Massive theme park to showcase Italian food
BOLOGNA, Italy — The man behind the Eataly food empire is opening a massive attraction — part permanent trade fair, part agro-food theme park — that aims to create a showcase for excellence in Italian food.
Eataly owner Oscar Farinetti hopes Eataly World, opening today in Bologna, will boost tourism and even food exports. The experience is designed to increase demand for Italian food along with brand loyalty and consumer interest in the 150 or so food businesses represented.
Eataly already has nearly 40 stores worldwide, the newest one in Los Angeles. The company intends to list a 30 per cent stake on the Milan stock exchange in 2018 or 2019.
Visitors to Eataly World can follow food production from field and stall right to their plates. They’ll see grain growing in the fields, milled into flour, processed into pasta and served at the table. Workshops will show how to refine rice and hunt for truffles, along with cooking classes for making fresh pasta, sorbetto or pizza.
Eataly World has 47 restaurants and bars, some 40 production areas making everything from gelato to candied fruit, 22 gardens and half a dozen stalls with cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. The site covers more than one million square feet in a former wholesale fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Bologna.
Farinetti wants to do for Italian food what Milan Fashion Week has done for Italy’s ready-to-wear industry: Create a global showcase for excellence that stimulates demand across the sector.
“I hope that this becomes the most important place in the world for whoever wants to study food, eat well and understand the history of food,” Farinetti said during a preview this week. “In this, we need to think big, like in the fashion world.”
He said his goal is to showcase “the simplicity of Italian food.”
“Italian cooking, unlike that of the French, was created in the house. It was invented by our great-great-great grandmothers. Since it was born in home kitchens, it needs to be simple. But it is difficult to be simple, because it needs to start from the earth, and you need to have healthy soil, with very little chemicals,” he said.
Oscar Farinetti’s goal is to showcase “the simplicity of Italian food.”