After 16 successful editions, Taste returns to the Fortezza da Basso for seconds from February 4 to 6. Enjoying the benefits of being under the Pitti Immagine umbrella, founder Davide Paolini talks us through the delights on offer at the leading Italian speciality food fair.
Tell us about the highlights of Taste 2023.
At this edition of Taste, we’ll be seeing incredible growth in terms of the number of exhibitors, which will allow visitors to have greater choice and a broader overview. This growth is due to continuous research around Italy for niche producers that display the utmost quality. The wealth of Italian producers meant that we had to move to the Fortezza da Basso in order to accommodate this greater representation of quality artisanal producers. Furthermore, Taste has become a beacon, a point of reference for all quality production in our country, and every year there are more and more companies who ask to participate, given the success of buyers and the quality of the exhibitors edition after edition. But we set ourselves a limit, and this is where Taste’s greatest quality lies: having precise selection limits, without becoming a fair for the masses.
How have consumers’ tastes changed during the pandemic and how does Taste create or reflect current food trends?
The lockdowns certainly increased home cooking and the search for simpler products because cooking at home and the dishes made at that time were straightforward. The lockdowns placed restrictions on our tastes, which is why, when it became possible, restaurants experienced a boom, especially for more sophisticated cuisine, and there was a preference not to cook at home anymore. At the height of the pandemic, there was a preference for local products, whereas post-pandemic tastes have moved towards products from further afield and often even exotic ones.
Taste is all about discovering quality specialty foods from niche Italian producers. Tell us some of the standout producers we should be looking out for at this year’s fair.
Just to name a few…Definitely Feudo Montello for pasta, a Sicilian producer that produces pasta with stone ground flour. For fresh pasta, La Campofilone. And then there’s Le Follie di Carlo Giusti, who makes pigeon prosciutto in Tuscany. Another suggestion is Maiale Tranquillo, which produces cured meats from pigs reared naturally and under pressure. Gin from DiBaldo Spirits, for which Romagna-born Baldo Baldinini studies the rarest of essences in the most hidden corners of the earth. And then artisanal pastries from Olivieri 1882 with 130 years of tradition. The finest aromas and flavours of Noalya chocolate, based in Ponsacco. Sardinian artichokes from Pinna. And don’t forget the bread and pizzas from Renato Bosco or Luigi Guffanti’s extraordinary cheeses.
Taste 2023 takes place at Fortezza da Basso on February 4-6 2023.