Business

Inside the Italian food, alcohol expo


Food & Drinks

Inside the Italian food, alcohol expo


expo

Artcaffe Market in Nairobi during the Italian Week launch. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • A Piaggio Ape loaded with oranges, bottled sauces, plant herbs, onions, and pepper hanging on a thread invites us to the Artcaffé Market Rhapta Square in Nairobi.
  • During the first week, there was a selection of eight street foods, while pasta and prosecco, sparkling white wine from north-eastern Italy, were served on the weekend.
  • This week, they had tiramisu, crostata, and bomba which include sweets and desserts with flavour of cocoa and espresso, cheese and biscuits, fruits, jam or pastry cream, with pizza and beer at the weekend.

A Piaggio Ape loaded with oranges, bottled sauces, plant herbs, onions, and pepper hanging on a thread invites us to the Artcaffé Market Rhapta Square in Nairobi.

“This is an Italian car however known as a tuktuk,” says Ginevra Ficari of Artcaffé.

“The idea is to replicate the Italian market. When you go grocery shopping in the south of Italy, this is how the market looks like. The sellers and farmers come into the market and open their cars to sell vegetables and fruits and close the tuktuk in the evening before driving home.”

Artcaffé Group is running an Italian Month at the food market store this month, to showcase the country’s lifestyle, culture, and cuisine.

Since the beginning of the month, it has been showcasing new dishes every week including cheese, ready Italian meals, baked products, beef salami, prosciutto (Italian ham), and selling Italian plant herb- basil perfect when topped on pizza, pasta, focaccia, and salad; vodka, wines and beer at the Artcaffé Celler.

“We came up with this idea because we realised that Kenya has a lot of Italian products and cuisines that are all niche. But most customers were looking at all those fancy products and they don’t know what they are. So we are spending time with them here during the Italian month. Once they know the story behind them, they will appreciate them more and buy,” Ginevra says.

“It’s the same as when I moved to Kenya like a year ago, I did not know what local products were until a friend explained it to me, for instance, cooking ugali which I now do at home.”

During the first week, there was a selection of eight street foods, while pasta and prosecco, sparkling white wine from north-eastern Italy, were served on the weekend.

The second week, they had aperitivo which are pre-meal drinks and cocktails. This week, they had tiramisu, crostata, and bomba which include sweets and desserts with flavour of cocoa and espresso, cheese and biscuits, fruits, jam or pastry cream, with pizza and beer at the weekend.

Next week, there will have la merenda which includes mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks dedicated to children, and cheese and wine for the weekend.

“Italy is all about eating and enjoying the meals all day long,” she said, adding that the concept has had a positive impact on Kenyan consumers.

The store also has a mini-exhibition showcasing photos of Italy taken by an Italian photographer based in Nairobi.

“Each photo has a story on the side, bringing out a feeling of Italy. We are trying to talk about Italy as much as possible as the main objective of this campaign is to educate customers before selling to them. They need to know what they are buying and how to use the products at home,” says Ginevra.

The success of Italian week will see a weekly showcase of products and cuisines from Spain, France, and Asian regions such as China and Thailand.

“The idea is to give attention to other cuisines in the future while involving the embassies,” she said.

Italian month has been done in collaboration with the Italian embassy and the Italian Institute of Culture.

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