At the Central Plaza's sky lobby in Wan Chai on Tuesday, the local Italian community f?ted its national day with all the pizzazz and pizza you would expect. In fact, guests were so engrossed by the variety of food and drinks tables sponsored by local Italian restaurants and wine importers, the noise nearly drowned out Italian Consul General Alessandro De Pedys and the requisite government official, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung (both pictured). It even took the MC three tries just to gather everyone's attention. That's not good if you're trying to make a speech, but it does mean your party is rocking. The DiVino Group's roast suckling pork sandwiches drew a long line, but general manager Giacomo Pani disappointed guests when he had to tell them this was a special dish for the event and wasn't on the menu at Goccia and Spasso. Domani's clever squid pasta raised a few eyebrows when folks realised the entr?e actually consisted of squid cut to resemble fettuccine strands. But for De Pedys, the f?te was an occasion to highlight the close ties between Italy and Hong Kong even as he noted the current economic climate remained cloudy. 'The fashion [industry] is down a bit but Hong Kong's one-thousandth Ferrari was just sold,' the diplomat said, while adding that the Ngong Ping 360 cable car's gondolas, the parts for Stonecutters bridge and the fleet of helicopters flying gamblers to Macau were all made in Italy. 'Our businesses here are not about cut and run. You know, Italy is the third-largest trading partner with Hong Kong.' Then, noting a certain European Union rivalry, De Pedys added: 'Even more than France!'