Italy feeds the world as the Universal Expo in Milan gets underway
The Universal Exposition is one of the most important global events for bringing countries together to share knowledge, innovation and traditions. It is due to the Universal Expo that Paris has the Eiffel Tower, that Brussels has the Atomium and that Seattle has the Space Needle.
The present day Universal Expo still maintains its focus on technological advancement, but with a more humanitarian bent. Expo Milano 2015, which is being hosted by Milan, Italy, from 1 May to 31 October, is focused on the use of technology and innovation to provide safe, healthy, sufficient food for the world’s entire population. Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life expects to welcome more than 20 million visitors from over 140 countries over the six months that it is running. Visitors will be able to engage in a variety of activities, from tastings of the world’s best dishes to explorations of gastronomic traditions to discussion of the best agri-foods for feeding the planet.
Italy is the natural choice for hosting such an important food-focused event. Its food exports circumnavigate the globe and its sparkling prosecco now outsells France’s champagne in volume terms. In 2014, Italy’s food exports hit record levels, with a value of €34.3 billion, according to Coldiretti’s analysis of data from national statistics agency ISTAT. The figure represents an increase of 2.4% over the previous year, with the Russian ban on numerous food imports more than counteracted by the American thirst for Italian wine, which totalled more than €1.1 billion worth during the year.
While two thirds of Italian food exports are destined for other European countries according to the Coldiretti analysis, demand is also high from the US market and the growing market in Asia. Wine, pasta and olive oil are the most prized Italian products, backed by a significant appetite for Italian cheese, fruit and vegetables.
Of course Italian food also draws huge numbers of tourists to Italy every year in search of the taste of authenticity. The latest foodie destination hotspot is Le Marche, where an abundance of truffles, game and seafood have been delighting the local population’s palates for centuries. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs founder of Le Marche-based luxury fractional ownership business Appassionata, comments,
“People think of Italy’s food and picture the ultimate feast of pizza, pasta and ice cream. While Italy does offer all of these, there is such huge diversity across the country in terms of other dishes that you really have to immerse yourself in it in order to discover everything. Even after living here for years, I am still discovering incredible new recipes that use traditional techniques to make simple, fresh ingredients just come alive with flavour.”
Those looking to get up close and personal with Italian cuisine can base themselves at Appassionata’s Casa Tre Archi holiday home in the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli. The three storey townhouse provides its owners with five weeks’ exclusive usage per year, at a cost of £70,000 per fraction. With a roof terrace that is perfect for outdoor dining, the scents of local cafés and restaurants filling the air and views of crops waving gently in the breeze for miles and miles, it is hard to imagine a better base from which to explore the tastes of Italy.