La Dolce Vita 2011 – Review

Take advantage of The LDV EXPERIENCE BOOKLET and heighten your enjoyment of the show. Your exclusive booklet will give you the opportunity to sample certain things at the show that are not available to any other visitors including entry into the VIP lounge, special food and drink samples, money off vouchers for products at the show, and other complimentary Italian gifts. Only 500 of these booklets are available throughout the whole of the show and for only £5 extra on top of your entry ticket this booklet has a value of well over £100. Do not miss out – reserve yours today.


Here’s the scoop – the booklet includes 2 £50 e-vouchers for a hotel specialist, redeemable against new bookings.  The booklet also includes amougst other things vouchers for a small tea towel, a free glass of wine, some free cheese which you can’t get at the exhibition and complimentary tasting of 5 speciality drinks.  If you make sure you get the “free” towel, cheese, the glass of wine, you might just about break even for the £5 extra cost. The booklet includes at least 3 vouchers for tastings, which are provided free to everyone anyway.  The booklet of vouchers was a little disappointing to say the least! Unless you intent to travel or purchase a coffee machine, don’t bother with the booklet.  Opps I forgot too late, you had to buy the booklet in advance, and collect on the day!  Well that’s lost them marks! Oh and the VIP lounge – don’t expect anything special, it’s more akin to a small doctors waiting room, without copies of Readers Digest.

In all, I found the fair lacking, the vendors were all nice enough, but with the exception of 3, not really that enthusiastic about their wears.  The Apicoltura Bianco stand (number F4), were very nice and helpful, offering without prompting various ways to use their delicious honey, jams and preserves.  I highly recommend this stand for the friendly service alone, as well as the delicious produce, including their wonderful saffron honey.

I purchased 2 truffles from the Azienda Agricola San Pietro a Pettine stall (D18), and was given really friendly, clear and helpful instructions on how to preserve them.  The prices were not too bad either, I only wish my budget could have stretched to cover the wide selection of truffle oils they had to offer. I shall just have to make my own.

The final stand I highly recommend is the Serena Oil and Food stand (M10).  I used one of my vouchers to obtain a free sample of oil which included gold leaf flakes.  At £25 a bottle, it was a little steep for my little pocket, and I am yet to figure out why the need for such an extravagance. I shall be looking out for recipes 🙂 But I did buy 2 bottles of great tasting olive oil – a very posh one and posh everyday one.  These shall be hidden away and used for very special recipes only!

These are Baci di Capri, which are rather delicious lemon and almond biscuits.  From the Brunetti stand (F22) they  are 50p each and a little small for the price, but then we should all be off the treats these days anyway LOL. These are lovely with a cup of tea or coffee, you only need one as they are quite rich.  Nice selection of sweet treats and biscuits, but very pricy, and it would have been nice if the 3 men at the one stall had more to say about the products.

I was surprised by the lack of pasta sellers there, didn’t see any pasta machines, nor much in the way of coffee, although there are a couple of well established coffee machine makers at the show. 

Fashion wise the style zone was a little exaggerated, there was only one clothes company there that I could see. The jewellery shown in another area was nice, but I wouldnt say that this was a taste of the wide variety of fashion that Italy has to offer. 

I felt that the cooking demonstrations were slightly disorganised, the first one, 2 of the cooks hadn’t arrived, leaving the poor host to ‘fill in’ time.  The second demo again didn’t flow very well, with many of the audience leaving half way through.

On the plus side, there were opportunities to learn Italian, attend cooking courses, and plenty of travel ideas.  I do think this show could and should have been so much more.  Many of the produce was very expensive and the atmosphere was lacking. Even the one ATM at the venue didn’t work, which hardly encourages people to stay and spend.  So if you are attending, take cash, as I don’t believe the vendors have facilities to accept cards.

Great to visit if you are looking to buy property in Italy or hoping to travel there soon, but if you are into gardening, food, wine or fashion, you may be disappointed.

Rating: 2/5  – lost half a point due to the voucher booklet, which isn’t as useful as is appears.


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