Parma is one of the largest cities in Emilia Romagna. It is situated between the Adriatic Sea and Tuscany (just two hours drive from Florence!) on the Via Emilia, the ancient Roman route that links Piacenza and Rimini. Parma is a university city, renowned for unique art and architecture. It has beautiful theaters and is the home of a world-famous Verdi festival.
The region has the highest concentration of protected food designations in Italy, a whopping 42. There are eight food museums around Parma. The city has an incredibly rich gastronomic tradition and has long been associated with the 4 Ps; pasta, pomodori, parmesan and prosciutto. It was no surprise that Parma was the first Italian city to be recognised as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015. Globally there are only 36 of these cities, the other two in Italy are Bergamo and Alba.
Could there be a better location for the largest international exhibition of authentic Italian food?
CIBUS, Latin for food, was first held in 1985 with a mere 8.000 visitors and 100 exhibiting companies. It is held every two years and 2022 marks the 21st edition after the 2020 hiatus. It begins on 3rd May and over three days more than 80.000 visitors are expected to visit over 3.000 companies exhibiting their wares. Visitors range from international buyers to impassioned food-lovers and chefs. The companies sharing their products and expertise go from the tiniest of artisanal vinegar-makers to cult players from the Made in Italy food world. There is a focus on themes close to our heart; sustainability, packaging, innovation and excellence.
The whole town turns into a giant food showcase. Cibus Village is held in the Portici del Grano in the town centre, where Piazza Garibaldi is transformed into a food court with music and craft beers. Gardens are opened (CibusVerde) and the ex-convent of San Paolo becomes an exhibition and workshop space. There is even a commendable food saving initiative where producers can donate unused products to local charities and food banks. In 2018 15 tons of food were saved from being wasted after the fair.
The exhibition itself covers an amazing 135.000m2, divided into different pavilions; dairy, cold meat, bakery products, chilled and frozen fruit and vegetables and drinks. We will be taking our time, tasting stand by stand.