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Rome's restaurants to help AIDS victims

Patrons of Rome's high-end restaurants now have a chance to share their good fortune by helping victims of AIDS and malnutrition in Africa.

by: Philip Pullella | 19 Jun 2007

Italy's Sant' Egidio religious group, has unveiled a new initiative to help finance its highly successful AIDS prevention programmes in several countries on the continent. The group will team up with the capital's fashionable eateries and renowned chefs.

Restaurateurs and chefs will link one of their most famous dishes to a project called "Food for Life". When a diner orders a specific dish, one euro ($1.35) will go to Sant' Egidio's "Dream Project" to help AIDS victims in Africa.

It gives HIV-positive pregnant women medical treatment so they don't pass on the virus which causes AIDS to their children and also helps alleviate malnutrition.

So, a plate of "Paccheri all'Amatriciana," a tube-shaped pasta served with a spicy tomato and pork sauce, will not only send your taste buds to heaven but also help those who likely will never enjoy a similar culinary experience.

Among the restaurants which have already signed up is Palatium, on Via Frattina, one of Rome's most chic streets, near the Spanish Steps.

Filippo Mantia, one of Italy's hottest chefs, has joined with his famous "caponatina", or sweet and sour Sicilian-style fried eggplants with pine seeds and capers in tomato sauce.

The price of some dishes at his restaurant, La Trattoria di Filippo Mantia, run to about 26 euros, more than most monthly wages in Mozambique and other sub-Saharan countries.

Mantia says he knows one euro can go a long way. "I'm telling all my colleagues, even my competitors in the restaurant business to join up," he said.

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