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Q&A: Aldo Mazzocco, chief executive, Bellavita

Published:  16 October, 2019

As this year’s London event moves beyond Italy to embrace the wider Mediterranean, Aldo Mazzocco explains his vision for the show. In association with Bellavita

You’ve decided to evolve Bellavita into a pan-Mediterranean food and wine event – why is that?

After five years we wanted to come up with something new for the show, this is the sixth edition, so we decided to expand the show into a Mediterranean event and buyers’ feedback was that they would would like that.

Why now?

The organisers of Bellavita operate globally, with another nine shows worldwide. Last year we started having contact with other Mediterranean exhibitors, so we said, “Well, we can work with you in London,” which was always Italian-focused. But Bellavita is a niche show for fine foods and wines, so we decided to open it to all the Mediterranean countries, because starting from the Greeks, the Romans and the Spaniards, there has always been a great connection of history, connected by the sea. The climate is similar, so there is a shared heritage.

What response have you had?

We’ve had really good news, exhibitor space officially sold out 45 days before the show. We’ve had a really great response from Spanish companies, with 80 exhibitors this year. We have a collaboration with the Spanish chamber of commerce in the UK and they say this is the biggest group of Spanish companies to ever come together at one time in the UK.

How much has the wine offer expanded?

Overall, between the Italian, the Spanish and producers from [countries such as] Croatia and Slovenia, in total we have 100 wine exhibitors, and we’ve two spaces reserved for our first two Greek exhibitors.

How much more can you expand this Mediterranean reach?

This is the first year we have expanded to be Mediterranean, so in the future we want to have this show as the biggest in Europe for Mediterranean wine. We want to extend to France and Portugal for next year. We have dedicated commercial people in the markets, so we’ll definitely be adding [those countries] for 2020.

London is great value for exhibitions – one of the most accessible cities and we want to bring the Mediterranean to an international audience; London is a great city to do this.

From the perspective of wine, what does a combined food and wine show deliver?

Our mission is to always promote the Mediterranean diet and all Mediterranean products – the food is our flagship sector, and we always try to combine the wine with the food and promote the terroir. We firmly believe the food and wine need to stay together and that is key to Bellavita, a strength of the exhibition is this attention to the terroir, because we want to teach people about this terroir.

Terroir can sound complex and daunting, how do you communicate this?

When it comes to wine, I think we really need to change the way [the trade] communicates. We work worldwide, so have a clear vision on what happens in the US, Asia and the UK. The WSET is doing a great job of explaining how to understand wine, but not everybody wants to be a teacher or an expert, so we need to have a simpler way of talking about wines – the terroir, to give the emotion of an area, the geography.

If I drink a glass of Pecorino, I need to close my eyes and envision the sea, by a small village in Abruzzo, to experience a glass of holiday!

We need to start talking to people about the wine and where it is from, so they can understand the wine, the beautiful region it comes from, whether the saltiness of the sea or the flora of
an amazing hill in Tuscany. They key is always the communication, with a touch of emotion. We need to talk simply to the people – that for me is the key message.

What else can we expect at the show?

We have more than 1,000 new products and we are going to have two big stages, a keynote theatre, and dedicated masterclasses for food, wine, beer and mixology.

Is this mix good for breaking down barriers between food and drink categories?

The barriers are all in our minds and in the minds of the distributors. We just need to talk about education and explain to people what we are doing, what we are drinking – and I truly believe that combining food and drink is the future.

Bellavita takes place in London from 7-8 November. Visit for more information.