Sol&Agrifood 2017 - the international quality food show at Veronafiere scheduled 9-12 April in conjunction with Vinitaly - is a interactive trade event thanks to the opportunities it offers for experiencing products displayed by exhibitors through cooking shows, educational occasions and tastings.

The product categories most extensively represented are the extra virgin olive oil, pasta and bakery products, craft beers, cheese, chocolate, preserves and condiments and delicatessen meats - yet there are also many other food products as well as fruit and vegetables. The newcomer: pizza.

Pizza Area. From a simple yet unique food appreciated in every corner of the world, pizza over time has attracted the curiosity of chefs to become a gourmeat speciality. This latest evolution of Italy's par excellence dish has a dedicated new exhibition and workshop area within the scope of Sol&Agrifood where conventional and pizza chefs will take up the challenge with special doughs and innovative ingredients.

Biodiversity and territories. Another innovation this year is the new space devoted to the biodiversity of territorial produce complementing the area dedicated to delicatessen meats in 2016. This will ensure a business approach to a special and unique feature of Italian agro-foods as the continue gain popularity on international markets in addition to established spaces dedicated to cheese, extra virgin olive oil and craft beers.

The project involves the development of an interactive theme area focusing on Delicatessen Meats, Biodiversity and Local Territories to promote typical produce through tastings and workshops in English for international buyers. This project responds to the needs of small-medium enterprises exhibiting at Sol&Agrifood for more contacts with specialist international operators, as well as Italian horeca and retail sectors. This request was highlighted by more than 40% of exhibitors among the reasons prompting attendance at the trade fair.

The Delicatessen Meats, Biodiversity and Territories area is managed in collaboration with the 5T Academy, the Association created in the food area specifically to promote local area values, tradition, authenticity, transparency and traceability.

International Operators. In 2016, Sol&Agrifood attracted 56,000 professional visitors, with 14,000 travelling from 82 countries. This year, delegations of buyers invited to the show through incoming activities by Veronafiere and ICE are joined by an initiative focusing on Taiwan with 15 importers and chefs invited to take part in the sessions of the EVOO Academy dedicated to international visitors about using extra virgin olive oil. As a model event capable of ensuring excellent visibility on international markets, Sol&Agrifood occupies a gross show area of about 8,000 square meters.

b2b events organised by Veronafiere. b2b meetings are being organised for the first time based on the Taste&Buy format between exhibitors and buyers selected through incoming promotion activities. The countries of origin of the buyers involved are: USA, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Singapore, United Kingdom and France. The meetings will take place in the Multi-Purpose Hall at Sol&Agrifood.

Extra virgin olive oil this year will also be featured in the Retail Buyers' Club, a venue where exhibitors can hold b2b meetings with various retail chains.

The winners of Sol d'Oro awards. Promotional activities for extra virgin olive oils winning medals in the two editions of Sol d'Oro – Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere - include a presentation with free tasting at the Oil Bar. Olive oils earning Special Mentions, on the other hand, will be used in the finals of the Italian Chefs Federation Jam Cup and the cooking shows organised by the EVOO Academy.

Cooking Shows. Three initiatives are scheduled to promote correct use of extra virgin olive oil. They start off with the practical activities of EVOO Academy targeting professionals already having skills as regards extra virgin olive oil; the olive oils earning special mentions in the international Sol d'Oro competition and the foods displayed by exhibitors at Sol&Agrifood will be used.

To learn to cook correctly with extra virgin olive oil, Sol&Agrifood teams up with Aipo (the Inter-Regional Association of Olive Producers in Verona) proposes Oliocibando - full-scale vocational training courses for chefs in the horeca channel.

Lastly, the kitchen becomes spectacle with Giorgio "Giorgione" - the testimonial of Sol&Agrifood and one of the few TV personalities to pay close attention to the use of extra virgin olive oil - and not one who merely suggests that dishes should be "dressed with a drizzle of olive oil".

Competitions, awards, workshops and tastings. Extra virgin olive oils earning special mentions in the Sol d’Oro Competition come to the fore with the young chefs of FIC-Italian Federation of Chefs in the finals of the Jam Cup, the FIC Junior Assistant Master trophy now at its second edition. The jury comprises Master Chefs - who are also involved in the kitchens of the Goloso Restaurant, the gourmeat venue of the event alongside Speedy Goloso for finger foods and snacks ensuring enjoyable tastings products on display.

The Mantegna Meeting Room is home to a series of guided tastings dedicated to Italian and international extra virgin olive oils.

The eighth edition of the Golosario Award in collaboration with critics Paolo Massobrio and Marco Gatti will reward emerging agro-business excellence on show at the trade fair.