ITALY, the land of food lovers and fine food culture, has much more to offer the world other than pasta, spaghetti and gelato. In a country where taking your time to appreciate your food is a virtue, one can expect to discover and taste lovely cheeses, hams, wines and other refined products.
At the recent Cibus Connect 2017 show in Parma, more than 400 exhibitors showcased their “Made in Italy” products and food ingredients of high nutritional value.
Trade visitors from Asia were criss-crossing the halls looking for new suppliers of the famous Parma hams, among other products.
Buyer Rita Ng of Swiss Butchery of Singapore said: “Quality of the ham is great; we’d like to import but unfortunately, not many of the Italian suppliers have the required certification to export to Singapore and other countries in the region.”
Her observation was echoed by Philip Cheng of QB Food Trading (Singapore), Jimmy Zhang of City Super (Hong Kong) and a buyer from Indonesia.
Mauro Pusteria, business development manager of Indoguna Singapore, said: “Cibus Connect is a good platform for the small and upcoming suppliers keen to export. It is not the case that the smaller Italian meat exporters here do not take the effort to apply for certification.
“The certification requirement sometimes is on a government-togovernment basis and here is where the Italian government authorities should do more to promote export of Italian meats and other Made in Italy products.”
For a company like Arca Gualerzi, it has been exporting its wide selection of cured meats for many years. Founded in 1924, its Parma ham is second to none. Owner Romeo Gualerzi and his export manager Elvire Deperrois were at the show to welcome buyers to taste the company’s renowned range of Parma ham.
Deperrois said: “The delicacy of the taste of our Prosciutto Parma ham is because of the careful selection of pork leg from Italian livestock as well as strict respect of the processing tradition — no preservative, no addictive.”
The PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label on its products, issued by the Consortium of Parma Ham, is the guarantee of authenticity.
Deperrois is looking for more importers from South-east Asia.
For supermarkets and restaurants catering to vegans, family-run Zerbinati was wooing vegans with its easy-to-prepare vegetarian products, from soups and fresh-cut salads to gluten-free burgers made from fresh vegetables.
Its BurgerZbio can be ready to serve in just two minutes. It is soyafree too. And Zerbinati’s light and nutritious flan takes only one minute to prepare.
Italy, of course, is famous for its olive oils and the art of blending has become a science.
Indeed, there were many booths promoting olive oils — as high-quality oil is central to Italian gastronomic excellence.
Valeria Pili, area manager – export, Zucchi, said: “Olive oil has become a main ingredient of our diet and culture. It is found in every Italian kitchen and restaurant.
“Zucchi, over the years, has produced a wide selection of standard and organic extra virgin olive oils. We have special blends that bring out the aroma and tastes of Italian olives.
“We also have light-tasting oils as dressing for salads or even for delicate foods without drowning out their flavours.” Pili is interested in expanding the Zucchi business into Japan and Australia.
Over at the Terra del Tuono booth, something new came from an old company. Terra del Tuono, a company founded in 1892, is in the forefront of blending tradition with technology.
Visitors stopping at its booth were asked to try its small soft pearls that looked like caviar.
The small black pearls contain liquid Balsamic vinegar that blossoms in the mouth. The taste is simply delightful.
It will find a ready market among restaurants in Asia as the pearls can add the extra touch when plating a dish. One can choose from a variety of pearls, ranging from the popular Balsamic vinegar to pearls with truffle, lemon pearls, fig pearls and blueberry pearls, to match your main dish or dessert.
Terra del Tuono was also exhibiting its fruity condiments, maple syrup and mousses.
Cibus Connect 2017 also organised dozens of customised cooking shows by chefs such as Marcello Zaccaria and Luca Zanga (promoting Barilla products), Daniele Zennaro (Valbona), Tano Simonato (Parma Ham Consortium ), Renato Bosco (Levoni), and Andrea Nizzi (Coppini and Delicius).
This new show, mooted by CEO of Fiere Parma Antonio Cellie and Federalimentare to complement the traditional Cibus international food exhibition hosted in even years, was to “connect” food communities in the world and bring buyers to the show in odd-numbered years. Cibus Connect 2017 was held in Parma, Italy on April 12 and 13. The show saw the participation of 400 exhibitors and hundreds of buyers from Asia, Europe and the US. Among the exhibitors was a group of about 100 manufacturers in a designated Slow Food area with the aim of opening new market opportunities for small businesses from around the Italian peninsula.
Cibus Connect 2017 was placed in the same week as Vinitaly, and thanks to an agreement signed with Veronafiere, many Parma international buyers were able to visit the Vinitaly on the eve of Cibus Connect 2017.