“Food” is a simple four letter word, but has vast varieties, and encompasses packaging, preparation, preservation, transportation, and presentation. All these aspects were on display this past May in Milan, Italy.

TUTTOFOOD

TuttoFood…

…is dedicated to food and beverage. The trade fair TuttoFood enabled its visitors to make contact with highly qualified, international, industry food exhibitors from all over the world.

food halls

We were invited to the TuttoFood in Milan, by our friend Andrea Bossi who owns ALPES SRL food company (importer and distributor of Italian specialties) in Milan. We jumped at the chance to attend and found it overwhelming.

Alpes

There were 2,800 international exhibitors, just the Italian sector, having a goal of 50 billion euros in Italian exports. As an example; Walmart had 18 buyers there to bring Italian goods to their (3,600) stores. There is 750,000 square feet of floor space; over 13 football fields!

bike

food truck

Canned food

food truck

Tiny restaurants…

The trend is for tiny houses, but here, they present tiny restaurants which are the essence of miniaturized food service. What is amazing is, that it’s also a catering method. The investment would also be much less, and can be parked just about anywhere. Truly a one-person operation, and a great economy of space. I’ve thought about this for years and wanted one of my own…someday!

food

olives

Items are fresher and sanitary…

Reality hit me when we sat down at a table. We were immediately served Prosecco and served aperitivo’s. The chef was wearing his high hat, (“Benihana” style) and was swiftly detailing smart slate dishes, with dainty delectables. They came out of a large can. Yes, a tin can. My husband declared that he was going to open a gourmet wine bar with six microwaves and a can opener. NOT!

fodo truck

It is not the wave of the future… but a tsunami 

Everything is frozen, boxed, dried, canned, pre-cooked or packaged in some fashion. Not a bad thing in reality. They provide just what you need — already prepared. Items are fresher and sanitary. The choices are endless with the acres and acres of exhibitors. Labor is mechanized, and packaging facilities are germ free. It is not the wave of the future… but a tsunami.

jams

Desserts

FOOD FACT: Italian cold cuts scientifically proven to be good for you! 

It was interesting to note that Italian cold cuts contain higher quality and better nutritional values than the mass-market products. Also, Italian consumption is generally limited (2 – 3.5oz portions per week). And, above all, they constitute part of a diet that is considered to be healthier overall: The Mediterranean diet with more fruit and vegetables, olive oil and often whole-grain cereals.

barrata2

Yummy Cheese Samples!!

We spoke with a vendor who had a lovely presentation of cheese. Wonderful Caciocavallo and Burrata. The sample of Burrata was scrumptious. In fact, it was exquisite, and I wanted more. It’s similar to mozzarella but with a variation. This company now ships to New York City and Boston.

burrataBurrata is a real delicacy, and not found in most stores in the US, at least not in the south where few Italians exist. At a glance, it looks the same as buffalo mozzarella, but this one does set them apart. If I knew Italian I would have figured out that Burrata means, buttered, (taken from “burro”). Hence, Burrata is not mozzarella. It’s made of a curd and fresh cream so it doesn’t last long at home. The mozzarella is the pouch that the Burrata sits in—like a creamy filling. Just divine!

olive oil

Why haven’t I ever tasted this before?

As a child, I never saw this at the Italian shops my mom frequented. Buratta was first made 100 years ago and came from the Apulia region of Italy…sheep farming and very artisanal. My first “experience” was in Nice, France at an Italian shop and I thought I was buying buffalo mozzarella. The creamy stuff was strange to me and I thought it was spoiled and tossed it in the garbage. I didn’t even taste it. I trusted my eyes and was totally clueless.

wine car

Diner was freshly cooked! IlTavolino

Very close to our Milan apartment was the Milan train station, and a few restaurants that are on my list for the next time.

Involtino de melanzane con burrata

Involtino de melanzane con burrata. 

Pappardelle con ragout d'Anatra

…along with Pappardelle con ragout d’Anatra…

Il Tavolino

Happy cooks…Yes it was fresh food!

Il Tavolino

Speaking of tiny….here is what our tiny rented apartment looked like. I wonder how long I could live in this if I had one?

TinyAPT

In brief:

TuttoFood truly gave prestige to the packaging and transportation industry. The gazillion world foods can now be brought to your kitchen, freshly frozen, or canned. Look at Trader Joe’s frozen cases and see exotic meals from all over the world.

TruffleBruschetta

Truffle

Put your thinking cap on, you know the tall puffy, white one, and come up with a gourmet snack combo of you own. Design your own creation with ingredients from around the world, and share it with me. Forget the Ritz crackers and Cheese Wiz. Something like… Asian, south American, or Caribbean inspired. Canned or frozen!  Mine is above, hope you like it. Look for the ingredients in your local market! (250c is about 480F. And the 210C is about 410F. Don’t walk away from the oven!)

Buono appetito