

2355 Chestnut St.
Cross: Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

(and later for wine)