On March 2-3, 2016, for the second year in a row, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas held the largest event in the U.S. devoted to Italian food and wine, “Taste of Italy,” in Houston, Texas. The organizer’s goal was to promote authentic and classic Italian food products through a series of meetings, events, and tastings, each of which were geared for food and wine trade professionals.
This year, the gathering included 110 Italian companies from 19 different regions of Italy (60 wineries and 50 food producers). More than 500 products were presented to potential buyers, distributors, importers, chefs, and restaurateurs. Mainstream food writers and food bloggers attended as well.
Producers of certified Kosher food products also participated and they had the opportunity to interact with the local Jewish community and with specialized food merchants.
On March 3, the organizers held a trade show at the Hilton Post Oak where participants met with more than 150 buyers, food and wine professionals, and journalists who had come from across the U.S. especially for the event, including attendees from California, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Georgia, and New York. And of course, from the state of Texas, including attendees from Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, and Houston.
The previous day, presenters took part in a meet-and-greet tour of leading Texas grocery stores and then attended an educational seminar on the technical challenges of exporting and marketing food and wine products in the U.S.
On a local level, the project was implemented in partnership with some of the most prominent public and private organizations working in the field of food and wine in Houston. Enthusiastic support was provided by: The Greater Houston Restaurant Association; the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston; the Art Institute of Houston; and the Texas Wine School.
The event was documented in real-time using Photostream, a live-streaming platform developed by the Italian tech company Maxphone, who gathered and posted hashtagged images posted by Twitter and Instagram users during the event. The event’s official hashtag is #TasteOfItalyHouston and the official social media handle is @TasteOfItalyTX.
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