Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Florence, Food Gets Its Fashion Week


Claudio Bonoldi Studio

Much of what makes Florence’s annual artisanal Italian food fair, Pitti Taste, more enjoyable than say, its sibling, the men’s fashion week, Pitti Uomo, is the simple fact that participants are encouraged to eat. In its eighth year, Pitti Taste opens on Saturday for three days and has become something of a gastronomic fashion show, where more than 250 of Italy’s standout producers show what they are made of with craft beer and grappa, ballooning panettone, enormous wheels of unctuous cheese and peppery and delicate olive oils.

 Over the last several years, the event has catapulted small beer brewers like 32 Via dei Birrai into stardom. Buyers and foodies alike descend to see where the culinary barometer is tilting. The fair includes on-site chats and presentations, like this year’s colloquium about grandiose cake design led by the expert pastry chef Roberto Rinaldini of the famed Pasticceria Rinaldini di Rimini, and discussions about how to encourage your child’s inner foodie presented by Vogue Bambini. The event is held in Florence’s impressive Leopolda train station, but there are more than 100 supplementary food events all over the city at hotels, restaurants and cultural sites like the Gucci museum, where the house chef will be teaching the secrets of cookie-making.

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