From Truffles to Parma ham and Pasta to Parmesan, this food show has it all, and what better place to showcase food than in one of Europe's most fashionable cities, Milan. On arriving early at the show i am immediately impressed with the amount of exhibitors on display, after recently visiting similar show in London it is hard to believe that we are in a recession, as this is a food show at its best.
It is just after 10am and the show is all ready busy, i cant help but trip over the wild mushrooms, truffles and olive oil, but that is not all this show has to offer.
A show of this size takes a while to cover and an amount of back tracking and zig zaggiing the aisles is required to cover each and every stand.
No money seems to have been spared with each stand trying to out do the next, some even with restaurants above with teams of chefs demonstrating and displaying the vast array of products. After some considerable time, a few miles covered with some interesting products found it is time to visit the town of Rho, just a short distance from the convention centre to trawl the first two on my list of Italian retailers.
Esselunga and Fin Iper.
Esselunga, on entering the store you are met with well spaced aisles,large produce department and coffee shop, on closer inspection the store is similar to others previously visited in Europe, grocery and produce only taking up half the store with the fixture merchandising in no particular order. I decide to head back towards Milan to visit Fin Iper. The store is in a suburb called Portello, and is situated in a new shopping mall.
Immediately you enter the store it has that American Wholefoods/Central market feel, all the produce is well merchandised [ more wild mushrooms] with market stall blackboards for pricing, Grocery aisles are well stocked but cover a relatively small area due to the style of storeAs it is early evening the hot deli is doing a roaring trade with Fresh Paella, seafood spaghetti and rotisserie chickens. It also boasts an amazing cold deli, fish counter, bakery and even wine bar in the beers wines and spirits aisle to try before you buy,
So far ready meals are non existent, the only convenience food i can find is Risotto, every shopper here is buying fresh items for the scratch cook. With products purchased and aisles photographed i head outside for one more shot of the store, before heading back to the hotel.