Eat Italian, angry eateries tell xenophobe politician

Restaurateurs in the north Italian town of Padua have written to regional governor Luca Zaia, of the xenophobic Northern League, claiming he's spending too much time in cheap Chinese restaurants.

To their horror, local eateries learnt that Mr Zaia spent New Year's Eve in the local Wok-sushi, where you can stuff your face for €10 (£8.50).

"Zaia's choice of fried ravioli, spicy prawns and caramelised ginger, instead of the typical cuisine from old family traditions has saddened, surprised and disgusted us," wrote the restaurant owners. "Why doesn't he defend tasty local products?"

The owners of top restaurants including Palestro 29, al Cancelletto and Trattoria Ai Porteghi, sent the missive to the Veneto governor and the local catering association APPE.

They said capon, cotechini pork sausages, tortellini, and panettone would have been more appropriate.

Mr Zaia's dining habits will have surprised many of the former minister's political opponents, who are accustomed to his reactionary outbursts, particularly during his time as food and agriculture minister.

In the letters page of the local paper, Il Mattino di Padova, one reader noted ironically that it was "the daily duty of a real Northern Leaguer to hate anything foreign", but added "as soon as you sample other things you forget to hate the rest of the planet".