The Taste fair, in its tenth year, has comes to a close once again. For three days (March 7 to 9), Stazione Leopolda was bustling with 320 exhibitors from around the world. This year was once again a booming success and well attended.
A spectacular installation greeted visitors at Stazione Leopolda’s entrance, designed by Vetreria Etrusca (which also did the interiors), featuring 1,000 glass bottles lighting the fair’s many stands.
A wonderful installation was also seen at the culinary book corner of Guido Tommaso Editore, featuring a series of balloons floating in the air, reminiscent of Pixar’s animated movie Up, a reference to the theme “The unbearable lightness of reading.”
Beer was given a lot of attention this year, confirming how it is an area of growing investment throughout Italy. One of the most unique of these was the “Perle ai Porci” from Birra del Borgo; to make it, Breton oysters are added during brewing to a stout, shells and all.
La Fattoria Dianella, a wine maker from Vinci, premiered at Taste its “Maria Vittoria and Ottavia,” a sparkling rosé based on Sangiovese, made with an age-old method.
Another wine worth note for fans of rosés is the Bardolino Chiaretto, a classic rosé wine from Lake Garda. We could taste the 2014 vintage, made with new production techniques to achieve a very light pink with fruity aromas, making it perfect for aperitifs and paired with fish.
Speaking of aperitifs and snacks, the salty crackers from Biscotteria Bettina were truly divine. Along with traditional sweet cookies to sample (like delicious tiramisu logs), there were salty crackers too, made to go with aperitifs, such as ones with curry and poppy seeds and ones with herbs, cantucci with peanuts and Parmesan and others with cherry tomatoes, oregano and hot pepper!
Keeping to sweets, the Fratelli Lunardi di Quarrata offered up soft, mouthwatering cookies, especially their cantucci cookies that are much softer because they change the traditional recipe by using butter. Another unique product from them: jellies from Tuscan wines, designed to be combined with cheeses or meats.
Absolutely not to be missed: the chocolate from Slitti of Monsummano, which needs no introduction (their chocolate is sold worldwide and has won numerous accolades). A. Giordano’s chocolate is also great, especially its spread creams (the pistachio flavor is fantastic!) and the chocolate from Barbero (their hazelnut Baci di Cherasco!)
If you love Modica’s chocolate, a must-stop was Sabadì’s stand with witty, original chocolate bars each with their own mood or wish (a bar for health, one for idleness, one for optimism…).
Other delicious offerings included the jams from Happy Mama, who introduced some wonderful new flavors, such as watermelon and mint jam, pumpkin compote with amaretto, and chocolate and pear cream. Other great jams came from Alpe Pragas, a jam and preserve maker in the midst of the Dolomites, most notably their apple strudel compote.
Via del Tè presented its new collection inspired by the 12 signs of the zodiac.
Cold cuts from Renieri of Poggibonsi were delicious. Renieri has always focused on high-quality food, and their cold cuts stand out for their lack of additives and allergens.
The olive oil from Frantoio Franci from Val d’Orcia is noteworthy for its true excellence!
At the end of the stand route, you could buy the foods you tried in a special Taste Shop.
New this year was the Fumoir@Taste room, a place to gather and kick back while watching a cigarette maker from Manifattura Tabacchi from Lucca make cigars on the spot.
The days were also full of fascinating talks (Taste Ring) coordinated by Davide Paolini of Il Gastronauta. The talk on Saturday discussed the issue: “Traditional dishes of meat, cold cuts and pastas are disappearing from the table — at home and restaurants — and vegetarian, vegan, diet and health trends are on the rise. Is this why we are drinking less wine?” Participating in the conversation were Andrea Gori (from La Trattoria da Burde), Fabio Picchi (Cibreo’s famed chef), Giuseppe Calabrese (journalist from La Repubblica), Alessandro Tomberli (director of the Enoteca Pinchiorri winery) and Marco Pallanti (owner of Castello di Ama).
Much was said about the excessive “sanctification of wine” which has helped confuse matters. A good sommelier should be able to direct patrons, by explaining the wine in simple words and bringing back the pleasure of drinking a nice glass of wine.
English translation by Miriam Hurley