After a busy start to the year at The Oil Merchant, it was with great excitement that three of us boarded a plane for a working weekend in Florence. For Charles and Issy, apart from the Covid years, this trip to the capital of Tuscany has been an annual pilgrimage. For our recent recruit, Peter, it was his first visit. The focus of the weekend was the sixteenth edition of the annual Taste food festival. Hosted at Fortezza da Basso, Taste is a popular event for buyers from across the globe to attend and meet Italy’s leading food producers. During the three days there were 7,000 trade members from over 50 countries in attendance.
For our team it was a great opportunity to catch up face to face with our wonderful Italian producers. Several were exhibiting while others had made the journey to attend the fair and see their customers. The fair is also a chance to see new trends and product launches. Our Laudemio extra virgin olive oil producer, Frescobaldi, used the fair to launch their delicious ancient grain pasta called Tirrena (more on this soon). All the Italian regions were well represented at Taste, especially the main olive growing regions of Tuscany, Molise and Sicily. It was fascinating moving from stand to stand meeting such passionate producers and tasting their products. Some, but not all, of our team were even brave enough to try a range of anchovies at 9am!
With Florence providing a spectacular backdrop to the fair with sunny blue skies, there was some time in the afternoons to explore. From our base in Piazza de Santa Maria Novella, we were able to visit all the sites including Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and stroll across the Ponte Vecchio to aperitivos in Piazza Santo Spirito. With food clearly high on the trip’s agenda, we sampled many local specialities including a spectacular Florentine steak at a traditional trattoria, fettucine with wild boar ragu and cantucci dipped in vin Santo. It was a truly memorable and productive weekend, which served as a reminder as to how lucky we are to work in this field.
Taste is open to the public after 2pm, so if you happen to be Florence at the same time, we really recommend finding time for a visit. https://taste.pittimmagine.com/en