Bellavita Expo London 2019 delivered its most complete experience yet, with more than 6,000 guests and VIP Judges attending the Business Design Centre, Islington for the UK’s largest Mediterranean food & beverage trade show.
Across two days, Bellavita delivered the largest showcase of goods, with over 250 Mediterranean producers exhibiting – including exhibitors from Spain, thanks to this year’s co-location with Ibérica Expo. This year emphasised the shared heritage of Mediterranean cuisine, and the international potential of ingredients. Bringing together the food and drink experience was a strong theme of this year’s Expo: Bellavita CEO, Aldo Mazzocco, said “We just need to talk about education and explain to people what we are doing, what we are drinking – and I truly believe that combining food and drink is the future.”
It was standing room only at the Bellavita educational seminars and panel discussions on the BeFood and BeWine theatre stages, where an expansive programme kept guests informed and captivated. Day one began with a tasting of Decanter World Wine Awards 2019 winners from across the Mediterranean, hosted by Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, as Bellavita Resident Chef Nicoletta Tavella commenced the BeFood stage with a Mediterranean cooking masterclass.
Ibérica Expo presented simple, ﬂavoursome Andalusia recipes, paired with premium wines and liqueurs, presented by Alfonso J. Fernandez (Sabor de España); Michelin Star chef and MasterChef Italia judge Giorgio Locatelli walked guests through the creation of a signature Locanda Locatelli dish, chestnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms while, in the BeBeer tasting sessions, beer sommelier Annabel Smith matched beers by Birrificio Angelo Poretti with a selection of dishes.
Wine expert Angela Mount led an organic wine tasting, followed by Peter McCombie MW’s session on wines from Italy’s smaller islands, with food pairings suggested by Michelin Star chef Theo Randall (Theo Randall at the InterContinental). Caroline Gilby MW introduced a range of low intervention wines, featuring pairing suggestions from chef Francesco Mazzei (Sartoria); discussion panels with representatives from leading national distributors and restaurant groups also took place on stage, chaired by The Buyer editor Richard Siddle and Harpers editor Andrew Catchpole. Presiding over the first day of the Bellavita Pizza Academy were the APCI UK, overseen by head tutor Aldo Venturi.
Day two opened with Ibérica Expo’s Galician wine and food pairing, led by expert Francisco Santiso, while Raul Diaz took to the BeWine stage, pairing Italian wines with non-Mediterranean dishes, inspired by his upcoming book Wines and Recipes. The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the UK presented an importers & distributors talk, as two Michelin Star chef Gennaro Esposito (Torre Del Saracino) divulged the secrets of pasta making, using products displayed on the Expo floor. Christine Marsiglio MW presented a Mediterranean sparkling wine tasting, followed by Villa Sandi’s premium Prosecco tasting, hosted by brand ambassador Diva Moretti Polegato and Slow Food UK chairman Shane Holland.
Poretti returned to the BeBeer for further beer pairings, with hosting duties taken up by beer sommelier Natalya Watson. Meanwhile, WSET spirits educator Liam Scandrett and head bartender of The Arts Club Agostino Schiavo took to the BeWine stage for the BeMix cocktail masterclass. Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant Magazine, led a debate panel, featuring representatives from leading restaurant chains and the Federazione Italiana Cuochi. Closing out this year’s agenda was Nancy Gilchrist MW, leading a tasting of volcanic wines. Taking over the Pizza Academy was Marco Fuso and fellow pizzaioli, amazing guests with their pizza tossing displays throughout the day.
This year’s Bellavita Awards, marking the end of Bellavita Expo, saw Bibanesi breadsticks from DA RE S.p.A. winning the prize for best food product, and La Galvanina’s organic ginger beer winning best beverage. JC Mackintosh’s Andalusian smoked wild bluefin tuna loin receiving the inaugural Ibérica Awards prize for Best Spanish Product, with Linda Drinks’ Linda Tomate with wasabi juice drink receiving Most Innovative Spanish Product. Sessa 1930’s lemon Sfogliatella Riccia was named Chefs’ Choice, while Most Innovative Product was presented to Rogelfrut’s Bio Strawberry Puree. The Taste Good Award went to Bono S.r.L.’s Il Sole olive oil, Pastificio dei Campi’s Spaghetti Di Gragnano IGP was awarded Best Brand Identity, and Tenuta Pietramora’s Petramora Morellino Di Scansano won Best Mediterranean Wine.
Thanks to the expanded variety of authentic products and expert insights, Bellavita Expo London 2019 was an immense success, delivering the excellence of Mediterranean food and drink to industry guests like never before.