Giro d'Italia Enogastronomic Event 2016 in Rieti, Italy

Fog was covering Rome the morning of 26 November. I arrived at the meeting point in the large parking lot with the red bus quite visible in the gray morning. About twenty of us started arriving one after the other excitedly getting our seats in the bus for the one and half hour drive to Rieti where more than 500 wine labels are waiting to be tasted. We were headed to the fourth edition of Giro d'Italia Evento Enogastronomico (Tour of Italy Enogastronomic Event). I had been occupying a lot of my free time in wine tasting lately as I am about to embark on a new adventure geared in full swing towards the world of wines. Soon, I am starting the first of three AIS Sommelier Courses.

The Giro d'Italia Evento Enogastronomico literally takes you to a 360-degree tour of the whole country. It was organized by the AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier) Rieti and with the collaboration of COPAGRI Lazio, Confederation of Agricultural Producer. On its fourth year at Ristorante La Forresta in Rieti and enjoying a continued success from the previous editions, this year's Giro d'Italia had a vast participation of more than a hundred big and small producers of wine and food from all regions of Italy.  

The tasting tables, filled with products waiting to be tasted, were spread out in the expansive restaurant. There was a huge participation from both the exhibitors and the public. The event started from eleven in the morning and continued on until ten in the evening. Minutes counted as the right choices had to be made to be able to try as much interesting food and wine during the full-day of walking around in the restaurant. It was virtually impossible to take in everything. What with the exhibited products plus the continuation of food being served by the restaurant, it would have been fitting to say that the whole event loaded me up five kilos more when the day finished. The plethora of wine and culinary delights was overwhelming!

Wine was the protagonist in the event and being in their territory, the wine producers from Lazio had the largest participation followed by the Tuscany, then Abruzzo, Umbria and the rest of the Italian wine regions. A number of very good French and German wines were also up for tasting as well as some of the best brands of Japanese whisky. It was every winelover's dream park.

Food and wine events give the opportunity to producers and consumers in finding the common ground in sharing the fundamentality of excellent quality. I find that interacting with the producers or the representatives of the company is the best way to learn about what I am tasting because the passion behind the work in the production is the secret ingredient that makes the product notably unique and special.

From wines, spirits, artisan beer, oysters, lentils, cheese, ham, extra virgn olive oil, bread, panettone, natural fruit juice, chocolates, biscuits, lentils, porchetta, coffee, almost everything that comprise the Italian gastronomy was well represented. It was truly an event that fulfilled every foodie's Italian dream.

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