For the first time this year the Expo Rurale took place in the Fortezza da Basso. This old fortress was once part of the city defense structure, but is now the largest exhibition area of Florence where the whole year round fairs are being organized including the famous Pitti fashion fair.
The Expo Rurale, co-organized by the Regione Toscana, offers a complete overview of the Tuscan agricultural sector with an extensive market of typical and organic products and information on agriculture, livestock, fishing, hunting and forestry. Much attention is paid to the ecological and sustainable aspect of this sector.
The market offered a wide range of organic products such as cheese, salami, bread, honey, vegetables, oil and wine with free samples and tasting. In the indoor exhibition halls were information stands and thematic workshops on for example organic jam making and the planting of olive trees. It was striking how many activities there were with a special focus on children and several groups of schoolchildren accompanied by their teacher had fun while learning in the workshops. Especially the cows, sheep, horses, donkeys, rabbits and other animals that were present in the stables were popular among the youth.
Of course there was also cooking. I spent some time at the cooking competition for young chefs, where they each took turns preparing dishes for a jury. The audience was also presented with a taste of the dishes prepared on stage. But those one-bite dishes only whetted my appetite and I headed over to the food court which offered a large choice of panini with porchetta, salsiccia, hotdogs and Chianina beef hamburgers.
After a very successful day I bought organic Tuscan bread of which the proceeds were donated to children’s hospital of Florence. Further I also bought a delicious piece of pecorino named “Il Bandito’ from a talkative sheep farmer from Volterra who according to me had named that the cheese after himself.
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