A two-month celebration of Italy’s authentic food products and traditions in the UAE, will see a number of events between September and November, with the aim of spreading awareness and educating the public about the importance of quality products.
The events, which will be held under the frame of ‘The Extraordinary Italian Taste Campaign,’ are organised by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), in cooperation with the embassy of Italy to the UAE, and the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai.
“Our mission is to educate and teach the public that behind a product’s name, there is a history and the effort of many generations. There is an increase in bio products here, which means there is a growth in food awareness in Dubai,” Liborio Stellino, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE told Gulf News.
The celebrations will kick off with the first event ‘The Speciality Food Festival,’ held at the World Trade Centre, halls five and six on September 18-20. Organised by the ITA, the official Italian Pavilion, will host more than 26 of Italy’s elite food producers, giving visitors the chance to explore the Italian taste and products such as sweets, pasta, coffee, olive oil and traditional cheeses. The Italian pavilion will also host a ‘breakfast made in Italy’ corner and daily cooking shows with world-renowned chefs, including three star Michelin chef Heinz Beck. Spreading awareness about genuine food items, which are backed by the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), will also be a main focus at the pavilion.
“We consider such events a useful tool to educate the public, as the dimensions of the fair is manageable, allowing human contact as guests visit each stall,” pointed out Stellino.
With over 300 Italian restaurants and two Italian food stores in Dubai alone, Italian residents face no struggle when craving their traditional dishes.
“Residents in Dubai have more access to high quality Italian food, and are very happy when a new product is released. The news quickly spreads around through word of mouth,” said Stellino with a chuckle.
The UAE currently has 12,000-13,000 Italian residents, of which, around 10,000 reside in Dubai.
“The number of Italian residents in Dubai has tripled over the last four years. The type of immigration seen here in the UAE is not that of the traditional immigration pattern seen in the US. Here, you have a lot of urban young professionals moving to Dubai through the London stock-exchange and through multi-national companies that believe in the prospect of this platform,” explained Stellino.
He pointed out the embassy has managed to create professional associations for Italian residents, such as the association for Italian physicians and doctors with 85 professionals, and the association for university professors across Al Ain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi (65 professors). They are currently working on establishing an association for lawyers and legal consultants, added Stellino.
“What is interesting is the diversification of the Italian community in the UAE. The sectors where Italian residents are focused include legal consultancy, finance, healthcare, and international companies involved in oil, gas and infrastructure. However, the highest sector is aviation with a large number of Italian pilots,” said Stellino.
With constant growth seen in the number of Italian residents, restaurants, and products, there is no doubt the Italian culture has a print in Dubai’s diverse communities.
The ‘Extraordinary Italian Taste Campaign’ events:
1. Event: ‘The Speciality Food Festival — Italian Pavilion
Date: September 18-20
Venue: World Trade Centre, halls 5 & 6
2. Event: The Lulu Group Promotion — Italian products to be show-cased in-store
Date: November 20-26
Venue: Lulu Supermarkets
3. Event: Taste of Abu Dhabi Festival 2017 — The Italian 600sqm pavilion will display Italian products and ingredients, and host restaurants and cooking stations with Michelin-starred chefs
Date: November 9-11
Venue: du Arena, Yas Island
4. Event: Second week of the Italian Cuisine in the world
Date: November 20-26
Venue: Michelin starred chefs will be cooking at a range of restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi