A Taste of Florence’s 2019 ‘Taste’ Food Fair

Saturday, March 9 – Monday, March 11: TASTE.  Stazione Leopolda, Viale Fratelli Rosselli, 5.  Open to the general public Sat. & Sun. 2:30 – 7:30 pm, Mon. 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Admission:  €20; children under 10 free.

Pitti Taste will be returning with five sections entitled: Taste Tour, Tools, Shop, Ring and Fuori di Taste. One won’t be able to resist the aroma of its newer exhibits or traditional showcase of high quality food and variety of Italian cuisine. This year’s theme is “Planet Bread,” designed to explore one of the most ancient foods, present in virtually every culture.

The gastronomic Taste Tour and Taste Tools section will be found in Stazione Leopolda while the festival expands into the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze for special conferences and shows of the Taste Ring.  The Taste Shop allows foodies to take home some of their favorite flavors, authentic ingredients and unique treats.

There will be around 400 vendors and companies present at the Stazione Leopolda able to satisfy everyone’s craving.  In the main space, there will be hundreds of different producers exhibiting food delicacies at counters set up and down several aisles. It is here that people are able to try anything from regional breads, cheeses, traditional Tuscan meats, homemade jams, sauces and truffle creams to fish, biscotti, cakes, chocolate and tortes to prosecco, wine, craft beers and coffee.  The vendors at these stations share extensive knowledge about their products, so this is also a unique opportunity to learn and understand the background behind Italy’s different specialties.

A short walk from the Leopolda Station at the Teatro dell’Opera, listen to professional foodies discuss and debate the latest table trends at the Taste Ring throughout the three days. Davide Paolini moderates the cultural-gastronomic arena, and the stars of the food world come here to debate a variety of topics relevant to today’s changing food market. This year’s Taste theme, bread, will be the subject of a talk at the Taste Ring on March 9 (3 pm) with a look at types of bread as well as various baking techniques.  Free bread making classes will be offered as well; the schedule includes a hands-on experience to produce traditional Tuscan breads under the guidance of Piero Capecchi and David Giuntini on Saturday from 2 – 5 pm, followed by a focus on “Healthy Breads,” with the participation of Capecchi and Giuntini on Monday from 9:30 – 11 am.  Both classes will be held at the Stazione Leopolda.

Taste Tools offers a variety of food and kitchen design objects, such as aprons, technical equipment, cookbooks and fine china from 10 top brands. For those looking to emulate the food previewed at the event, this is the place to go.

After sampling the different food and beverages and seeing the latest in kitchen equipment, one is able to stop at the Taste Shop and pick up their favorites to take home. Located just outside the Stazione Leopolda in Piazzale Gae Aulenti, at the very end of the tour, the Shop is essentially a grocery store made up of all the offerings in the main space. There are over 2,000 products in the catalogue.

A new topic that will be introduced this year is a focus on the returning popularity of the trattoria, a place where people can experience tradition through family recipes handed down from generation to generation. This take on heritage will be presented at the Taste Ring on March 9 at 4:30 pm. Participating are Marco Bolasco, curator of the Guide to Italian Slow Food Osterias and Federico Malinverno, president of the association of award-winning Italian trattorias.

Fuori di Taste is a name encapsulating the food-related events at various restaurants, hotels and cooking schools around the city, including dinners, themed tastings, installations, shows and performances. There are about 100 of these that take place from March 7 to 11, with increasing participation each year; see website for the full program. Tuscan prosciutto and salami made by Prato’s Salumificio Mannori will be paired with white Vernaccia wine from San Gimignano at an event at Harry’s Bar (Lungarno Vespucci 22/r) on March 8 at 8 pm.  There is a  chance to explore the city and your palate through a “Farm to Table” experience at Le Lune (via Giobert 93/r) on March 10 at 12:30 pm for lunch and 7:30 pm for dinner. Chefs from Bologna will create and serve handmade tortellini before your very eyes (€10) at the Osteria de’ Cicalini (via delle Oche 15/r near the Duomo) on March 9 starting at 8 pm.  Finish with the educational session, “The Ideal Food,” which will include an interview of Marco Pirozzi, who finished his daughter’s book about the effects of a healthy diet during her struggles with cancer at Konnobio, via de’ Conti (8/r). After the presentation takes place at 7:30 on March 10, an aperitivo and buffet will follow (€15).

For more information and tickets visit the Taste website. (emma zamec, kimberly brooking & kelsey lentz)