The inaugural Speciality Food Festival, the region's first ever dedicated gourmet and fine food show for the food and hospitality industry, is set for long-term success following three days of active business opportunities reported by exhibitors and visitors. The three day show which ran at the beginning of November at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre provided an exclusive platform for the promotion of some of world's most premium ingredients and food product ranges.
Organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), The Speciality Food Festival was developed to meet the growing needs of international and regional suppliers looking for an opportunity to showcase fine foods and speciality ingredients to a targeted high-end food and hospitality market. Visitors included many of the region's top chefs, gourmets and industry professionals looking to source ultra premium products from around the world.
"We are delighted with the excellent feedback we have received from both exhibitors and visitors for this new show – not only was there strong interest in the products exhibited, but new supplier relationships were made and a healthy level of business was concluded. Based on first year results, The Speciality Food Festival can expect continued growth and an established position in the industry calendar. 90 per cent of our exhibitors have already confirmed their participation for 2011," said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, DWTC.
Exhibitors from some of the most gastronomically renowned countries attended the show to promote speciality products from their respective regions, including Argentina, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, France and French Polynesia. A number of the Middle East's most prestigious producers and suppliers also participated, with exhibitors from Saudi Arabia, Iran and North Africa reporting excellent trading during the show.
Alicante Chamber of Commerce (ACC) represented eight gourmet food companies from the Spanish region, including extra virgin olive oil from Aceites Troyas, specialist vinegars produced from the highly acclaimed Muscat and Pedro Ximenez grapes grown in the region, La Cococha sea salt flavoured with Marcona Almond, and Turròn nougat from specialist confectioner Pablo Garrigòs Ibanez.
Debora Garrigòs Jornet, Export Manager for ACC said: "There has been good interest from the industry and we will be developing the contacts we have made here. Many of our specialist products are highly sought after in the Middle East, particularly our specialist spices like saffron, our olive oils and our delicious nougat. We look forward to bringing even more companies here next year."
Seafood specialities from suppliers including Gourmet House, Médithau Marée, National Prawn Company, Puelchana Patagonia, Royal Culimer and Tas Prime Oysters proved highly popular with fresh oysters, mussels, wild and cultivated caviar, swordfish carpaccio, king crabs and black tiger prawns just some of the delicacies offered for sampling to industry visitors.
Organic and halal products also featured prominently at The Speciality Food Festival, with a number of regional and international suppliers showcasing products such as organic honey from Iran, fruit and nuts from Australia, exotic cheeses from Tasmania and selections of gourmet halal Mediterranean tapas, antipasto and mezze products.
The Middle East is home to the world's finest date selections, and companies such as Bateel and Nadiya Dates both attracted strong visitor interest. Deputy General Manager of Bateel, Vivek Sharma commented: "The exhibition has delivered more than we expected in both size and quality of visitor. We were especially pleased with the number of top chefs that visited our stand. Overall it is a very good show and well worth the investment."
Nadiya Dates Manager for Sales & Marketing, Abegail Reniva-Campling concurred: "The exhibition is concentrated and focused, and we have had excellent feedback from interested clients. We were also lucky to be in prime location right next to Chefs' Corner."
The dedicated Chefs' Corner presented by the Emirates Culinary Guild proved a highlight for the exhibition, with daily demonstrations from nine of Dubai's top international chefs attracting enthusiastic audiences. Both visitors and chefs relished the exclusive opportunities the sessions presented.
"New platforms to showcase the culinary skills of professionals in our industry are always welcomed, and The Speciality Food Festival did just that. Our Chefs' Corner enabled a number of top executive chefs to demonstrate inspiring dishes using some exceptional ingredients sourced at the show. The results were fantastic," said Andy Cuthbert, Chairman of the Emirates Culinary Guild.
Participating at Chefs' Corner during the show, Maurizio Bosetti, Executive Chef from Frankies/Marco Pierre White said: "The range and quality of ingredients at Speciality Food Festival was inspiring, and I enjoyed the chance to create a dish from some of the finest in the world. The UAE market is highly discerning and gourmet products are essential for us here, so a show like this makes our job easier."
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