Heading for Latin America and Asia
So upon arrival we went straight for the Latin American and Asian stands eager to see what was on offer (probably also swayed by my friend’s Argentinean roots a bit too!) and we were greeted with lots of vibrant colourful jewellery and tapestry and I took an Americano at a Colombian coffee stand to enjoy whilst wandering round the stands in this hall. We stopped by an Argentinean stand and my friend got chatting to the exhibitor, passing him a local contact who could be interested in stocking his products in Italy (a clear benefit of exhibiting at such a fair when you are trying to enter the Italian market!)
Enjoying food and drink from around the world
We then entered the European halls which were more food and drink focused and by that point I was getting a bit peckish but with so much on offer from so many countries it was really hard to choose. In the end I went Greek with a Gyros kebab (enjoyed even more thank to the service with a smile by the Egyptian who served me!) and Spanish for a drink of strong refreshing sangria (cue cheesy amateur photo above!) Dessert was thanks to a French crêperie offered a crêpe with their traditional caramel au beurre salé although it wasn’t as tasty as I had hoped (probably down also to a much more despondent lady who served it)
What the UK didn’t offer…
I had a look (of course!) at the small British offering with mainly alcoholic offerings (craft Beers, cider, Scottish whiskey and cupcakes) as well as tea cups, cake stands with the royal family and vintage/ flowery designs to buy as gifts but felt there was a lot of opportunity for much more to be showcased from the UK which italian consumers would appreciate and buy. I’m not sure why there wasn’t more of a UK presence- whether it is because artisan producers aren’t aware of the show? (A quick google.co.uk search shows that it hasn’t been talked about or given any real exposure in the UK) Or maybe the need to communicate in Italian is too much of a perceived barrier?
Whilst it is clear that you would need some Italian language support on the stand (and being here has highlighted my own linguistic deficiencies-must do better!) this can be easily sourced.
A gem of an opportunity??
Moreover with such huge Italian crowds – an anticipated 1.5 million visitors over the 12 days arriving as early as 9.30am with empty suitcases to fill then with the right products, the right offering at this time of the year and the right exhibition strategy this could a very successful show for many Artisan producers. There is also the opportunity to sell your products during the show via its own online e-commerce platform available in Italian, German and English as well as opportunities to participate in some of the events and demonstrations taking place throughout.
So if you are an artisan producer and looking at selling your goods further afield than the UK then do consider this fair could be beneficial for you (and by all means get in touch for any further details or advice that I can share from my experience)
A taste of Italy
The time at the show ended having a quick look around the Italian halls desperately trying to find some delicious olives to enjoy back at home that evening. Amazingly this was a bigger struggle than I had imagined and in the end I settled on Spanish chorizo with slices of mozzarella, pesto and carrot sticks to nibble on instead whilst enjoying a full bodied Italian red wine prior to dinner.
The end of the trip
The last day of my trip has been filled with rest, reflection, a solitary walk around the town of Lecco and a determination to make next year the time when more travel and trips like these are taken as they really are good for taking stock, remembering how far you’ve come and renewing your excitement for where the future may take you- even more so if you allow the inspiration of different cultures and environment to inspire you further.
I hope everyone gets the chance to take a well deserved break over the Christmas period, regardless of the opportunity to travel abroad or not.