New dates for Pitti Immagine Taste, at Stazione Leopolda from 5 to 7 June 2020
The Food event that the whole of Italy is waiting for. Agostino Poletto tells us
Every year, Florence turns into a taste capital and the spotlight switches to the finest food and wine with Taste, a showcase of local products and producers, niche specialities and the crème de la crème of Italian food. In its many years of activity, Taste, organized by Pitti Immagine, has become a trailblazer, made even more appealing by the Fuori di Taste events, which feature dinners, themed tastings, installations, shows and creative performances, involving places, shops and locals throughout the city centre. We met Agostino Poletto, CEO of Pitti Immagine, to hear his unique take on Taste, ahead of the 2020 edition at Stazione Leopolda from 5 to 7 June.
Has Taste made Florence become a taste capital?
I’d say that it’s helped to give a different taste, a broader, more open identity and vision to the artisanal image of the city and its surroundings as far as food and wine is concerned. That’s thanks to Davide Paolini’s knowledge and the incredible research that he’s been doing for decades throughout Italy and all the country’s delicacies. Every city and every region speaks their own language, and the cultural riches of this biodiversity is exactly what Taste strives to promote financially at an international level. This takes place through an innovative event format, with considerable artistic direction and attention to detail, so that the collective power of the displays, products and marketing, presentations and talks reinforce every exhibitor’s wares. It’s the same experience and awareness that we apply to our fashion events.
Are artisans of taste the stars of Taste?
Many exhibitors are multi-generation family-run firms, including Florentines and Tuscans, who thanks to Taste have expanded their product reach beyond the usual markets in which they once moved, bringing their specialities throughout Italy and overseas. Then there are the start-ups managed by young enthusiasts who discovered their passion for a given product or special tradition that was being lost by the wayside and that needed to be re-established; they realized it could become a real and deeply rewarded job. I’ve met professionals who used to work in other fields, such as advertising, fashion and even someone who worked for a legal firm, who changed their profession and life because they fell in love with a food product. And they have been successful.
Authenticity, diversity and identity: the food world has reached where Taste began. What will the future of food look like?
We’re headed for ever greater awareness of food quality by consumers: total traceability, ethics and ecology. The health benefits and ties with specific areas or with the research into areas around which top chefs craft their dishes. What all this means is that producers must be good at communicating these qualities.
More than the Leopolda. Can we expect 4 days of events in the city that show Florence’s changing tastes every year?
That’s the way it’s always been, but in recent years Florence has become a top destination in terms of food and wine tourism rather than research. This goes beyond new takes on traditional dishes and ingredients as well as fresher and more original offerings. Florence is where the Negroni was invented and thanks to its many bars, the city is establishing itself in the world of mixology. Food halls like Mercato Centrale and the Sant’Ambrogio markets are renewing their approach. So, I’d say that the interesting thing about Florence for locals and international is this dialogue between the old and the new, haute cuisine and street food, city and country, Florence and the big world out there.