Sol & Agrifood is the event held alongside Vinitaly, organized by Veronafiere, that has become a reference point in Italy for food operators who look for productive niches of excellence to serve the more demanding and multifaceted segments of the market.
A showcase for agri-food products like pasta, bakery products, beer, cheese, chocolate, coffee, preserves, condiments and cold cuts, it is a leading trade fair for high-quality extra virgin olive oil, and a place where buyers have the opportunity to experience the use of the products through cooking events, educational tours and tastings. The goal is to spread theoretical and practical culture and increase the awareness of the difference between industrial products and excellent ones.
This edition, held April 10-13, was visited by nearly 15,000 foreign operators from 80 countries out of a total of over 64,000 visitors. Veronafiere developed new services for the incoming foreign trade delegations, assisted this year by the Italian Trade Agency ICE with the Ministry of economic development.
The foreign buyers met with Italian producers with their offer of territorial productions, as well as the collective representatives of Morocco and Croatia, and participated in tailored tastings and events.
An international olive oil competition, Sol d’Oro, was organized as a preview to Sol&Agrifood. Aimed to promote the world’s best extra virgin olive oils and encourage improvements in production and quality, the competition is divided into two branches: Sol d’Oro Northern Hemisphere, and Sol d’Oro Southern Hemisphere, for the producing countries south of the Equator. Every edition is held in the producing countries on a rotating basis.
In order to to make the challenge more global, the Sol d’Oro Southern Hemisphere edition was also attended by the winners of the Sol d’Oro SH from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay.
This edition’s olive oils were assessed by a panel of international tasters from Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Argentina, California and Greece. “More and more producers are achieving the privilege of quality,” said one of the Italian members of the judging panel, Giulio Scatolini, panel leader of Unaprol Rome, Aprol Perugia and Capol Latina, in the field of sensory analysis since 1987. “Thanks to the excellent season, we could assess great extra virgin olive oils. The qualitative leadership in this edition of Sol d’Oro is Italian, followed by the excellent level of Spain.
“The Italian productive system that many view as uneconomical, is one of those that can give you the highest quality,” Scatolini said. “Companies of contained dimension which implement a high-level system of control of every detail and critical point, would not be possible to manage with large dimensions and quantities.”
Regarding the best production areas, “among the Italian regions, a pleasant surprise was the Basilicata region, where many young people are reorganizing and modernizing farms with great results. In the southern hemisphere Chile and South Africa, although with still limited quantities, reached very good quality levels.”