Nicola Lener
Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Visitors to the ITAlian Food Lab, organised by Italian Trade Agency (ITA) within the Italian pavilion at Gulfood, will be taken on an emotional, sensory and visual journey of authentic Italian produce, traditional and modern dishes; all playing homage to Italian food industry’s commitment to authenticity, innovation and sustainability.

During the five-day fair, February 21-25, the ITAlian Food Lab will feature a sequence of live cooking sessions by popular UAE-based Chefs specialised in authentic Italian cuisine, and Masterclasses by renowned 3 Michelin Star Chef Norbert Niederkofler and 2 Michelin Star Chef Marco Sacco on February 21 and 22, respectively, at the Italian Food Lab in Sheikh Saeed Hall # S1-302 in Dubai World Trade Centre.

One of the key highlights of the show is the finale of Tuttofood Pasta Challenge, which will take place at the ITAlian Food Lab. It is a unique pasta making competition that involves participation from Italian restaurants in the UAE and organised in collaboration with Tuttofood Milan Fair and the Emirates Culinary Guild, around the theme of how Italian cuisine connects people.

The final round will take place on February 23, at 3.30 pm at the ITAlian Food Lab. A special jury comprising Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE; Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner/ICE Dubai office; Uwe Micheel, President of The Emirates Culinary Guild and international culinary experts, including famous international chefs, will choose the winner, who will get a sponsored trip to next edition of Tuttofood fair in Milan fromOctober, 22-26, 2021.

Italian companies to exhibit a large variety of products

Italy, participating with more than 120 companies, associations and organisations is strongly represented in different sections of the Gulfood fair under the Extraordinary Italian Taste campaign which promotes authentic Italian food products. Italian companies in Gulfood will exhibit a large variety of Italian products such as olive oil, confectionary items, cheese, Italian coffee, organic foods, ‘free from’ foods, pasta, sauces, condiments, truffles, canned foods and many other favourites.

Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the United Arab Emirates, said: “As we continue to witness the success of the Italian food all over the world, we are proud to join forces in promoting the Italian culture and gastronomic heritage. By connecting our country’s history and know-how with present and future common challenges, our promotional effort is aimed at highlighting how much our creativity in mixing tradition and innovation in food can help improve not only our quality of life, but also our health and the planet. We really believe that high-quality food connects people as well as Italian beauty does. This is why we chose “Beauty connects people” as the claim for Italy’s participation at the upcoming Expo2020.

Amedeo Scarpa
Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE and Director of ITA Dubai Office Image Credit: Supplied

According to Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE and Director of ITA Dubai Office: Italian food is a celebration of quality produce. The fresh, sustainably produced Italian ingredients tease the taste buds and provide for a wholesome meal, in line with the principles of Mediterranean diet. Italy is one of the global giants in F&B product exports worldwide, with almost $50 billion value of food products exported annually. UAE already imports more than 90 per cent of its food and Italy is ready to supply UAE’s needs with our range of genuine, healthy and tasty food. By sharing our safe and healthy and sustainable food with our Emirati friends, our aim is also to boost more win-win opportunities in food trade.

“In Italy, people enjoy leisurely meals; enjoying the cooking process, eating together and telling stories while sharing food with family and friends. For us, food is all about connecting with people and focusing on healthy, organic and sustainable produce. Italian food industry takes an active interest in food sustainability, culinary innovations, new kitchen techniques and managing food wastage. These are some of the topics that will be highlighted during the workshops, seminars and masterclasses at the ITAlian Food Lab, that this year is build with sustainable materials such as wood.

“Italy’s innovations in food sector have ensured double digit growth in exports, globally. In the first half of 2020, Italian food and beverage exports amounted to over 22 billion Euros, up 3.5 per cent on the same period in 2019. On top of the exports pyramid is Italian bakery products, that achieved 2.3 billion Euros in value and a double-digit growth of +15.6 per cent.

“This is followed by processed and preserved fruit and vegetable exports, which touched 1.9 billion Euros in value, recording an increase of +6 per cent, and dairy products with 1.8 billion Euros, at a growth rate of +0.8 per cent. Gulfood is an ideal platform to introduce buyers, distributors and consumers to high quality Italian food ingredients and dishes that are popular in this region. This is also reflected in the growing UAE-Italy food trade. For example, in the first 11 months of 2020 Italy exported more than Euro 22 million worth of pasta to this market with a year-on-year growth of 30 per cent.”