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Central Market’s two-week Passport to Italy starts Wednesday

Addie Broyles

Ready for a trip to Italy without leaving Austin?

Central Market’s Passport series is back this week with a new destination: Italy. Since 2010, the upscale grocer has picked single countries with distinctive cuisines to highlight during a two-week in-store festival that features specialty products, cheeses, meats and wines, demonstrations, classes, tastings and more.

After touring Argentina, Spain, France and Brazil, Central Market is now shining the spotlight on all things Italy from Wednesday through May 13 at all of its stores in Texas. The addition of hundreds of hard-to-find imported products is enough to draw customers to the two Austin stores, but both locations have a packed schedule of free in-store tastings and demonstrations.

The North Lamar location’s cooking school will also host a number of ticketed cooking classes starting this week, including a class on Thursday about dry pasta featuring chef Rolando Beramendi and a wine and wild game pairing class with winemaker Francesco Daddi on Saturday. At 6:30 p.m. on May 7, you can take a trip to Tuscany at a family-style feast with a trio of Italian winemakers. Finn & Porter chef Peter Maffei will showcase his family’s Northern Italy heritage in a class at 6:30 p.m. on May 9, which is followed by a class about Sicilian food the following morning.

At Central Market Westgate, the majority of the Passport demonstrations and tastings will take place in the in-store café or in the cheese, wine, produce and meat departments. You can find a full schedule for both stores at