Italian cuisine

How delicatessens can promote the best of Italian cuisine | food drink

We can all attest to the appeal of good Italian food. Most of us have at least a handful of Italian dishes in our repertoire — spaghetti bolognese and carbonara, bright green pesto and pizza (potentially created Neapolitan-style on an Ooni, lockdown style) — and our collective pantries don’t just not feel complete without a packet of dry pasta.

It’s no surprise that Italian food has long been considered one of Britain’s most beloved foods, but what is the current state of affairs and where are the opportunities now? Discover, specialty food spoke to Italian food experts from across the industry. Spoiler: the future looks bright for la dolce vita.

Celebrate the Italian way of life
As suppliers of premium products around the corner and around the world, specialty food readers have a valuable role to play when it comes to promoting the best of Italian food and drink. Luckily, there are plenty of passionate producers out there to help you do just that. After all, who better to communicate the wonder of Italian products than the manufacturers themselves?

“Our mission is to bring to the UK what makes Italy so ‘Italian’: maximalism, the ability to amaze, friendliness, color and the ability to enjoy small moments of daily happiness, all like sharing a box of chocolates with your loved ones,” begins Giovanni Battista Mantelli, master chocolatier at Venchi – a heritage Italian brand that has been bringing quality chocolate and gelato recipes to an adoring public since 1878.

“Crunchy or creamy, milk or dark chocolate, Gianduja, with nuts or surprising fillings to be savored layer by layer… in Venchi’s colorful Chocogelateria you will find a rich selection of chocolates, an entire wall of chocolate bars , delicious artisan pralines, chocolate fountains and many flavors of authentic Italian ice cream freshly prepared every day in the shop’s laboratory according to Italian tradition, only with natural and selected ingredients.”

Renowned for, in Giovanni’s words, “celebrating the Italian art of living”, Venchi – and its gastronomic counterparts – exist to bring the best of Italy to food lovers everywhere.

For Claudia Galetta, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Bellavita, Italian passion is a proven strength of Italian cuisine: “We don’t just put passion into what we do, we are born passionate,” she says.

With producers taking pride in what they do, guaranteeing quality and a story to connect with – two benefits for fine food retailers – fine Italian food and drink is naturally aligned with specialty food readers’ messaging.

“We naturally put love, energy, beauty, fun, as well as hard work, into everything we do. Yet it’s contagious so even our foreign colleagues indulge in the vibe quite quickly. dolce vita once they join the team. New Italian products in the UK are actually, very often, exceptional regional foods that have been around for many years and that’s fantastic. That happens in Italy too , where the products of one region are known to other regions. I find that sensational.

An evolving party
Italy may be teeming with delicious food and drink traditions, but that doesn’t mean even its most passionate advocates choose to stick instead of writhing. For Matteo Ferrari, chef and co-founder of White Rabbit, there’s no reason why one of the country’s most iconic dishes, pizza, shouldn’t be suitable for today’s audience.

“With 1 in 10 people in the UK avoiding gluten, there is a clear opportunity to provide authentic gluten-free Italian cuisine – and that is what White Rabbit is. Bringing the joy of Italian cuisine to everyone,” he begins.

“We want everyone to be able to have the Italian experience, whatever their dietary needs (also spending as little time as possible in the kitchen and reinvesting that time to really enjoy this moment of pleasure). You can sit at our table to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, whether you are celiac, vegan or flexitarian.

And while the archetypal image of the multi-hour Italian feast rich with family and friends is a real selling point of the Italian culinary scene, shoppers don’t need to have an entire afternoon to slowly cook a stew or ferment the perfect pizza. Dough.

“Italian cuisine fundamentally responds to consumer demand for convenience, simplicity and uncompromising taste pleasure. In a world that moves so fast, Italian cuisine remains essential if you want to treat yourself – or the people you love – and fully enjoy the moment together,” says Matteo.

As the international landscape changes due to many outside influences, one product that has stayed the course – which has proven to be an invaluable addition to UK shop cabinets, in fact – is pasta.

‘It’s been a strange road over the past two years for pasta, one of the products stored away during the pandemic, when quality Italian pasta was eaten by many here in the UK as everyone tried to getting our hands on all the pasta available, finally there was an appreciation for the slightly more expensive quality Italian pasta and the realization that not all pasta is the same,” says Sally Assinder of Pasta Garofalo – fine pasta makers since 1789.

“However, we are in a completely different scenario as food inflation continues to accelerate now to a 14-year high. With energy and interest rates rising dramatically, eating out will become less frequent and home dining will become more of a treat again, with premium authentic pasta being seen as a very affordable alternative to restaurants and restaurant quality food delivery.

Good news for celiacs, and in keeping with Matteo’s post above, Garofalo caters to the gluten-free crowd as well. “If a delicatessen retailer stocks gluten-free pasta, an area that continues to grow, then look for forms that cannot be found in supermarkets. At Garofalo, we regularly hear from customers how great it is to experience our more interesting gluten-free forms like mafalda corta or casarecce and even linguine,” says Sally.

The truffle – an iconic food synonymous with Italian cuisine – is another product that combines tradition and innovation in the hands of Tartuflanghe. The company, producer of delicacies including fresh and freeze-dried truffles, wardrobe products and confectionery, is proud to be the ambassador of this unique product.

“The truffle is appreciated all over the world, because it gives a magic touch to all dishes, with first historical studies since the 18th century”, explains Veronica Giraudo, export manager. Tartuflanghe is located near Alba, a town in the Piedmont region of Italy considered by experts to be the birthplace of the white truffle.

“The Alba white truffle is the most prized in the world for the intensity, richness and complexity of its aromas: more than 120 aromatic molecules that blend in perfect balance and, depending on the trees under which they grow, reveal varied notes of bush and artichoke, garlic and hay, very delicate notes of honey and hazelnut, but also damp earth and spices,” she explains. With such a rich and unique flavor to offer foodies, it’s no wonder the truffle has become a legend in foodie circles.

Tartuflanghe has continued to experiment with this prized ingredient since its launch in 1975. “It helps us ‘invent’ future trends: visionary flavors of the future in functional, practical and contemporary forms for everyone,” says Veronica.

“The excellent management of production and processing has allowed us to establish a privileged link with the world of haute cuisine, which we help to innovate through constant research and development in our artisan laboratories. Our products, from savory to sweet, have won awards in major international competitions, and have even gone into space. Meanwhile, we continue to experiment, in constant search of the perfect taste and the absolute sensory experience.

In the right hands, the future looks bright for Italian truffles – and their place on the shelves of UK independents. “Our objective for the future of the Truffle is to create a rational, traceable and guaranteed culture of the truffle, from the spore to the table, and to promote the regeneration of a natural environment, today highly threatened, which continues to house the Alba White Truffle”, explains Véronique.