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A Little Bit of Italy at the Fancy Food Show

A Little Bit of Italy at the Fancy Food Show

Charles Scicolone (June 30, 2009)
Charles Scicolone
The Saint Eustachio Stand at the Fancy Food Show

Great Products From Every Part of Italy


I headed straight for the Italian section.  It was easy to find since Italian products had 24,100 sq. ft. of space. But that is a lot to cover in the time I had.  The Italian area, organized by the Italian Trade Commission, was bigger and had more participants than any other international presence.

It was dedicated to showing the many varieties of Italian food products and different types of wine. As I walked up and down the crowded aisles, and looked at the different stands, I was reminded of Vinitaly, the wine fair held in Verona. Once again, I was tasting wine to buy for the restaurants I work for.  It seemed to me that there were more people in the Italian section than anywhere else. Was this do to the fact that it was so large or that people in this country cannot get enough of things Italian?

Michele was looking for some products from Tuscany, but we could not find the Tuscany area. Later we learned that it was so large it was on the floor below. There were so many products from Italy, you name it, and they had it: chesses, pasta, anchovies, coffee, coffee making machines, wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, candies and nuts, chocolate, prosciutto, taralli, bread sticks, panettone, biscotti and even gnocchi and risotto in a plastic containers to just heat in a microwave for three minutes!  There were so many good things to sample that we ate a little too much and skipped dinner.



Many of the companies already had their products in the United States and were looking for restaurant and retail stores to buy their products. Others were looking for importers to bring their products into the US, a much more difficult task.

Joe Chirico and his son, Marco, the owners of Enoteca on Court and Marco Polo Restaurant in Brooklyn where I am the Consulting Wine Director were there. Joe and Marco were looking for products they could use in their restaurants. Joe took me to meet a wine producer from Calabria. Joe is from Calabria and he wanted me to taste these wines. The wines made from the local grapes were very good. The producer said that his wines were not in the US and that he was looking for an importer.  I gave him some advice on how to go about getting one. He believed that this event was a good way to make contact with them and I agreed.


Other wine producers already in the United States were hoping to get more business from the exposure. They were right.Everywhere we turned we ran into wine and food importers, chefs, restaurateurs and retail store owners -- and these were only the ones that we knew.

The Italian Trade Commission had its own stand to help with questions and directions. On Sunday afternoon they held two panel discussions. The one we were interested in was “Health and the Mediterranean Diet” Presented by Ms. Katherine Mc Manus, Director of the Department of Nutrition-Brigham Hospital, Boston. Ms. Mc Manus’ conclusion, sighting a number of studies comparing different diets, was that the Mediterranean diet was the healthiest, and the one people stayed on the longest because the food tastes best. No wonder the Italian section of the show was the largest and most crowded!

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