Complex Made Simple

Gourmet Gateway: Expanded speciality food festival caters to growing regional appetite for fine foods

More than 100 specialist exhibitors from 24 countries will attempt to tap into the region’s growing appetite for fine, gourmet, organic and luxury foods when the fifth annual Speciality Food Festival returns to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 9-11 November, 2014.

With UAE food imports predicted to reach US$8.4 billion by 2020 and GCC food imports expected to double over the next decade (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit), increased consumer spending on niche food products will largely be driven by expanding regional populations, rising disposable income, surging tourism and continued growth in the number of fine dining and gourmet restaurants across the region.

One of three niche food and beverage (F&B) trade shows running alongside next month’s inaugural Gulfood Manufacturing, the Speciality Food Festival 2014 has attracted an international cache of the world’s leading producers of fine, gourmet, organic and luxury foods for an event which is 200% larger than its 2010 debut.

With an even broader range of fine foods available at this year’s show – from specially-bred meats, specialist coffees and luxury truffles to fresh organic produce and some of the world’s rarest culinary ingredients – the three-day Speciality Food Festival will bring together gourmet importers, exclusive retailers and a cast of leading international masterchefs.

The Speciality Food Festival 2014 also boasts its biggest-ever participation of national pavilions, including Argentina, newcomers Korea, Taiwan and Belgium, and a stable of Europe’s traditional fine food stalwarts: France, the UK, Spain, Portugal and Italy – the last of which covers a mammoth 22 per cent of the show-floor.

“In only five years, the Speciality Food Festival has earned a reputation as the region’s leading platform to source highly-specialised, luxury and niche food products for retailers, distributors, chefs and hospitality players across the Middle East,” said Trixie LohMirmand Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

“High-end regional consumers can pay and do pay for premium food products – whether at home or at restaurants. The Speciality Food Festival gives specialist food producers a dedicated platform to speak face-to-face with the most prominent retailers and distributors from across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.”

This year’s Speciality Food Festival will also host the sixth Italian Cuisine World Summit (ICWS) – an internationally-acclaimed forum featuring exciting live cooking demonstrations by renowned, Michelin-starred Italian masterchefs.

The impressive line-up of Italy’s finest culinary talent includes Chef Tommaso Arrigoni, star of Italian television programme Detto Fatto; fellow TV celebrity and author of La Grande Cucina dell’Alpenroyal, Chef Felix Lo Basso of the prestigious, five-star Alpenroyal Hotel in Val Gardena; and Chef Enrico Bartolini, 33, of Milanese restaurant, Devero , who is also Italy’s youngest two Michelin-starred chef.

Other leading culinary personalities include Chef Graziano Prest of Tivoli Restaurant in Cortina D’Ampezzo; Chef Angelo Sabatelli, chief proprietor of renowned restaurant, Masseria Spina; and Chef Tano Simonato, the owner of acclaimed Lombardi region restaurant Tano Passami l’olio, famous for using more than 40 different extra virgin olive oils as condiments to dishes.

Away from the show-floor kitchens, the Autumn Food & Drink Seminar Theatre – a series of informative discussions by industry leaders – is back covering a wide array of topics including specialist food industries such as organics and business-centric strategies to maximise commercial opportunities.

Other returning favourites include the Chef’s Corner – an engaging show-floor kitchen where regional hospitality chefs will wow crowds with live cooking demos and exclusive product samplings. The top-tier line-up of local talent includes chefs from five restaurants operated by Jumeirah Group, as well as Stephane Buchholzer from the five-star Westin Dubai and Daniel Hutmacher, a prominent chef, confectioner and managing director of Swiss Chocolatiers of the Desert.

Elsewhere, leading industry innovations will be recognised at the Speciality Food Festival Awards – a new show feature boasting four categories: ‘Best Health Food’, ‘Best New Beverage’, ‘Best Newcomer Gourmet Brand’, ‘Best Tea Brand’ and ‘Best Coffee Brand’. Finally, a specially-constructed Organic Market on the show-floor will replicate the feel of an outdoor farmers market and showcase the region’s best organic products.

Offering even greater networking potential and selling opportunities, the Speciality Food Festival 2014 is open from 10am-6pm on November 9-10 and 10am-5pm on November 11. The show will run adjacent to Sweets & Snacks Middle East, the region’s only dedicated sweets and confectionary goods exhibition, and SEAFEX, a dedicated seafood trade show for the F&B services and hospitality industries.

The three niche food shows are for trade and business professionals only. General public and persons under the age of 21 will not be permitted entry. Registration is available at the show upon proof of trade status.