It came two years late, but nonetheless, restaurateur Margarita Fores was delighted to receive finally her honorary Marietta Ad Honorem Award in Italy recently.
Named after Marietta Sabbatini, the devoted assistant of Pellegrino Artusi, father of modern Italian cuisine, the award acknowledges a person’s passion for and contribution to the promotion of Italian cooking. And for having been a staunch advocate of Italian cuisine in the Philippines for years now, Fores was given the distinction back in 2013.
However, due to health reasons, she let her team fly to the city of Forlimpopoli in Italy to receive the prestigious award on her behalf. The award, a golden bust of Artusi, had been kept in a glass case in the Casa Artusi library all this time, waiting for Fores to accept it in person. Last June 21, she finally did.
The event was held in the beautiful and historic Chiesa dei Servi church. Casa Artusi president Giordano Conti and Sindaco Paolo Zoffoli called Fores onstage and presented her the award before a huge crowd. She is the first and only non-Italian to get such a distinction.
“I’m sorry but my Italian is not good,” she began her acceptance speech. The attendees responded with harmonious applause. “It’s a big honor for me to receive this. It makes me truly happy. You truly are my family here in Italy,” Fores said before she held the heavy bronze trophy and posed gamely for the cameras.
It may have taken time for it to happen, but it was just as special and memorable as the original date Fores was supposed to get her Marietta.